Nearly 500,000 Americans are victims of some form of sexual violence every year. According to RAINN, the largest nonprofit organization that supports victims of sexual assault, that makes translates to one victim every 73 seconds.
This means that millions of us have been victims at some point. Slowly but surely, there is growing consciousness about this problem and there are resources for victims.
Have you ever been involved in an incident like this or are preparing for a lawsuit? There are several degrees to sexual assault. Read ahead learn about them with regards to the law.
Understanding Sexual Assault Laws
The #metoo movement has lead to increased reporting of sexual crimes and arrests of violent offenders.
One very well known case is that of Harvey Weinstein. The ex-film producer was recently sentenced to 23 years in prison. A jury found him guilty of third-degree rape and first-degree sexual assault not guilty of first-degree rape and ‘predatory sexual assault’.
What does all this mean? We need to examine how the courts define sexual assault.
Five Degrees of Sexual Assault
Are you a plaintiff or defendant in a criminal case of sexual assault? The definition of criminal sexual conduct and CSC degrees is important.
The details here are crucial because they could define the outcome of your case.
Here are the most widely accepted sexual assault degrees and their definitions.
Fifth Degree Sexual Assault
This form of sexual assault includes inappropriate touching or exhibitionism, particularly around children.
Illegal ‘sexual contact’ refers to non-consensual touching, groping, or removal of clothing. Exposing your genitals or masturbating in front of people can also be considered fifth-degree sexual assault.
Fourth-degree sexual assault occurs when an adult inappropriately touches someone under the age of consent.
Here, it doesn’t matter whether or not consent was ‘given’ because the victim is legally too young to do so.
Third-degree sexual assault occurs when an adult engages in sexual intercourse with a person over thirteen years old but below the age of consent (16 or 18 years old depending on the place). Again, it does not matter if the victim gave consent.
This can also refer to sexual assault committed in police officers, department of correction officers, and other people holding a position of authority.
Second-degree sexual assault covers all sexual contact with the use of forcible coercion.
This also covers cased in which people with physical or mental disabilities are victims of sexual contact.
Generally, first-degree sexual assault refers to forced sexual penetration of any kind. Also, engaging in sexual contact with anyone under 13, with a disability, or using a physical threat of violence.
This form of sexual assault carries the most severe penalties.
Facing Sexual Assault Court
There is nothing good about having to present or face sexual assault. However, it is best to be as informed as possible.
A lawyer can help you navigate the different degrees of sexual assault and help you get the best outcome possible.
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