While abusive sexual contact has made the headlines in recent years, hundreds of cases go unnoticed, not only by the media, but also by the communities in which victims move. Thousands of children and adults endure sexual assault and even rape every day. That's why Sexual Crimes Attorney encourages people who have suffered for too long in silence to come forward. Your compassionate legal representative can help negligent parties to become accountable for their failure to protect victims in the civil justice, while the criminal justice system can punish the perpetrators. Your lawyer can help you access resources that are unavailable in criminal court, and help you obtain a new normal in your life.

Sexual Crimes Attorney has represented people who have fallen victim to sexual predators across the country, including cases involving:

  • high profile public figures
  • clergy members
  • trusted individuals
  • employers
  • educators
  • and day care providers.

As abusive sexual contact and rape lawyers, we have extensive experience in handling these complex, emotionally charged cases. If we were able to go back in time to avoid the abusive sexual contact from happening we would. But what we can do is to help our clients to start the healing process. We try to provide our clients with a support network while we fight for justice.

Justice for the Victims of Abusive Sexual Contact

Our firm focuses on representing child and adult victims of abusive sexual contact, abuse and rape. Our aim is to find justice for our clients and to hold those who looked the other way accountable for failing to prevent such heinous acts. In our practice, we have handled cases in which people suffered abusive sexual contact at:

  • Education Institutions - When you visit a school, college or university, you have the right to expect safety from abusive sexual contact or sexual assault. If a student, teacher, worker or third party engages in abusive sexual contact, the school can be sued.
  • Your Doctor - Psychological and medical conditions sometimes makes a person vulnerable to sexual assault at doctors' offices, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes.
  • Your Place of Employment - Workplace sexual harassment is very common but that does not make it right. Your employer must take action against abusive sexual contact, quid pro quo sexual demands, or any other sexualized images or behaviors that create a hostile working environment. If they fail to take action or retaliate against your complaints, the law allows you to pursue civil damages and other remedies.
  • People's Homes or Hotels - When a property owner fails to prevent a guest from abusive sexual contact, or provides alcohol that leads to sexual assault of a guest, or if parents fail to provide adequate supervision of their sexually predatory child in order to protect guests, they can be sued.

What is Abusive Sexual Contact?

While the specifics of the law vary from one state to the other, any unwanted or offensive sexual touching is considered sexual assault. Unwanted sexual touching includes anything from groping to battery and assault, to attempted rape.

Sexual assault is prohibited in all states, but although basic elements remain similar, definitions of the crime differ. Similarly, the wording and structures of sexual assault offenses can be vastly different. In many states, sexual assault is an umbrella term that covers a number of other crimes. Distinctions are usually made between sexual assault that involves abusive sexual contact and touching, and those that involve penetration. In those states, penetrative sexual assault is considered a first degree or aggravated assault, while touching is a lower-level sexual assault.

Some states define sexual contact as the intentional touching of one or both individuals' private parts or the clothing that covers those parts for any of the following reasons:

  • sexual arousal
  • sexual gratification
  • sexual purpose
  • in a sexual manner
  • for revenge
  • or to inflict humiliation.

It may be done out of anger, if the perpetrator feels that the victim has wronged him or her

Abusive Sexual Contact Between Spouses

Assault laws in most states provide cover for abusive sexual contact between spouses, a method that was accomplished by:

  • removing a spousal assault exemption from many laws;
  • removing the marriage defense from assault charges;
  • by creating laws that prohibit spousal sexual assault.

The federal statute that outlaws sexual assault follows the general principles of the crime, and prohibits abusive sexual contact that results when a perpetrator instills fear in the victim. Sexual acts with an incapacitated victim are also prohibited.

Always discuss your specific questions about local statutes with a lawyer in your state.

Burden of Proof in Abusive Sexual Contact Cases

Abusive sexual contact is a form of assault that occurs when a perpetrator forces or coerces a victim who is either fully conscious or mentally or physically incapacitated. By law, incapacitation is:

a lack of mental ability to fully understand the sexual acts;

  • physical incapacity to indicate a willingness to participate in sexual acts.

Commonly, abusive sexual contact charges arise from alcohol use of the administering of date rape drugs that can render a person incapable of legally consenting to sexual conduct.

Sexual assault laws have been updated in recent years to reflect a changing society in which people of all ages and between people of any sex can be charged with abusive sexual contact. That means that the laws extend beyond adult men and women to people of the same sex and to inappropriate touching between children as well.

Defendants can use many defenses to counterclaims of sexual assault or abusive sexual contact charges. Most often, defendants will profess innocent. Alternatively, they may admit to the actions, but insist that the victim consented, or they may use mental incapacity or insanity to argue that they should not be punished.

Innocence defense: If the defense chooses to use the innocence defense, they will have to provide a watertight alibi as to why the accused could not have been there at the date and time when the alleged assault occurred. For this defense to work, credible evidence will have to be provided. Alternatively, they may claim that it is an issue of mistaken identification. DNA evidence, along with witness statements and other physical evidence can help ease the burden of proof. Once the defendant has raised reasonable doubt as to whether she or he has actually committed the crime, the jury should acquit them.

