Sex crimes are met with the most outrage, especially in cases that involve children. Outraged communities often have to be kept in check to avoid vigilantism as they seek vengeance against the victimizers. Many families feel that life sentences fail to provide sufficient punishment that fits the crime in the event of a guilty verdict. In recent years, convicted sex offenders have called for chemical or surgical castration to help them manage their urges.
Harm from sex crimes stay with most victims for the rest of their lives - affecting their psyche, interpersonal relationships, physical being and usually their sex lives - and it's only understandable that those who are affected by such abuse want offenders to suffer the same way they did. For many victims, life imprisonment is a good way to avoid it from happening again, however, statutes provide guidelines as to how long a sex offender may be sentenced for, and even so, jails are full and it costs the taxpayer a lot of money to house an inmate in prison.
What to Do If You Have Been Sexually Assaulted
As a victim of sexual abuse or assault, is important to seek medical attention, as well as psychological help and guidance from an expert Sex Crimes Attorney to guide them through the process. Do not take matters into your own hands, or you may land in serious legal trouble too.
Sexual abuse and offenses can take many forms, with some including:
- indecent exposure
- abusive sexual contact
- sexual assaults
- child sex trafficking
- child pornography
- human trafficking
- engaging in sexual acts for money
- statutory rape or sexual battery
Most of these crimes involve forced sexual contact, which can be emotional or physical in nature. Someone may use coercion, pressure, intimidation or threats, or even physical violence to force a victim into sexual acts. Rape or battery is when sexual intercourse takes place without consent.
The law on sex crimes differs from one state to another, but it is typically illegal to:
- have sexual intercourse with someone against their will
- force, intimidate, coerce, or threaten someone into having sex
- have intercourse with someone who is physically or mentally incapacitated
- have intercourse with a minor.
Some states categorize sex crimes into different categories, with a distinction between rape (intercourse) and unwanted sexual contact.
- Sexual intercourse is any form of vaginal, anal or oral penetration using a penis, tongue, finger or inanimate object.
- Abusive sexual contact is the intentional touching of a victim's private areas, including buttocks, breasts, groin and genitalia, or the clothes that cover those parts.
Typical Penalties for Sex Offenders
Consequences are dire for convicted sex offenders. Most sex crimes - usually those involving minors - are considered federal crimes and sentences often include lifelong imprisonment and sex offender registration. In the case of shorter sentences, most convicted offenders remain on the sex offender register for the rest of their lives.
The law seeks to protect victims by stopping offenders and child abusers from committing these crimes again in future. Some of the methods are invasive, as it makes the public aware of their crimes, but many have been well received by the public. Typical sex offender penalties practiced in some states include:
- Civil Commitment - Habitual offenders are remanded to prison in order to prevent future offenses.
- Residency Restrictions - In some cases, convicted sex offenders are forbidden from living anywhere near schools, parks and other places where children tend to congregate.
- Halloween Sex Offender Laws - These laws restrict offenders' conduct on Halloween night.
- Amber Alerts - When a child is feared abducted, amber alerts are spread to help rescue them and to prevent abuse.
- Chemical and Surgical Castration - In some states, castration is used as a means to lower the sex drive of offenders.
Apart from civil commitment, the above penalties are applicable to convicted felons who have been released from prison and have been returned to communities. When the above penalties apply, they are also added to the sex offender’s registry, which tracks their movements in the communities they frequent. As such, they have to register in the jurisdictions in which they reside, where they work, and where they attend any classes. Whenever they move, they have to update the register in all the jurisdictions in which they are registered, and they have to update their details at court-appointed intervals, which range from every three months to once a year.
In addition to the above requirements, convicted sex offenders must report on their internet activities. In some cases, they may not use certain forms of social media, or their interactions are severely limited. They may not visit chat rooms and similar sites where they may contact potential victims, and they have to provide the authorities with links to their profiles.
In some cases, chemical or surgical castration is another penalty.
In recent years, a number of states have incorporated chemical and surgical castration as options in their fight to eradicate sex crimes.
What is Chemical or Surgical Castration?
Sex offenders are sent to prison with the aim to help them become rehabilitated, but many people question its efficacy in that regard. Castration is a useful method for lowering the hormone, testosterone, and thereby diminishing sexually deviant behavior.
Surgical castration involves the permanent removal of a male sex offender's testicles. The process has been in use since the 20th century, when approximately sixty thousand mentally disabled male prisoners were castrated in America. More recently, some states have made voluntary surgical castration an option for male sex offenders who were faced with lengthy jail sentences. The fact that it lowers their sex drives should essentially diminish their desire to act on sexual impulses, which should provide an effective form of rehabilitation.
