Sexual Abuse Laws: What To Do And Where To Go

Overview of Sexual Abuse Laws in Pennsylvania

Anyone engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with another person without their consent is already considered a crime in Pennsylvania. According to Philadelphia injury attorneys, the defendant may be facing statutory sexual assault if the victim (complainant) is a minor or below 16 years old and the defendant is four years older than the victim and both aren’t married to each other at the time the offense was committed.

In Pennsylvania, there is also a separate sexual assault charge called “indecent assault” where it is quite similar to sexual assault. For this type of assault, there should be presence of indecent contact with the victim (complainant) and that includes as well the victim’s contact with the defendant’s urine, seminal fluid, or feces with the intention of arousing sexual desire in the victim or defendant and done without consent on the part of the victim, done with force or threat or conducted under some conditions like the victim is unconscious, mentally disabled, intoxicated or minor.

If you want to learn more about the complete details of Pennsylvania’s sexual assault laws, below is a list:

Indecent Assault: Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 §    3126

  • Statutory Definition of Sexual Assault – A person commits a felony of the second-degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant without the complainant’s consent.
  • Statutory Definition of Indecent Assault — A person is guilty of indecent assault if the person has indecent contact with the complainant, causes the complainant to have indecent contact with the person or intentionally causes the complainant to come into contact with seminal fluid, urine or feces for the purpose of arousing sexual desire in the person or the complainant and:

The person does so without the complainant’s consent; the person does so by forcible compulsions; the person does so by threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person or reasonable resolution; the complainant is unconscious or the person knows that the complainant is unaware that the indecent contact is occurring; the person has substantially impaired the complainant’s power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the complainant, drugs, intoxicants, or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance; the complainant suffers from mental disability which renders the complainant incapable of consent; the complainant is less than 13 years of age; or the complainant is than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other.

What are the defenses to sexual assault charges?

Based on the shared information of an experienced personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia, there are various defenses that can be applied to rape and sexual assault charges. Here are the common defenses that may be considered:

  • Consent
  • Mistaken identity
  • Age (this is applicable only in case of a statutory rape)
  • Involuntary intoxication (when the accused’s drink is “spiked” or he or she is drugged without knowledge or consent)
  • Insanity
  • Although the “marital exemption” can be used as viable defense, the law no longer recognizes between married and unmarried individuals. Anyone, regardless of his or her marital status, can become a victim of rape or sexual assault if he or she didn’t consent.

What are the penalties and sentences?

According to credible Philadelphia injury attorneys, a rape case will face a severe penalty including fines averaging to $25,000, imprisonment of 20 years, or both. On the other hand, a sexual assault case is viewed as a second degree felony in Pennsylvania and can be punishable by law of ten (10) years in prison. The court may impose discretionary fines depending on the nature of crime committed and its severity. In case of insanity, the judge may recommend psychiatric treatment or counseling.

If the crime charged is indecent assault, the charge can be either a first or second degree misdemeanor based on the nature of the offense and punishable by law of five years in prison. In the event the case is already the defendant’s second offense or there has been repetitive course of conduct, or if the assault done involved touching of the victim’s sexual parts with the defendant’s, a third degree felony can be ruled out and punishable for up to seven years of imprisonment.

What to do if you or a loved one has become a victim of sexual assault?

If you or a loved one has become a victim of a sexual assault case in Pennsylvania, you need to contact right away a personal injury lawyer in Philadelphia and get a free case assessment. Don’t delay your chances of getting the perpetrator being punished, act now.