Sexual Abuse (NYPL 130.55-130.65)

Sexual abuse, also referred to as molestation, is any sort of non-consensual sexual contact. When that force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault. The offender is referred to as a sexual abuser or molester.

Under 18 U.S. Code § 2242 (Sexual abuse) whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the head of any Federal department or agency, knowingly

(1) causes another person to engage in a sexual act by threatening or placing that other person in fear (other than by threatening or placing that other person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping); or

(2) engages in a sexual act with another person if that other person is:

  • incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct; or
  • physically incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in, that sexual act; or

attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned for any term of years or for life.

Sexual abuse in the third degree. N. Y. Penal Law § 130.55

Third degree sexual abuse includes sexual contact between a minor who is 15 or 16 years old and a defendant who is at least 5 years older than the victim.

A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the third degree when he/she subjects another person to sexual contact without the latter’s consent.

Except that in any prosecution under this section, it is an affirmative defense that

  1. such other person’s lack of consent was due solely to incapacity to consent by reason of being less than 17 years old, and
  2. such other person was more than 14 years old, and
  3. the defendant was less than 5 years older than such other person.

Sexual abuse in the third degree is a class B misdemeanor, which incurs up to 3 months in jail.

Sexual abuse in the second degree. N. Y. Penal Law § 130.60

Second degree sexual abuse includes sexual contact between a minor who is younger than 14 years old and a defendant of any age.

A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the second degree when he/she subjects another person to sexual contact and when such other person is:

  1. Incapable of consent by reason of some factor other than being less than 17 years old; or
  2. Less than 14 years old.

Sexual abuse in the second degree is a class A misdemeanor, which incurs up 1 year in jail.

Sexual abuse in the first degree. N. Y. Penal Law § 130.65

First degree sexual abuse includes sexual contact (non-oral sexual touching, even over clothing, in an arousing or sexually gratifying way) between a minor who is younger than 11 years old and a defendant of any age.

A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the first degree when he/she subjects another person to sexual contact:

  1.  By forcible compulsion; or
  2. When the other person is incapable of consent by reason of being physically helpless; or
  3. When the other person is less than 11 years old; or
  4. When the other person is less than 13 years old and the actor is 21 years old or older.

Sexual abuse in the first degree is a class D felony, which incurs up to 7 years in prison.

In sex abuse cases, the percentage of convictions landed is high. It is absolutely vital that you do not hesitate to secure the legal assistance of a criminal defense lawyer. If you have been charged with sexual abuse, we can develop any defenses that might apply to your case. Don’t make the mistake of talking or explaining before you speak to your lawyer. As soon as you are arrested or even questioned about an incident that could lead to a charge of aggravated sexual abuse, you should immediately contact an experienced criminal lawyer.