Sexual assault occurs when a person's behavior is sexual and causes another person to feel uncomfortable, threatened, or abused, even if the victim doesn't initially feel threatened or uncomfortable. Unwanted sexual penetration is one form of assault. Some other conditions are unwanted fondling, unwanted sexual touching, and the unwanted use of force to maintain sexual contact until the person agrees. To prove an assault, it must be shown that violations occurred with coercion, intimidation, or lack of consent.
Some sex crimes include engaging in sexual conduct with a minor can also be a crime. You can find information about these crimes, other sexual offenses, and penalties on the California Courts website.
Child abuse is a serious offense, which is why those convicted of a crime this way are often subject to heavier punishments than individuals who commit other sexual crimes. Because children are the most vulnerable of the sexes, the law takes crimes against them very seriously, especially sex crimes.
Other sex crimes may arise from inappropriate sexual acts or conduct committed in a public space or are considered morally reprehensible even if they do not involve acts committed on others. For example, a charge of public indecency may apply when a person exposes themself in a sexual way that is inappropriate to be viewed by the public. Prostitution charges may arise when a person sells sex, even when both parties can consent to the sexual acts. Sex crimes are often prosecuted at the state level.
Each state has laws regarding what is considered a sex crime and its statute of limitations that limit how long a prosecutor has to pursue criminal charges. Some sex crimes may rise to the criminal level and are enumerated in Title 18 of the United States Code. Sex crimes may be considered federal they involve taking someone across state lines, conducting acts in multiple states, human trafficking, or child pornography. Additional federal sex crimes include: Producing, distributing, receiving, or transporting child pornography can land you in prison for up to 10 years! Other sex crimes you may face include:
- Producing sexually explicit depictions of minors to import them into the United States
- Distribution or receipt of child pornography
- Transporting an individual across state lines with the intent to engage them in prostitution
- Using interstate facilities to transmit information about a minor under the age of 16 with the intent to entice or solicit a minor to engage in sexual activity.
Individuals convicted of sex crimes are often required to register as sex offenders. Failing to register as a sex offender can lead to additional charges and consequences.
Being convicted of a sex crime can also have long-lasting consequences on the defendant's personal life. In addition to possible imprisonment, sex offenders may face civil lawsuits, resulting in financial implications for the plaintiff.
This page offers resources for both defendants and victims. The mental health section includes information about treatment options for victims and information for educating and working with victims. The resources include state-specific information so you can contact the agency in the location (state) where the case occurred. This resource page will be updated as information comes available.
Sex Crimes and Sexual Offenses are violations of state or federal statutes prohibiting certain sexual activities. Both federal statutory laws and state statutory laws prohibit these offenses.