Consent defense: In some cases, the defendant may admit to the abusive sexual contact, but will claim that the victim consented, and that negates the charges. One of the key factors in sexual assault charges, is that the contact must occur against the victim's will. Therefore, if the defense can provide solid evidence that the victim consented, the court may rule in the defense's favor.

However, it can be both controversial and difficult to show consent. In most cases, direct evidence of consent is not available and consent is often impossible to prove. Using the victim's sexual past will almost always tarnish the defendant's case. Likewise, there are cases in which it is impossible for a victim to consent, for example, if the victim is unable to understand the sexual context of the abusive sexual contact, or:

  • incapacitated in ny way
  • mentally challenged
  • a minor

Once again, states require differing levels of awareness regarding ability to consent. A liability standard is in effect in some states, which requires that defendants to take reasonable care to ensure that the victim was fully capable of consent.

However, in some states defendants can claim mistaken consent, provided that the defendant acted responsibly in trying to determine the victim's ability to consent.

Mental Incapacity or Insanity defense: A defendant can claim that he or she suffered a mental defect or disease at the time the abusive sexual contact occured in order to remove criminal liability. Many states are lenient towards defendants who can show that their mental state prohibited them from understanding that their actions were criminal in nature.

Mental incapacity is often an effective defense in abusive sexual contact cases, particularly if the individual failed to understand the criminal nature of their behavior.

Sentencing In Abusive Sexual Contact Cases

Just as sexual assault laws differ by state, so do sentencing rules. In states where sentences are determinate, a specific term is used to set a sentence, but mitigating and aggravating factors can affect the exact sentence.If the state has an indeterminate sentencing structure, the judge will select a range of years within the absolute minimum and maximum set out by the statute. Based on prison behavior and some other factors, the defendant may serve the minimum sentence, or the full term.

Since many sexual crimes are considered federal felonies, judges are directed by federal law, which specifies that they must consider when setting a sentence, including:

  • criminal history
  • the felon's willingness to accept responsibility for the crime.

In federal law, sexual assault is a criminal offense that carries a 20-year maximum prison sentence and fines. Convicted sex offenders must also compensate victims for expenses they have incurred as a result of the crime, including:

  • attorney's fees
  • medical care
  • occupational of physical therapy
  • and related expenses.

Once the jury finds the defendant guilty of abusive sexual contact, the judge will rule on sentencing. Some of the issues that will be considered regarding sentencing include:

  • a range of punishments set out in the criminal statutes
  • minimum and maximum prison terms
  • fines
  • and other penalties.

In addition to the statutes, the judge will consider mitigating and aggravating factors to to decide how that may affect the sentence. Mitigating factors usually support a more lenient punishment, while aggravating factors support the need for a harsher sentence. Aggravating factors may include the severity of the crime and the defendant's criminal history.

Damages in Abusive Sexual Contact Cases

A victim of abusive sexual contact may file a lawsuit against their abuser in civil court in order to claim monetary compensation, as a criminal prosecution can only give rise to:

  • fines
  • probation
  • jail time
  • and sanctions in the event that a conviction is obtained.

The level of compensation available in a civil abusive sexual contact case will depend on various factors, mainly the emotional and physical harm (and related expenses) the victim suffered and will have to deal with as a result of the abusive sexual contact.

Since sexual crimes are egregious in nature, it is not uncommon for juries to award high damages. Sadly, unless the defendant is particularly wealthy, it will be near impossible to collect the damages. Liability insurance policies typically exclude coverage for intentional acts, which means that the compensation will have to be derived from the perpetrator's personal assets.

If the defendant was already found guilty in criminal court, collateral estoppel may entitle the plaintiff in a civil suit to use that fact as evidence in a civil suit. Even without a criminal case, it is easier to demonstrate that the defendant is liable in civil court, due to the fact that the standard of proof tends to be lower. Preponderance of evidence requires that the plaintiff shows that the defendant has more likely than not commited the crime, whereas criminal court requires that the prosecution proves guilt beyond any reasonable doubt.

Help With Abusive Sexual Contact Charges

If you have been accused of abusive sexual touching, it is important to understand the consequences of a conviction. It may include imprisonment, fines, damages and being added to the state and national sex offenders register. However, there is help. An experienced Sexual Crimes Attorney you can assess your case and figure out the best available defense for your specific situation.

When you are facing sexual assault charges or an accusation of abusive sexual touching, be sure to obtain professional, expert legal assistance right away. A criminal defense attorney will assess the details of your case and work to have the charges dismissed or the sentence reduced.

At Sexual Crimes Attorney, we are committed to providing the best possible defense against false claims of abusive sexual touching or accusations of assault and battery. Call us today at 888-666-8480 to schedule a preliminary case review.