Modern medicine has made chemical castration an option for many convicted sex offenders in America. California was the first state to enact legislation that allows for hormone therapy that lowers testosterone levels as a penalty in child molestation cases back in 1996, and since then other states have enacted similar statutes. Chemical castration is a temporary solution for lowering the sex drives or sex offenders.
States that offer chemical castration permit sex offenders to be injected with Depo Provera, which is FDA-approved for birth control in women. The drug is known to lower the testosterone levels of male sex offenders, which quells their sex drive in turn. Depo Provera is considered the most effective means to manage uncontrollable sexual urges that are driven by fantasies that are only satisfied by acting on the impulses.
Chemical or Surgical Castration Approaches in Different States
Different state statutes provide legislation for:
- mandatory chemical castration of repeat sex offenders,
- and discretionary chemical castration for first-time offenders.
Although the language of the statutes read as mandatory, the law is sometimes invoked. Some repeat sex offenders have requested to undergo surgical castration in order to avoid indefinite incarceration, which has been granted in some cases.
In some states, voluntary surgical castration can only be performed once certain requirements have been met, for instance, the candidate:
- must be 21 years or older
- must have been convicted of two or more sexual offenses
- must have undergone a minimum of 18 months of sex offender treatment, which includes chemical castration (Depo Provera injections).
These requirements are in place to ensure that sex offenders make an informed decision regarding surgical castration and understand the way in which their bodies might react with lower testosterone levels.
The actual process of surgical castration is quite simple. The patient is placed under general anesthesia for the duration of the procedure, which takes less than fifteen minutes. The minimally invasive procedure leaves a small scar from the negligible incision. However, there is an understandably more complex mental component to the procedure, hence the pre-operation requirements.
When offenders have undergone surgical castration and are released from custody, they will be listed on the sexual offenders register.
Some states have been experimenting with a variety of chemical and surgical castration methods. One such method includes administering antidepressants to see whether that will alleviate the sexual compulsions of the offenders, while others administer medroxyprogesterone acetate.
Lawmakers in some states have proposed that adult sex offenders with victims younger than twelve years of age pay for their own castration surgery. While this has not been passed as of writing, the law changes all the time and it may well be passed at some point. However, in one case, a 78-year old Florida man pleaded guilty to child molestation. He was given a 27-year prison sentence and agreed to undergo voluntary castration, which he paid for in order to become eligible for parole. Due to medical complications, the surgery did not take place within six months of sentencing, but he did eventually undergo surgical removal of his testicles. On his release from custody, he will register as a sex offender.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other critics have condemned chemical castration, saying that it violates the constitutional rights of sex offenders. The sentiment is that chemical castration is a violation of a sex offender's:
- right of equal protection and due process
- implied Fourteenth Amendment privacy right
It is also considered cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment, according to critics, who have questioned the effectiveness of the surgical and chemical castration.
However, individuals who undergo chemical castration may retain some level of sexual function and testosterone boosting drugs may help them to counteract effects of the Depo Provera injection. A low rate of recidivism is retained even by surgically castrated offenders.
Surgical castration is usually a voluntary option, while chemical castration is mandatory for some repeat offenders. While most people will gladly accept any just rewards being meted out on a child molester, some people are concerned that a wrongfully incarcerated man might end up being castrated, which could have devastating consequences not only for him, but also for law makers in the long term.
Get Help with Chemical or Surgical Castration
If you have been accused of sexual offenses, you need to obtain the help of a Sexual Crimes Attorney. State and federal law do not take sex offenses lightly and impose harsh sentences on convicted sex offenders. Many sex offenders have serious mental health problems and need all the help they can get to recover and rehabilitate.
Sexual offenses range from indecent exposure to abusive sexual contact and statutory rape, along with a slew of related violent crimes. Sexual Crimes Attorney has experience in defending the victims of sex crimes in civil suits and defending wrongfully accused defendants in criminal cases. We can assist you with your case.
During an initial case review, we can discuss the merits of your case to determine a way forward. If we proceed, you will have the opportunity to sit down with our legal team, and one of our expert criminal defense attorneys who will help you understand the legal options that are available to you as well as your rights. We will do our utmost to have the case dismissed, or to have the charges against you reduced.
Perhaps a loved one has already been convicted and sentenced to jail and wishes to undergo chemical or surgical castration as a means to help suppress his sexual urges and rebuild a meaningful life on the other side of the bars. After reviewing the case and the statutes of the state in which he is incarcerated, we may be able to open discussions with the authorities and appeal for chemical or surgical castration on his behalf.
Chemical and surgical castration has helped many convicted sex offenders to handle the chemical reactions in their bodies which control their impulses and have managed to become rehabilitated as a result. As technology and science continue to advance, we hope that the perfect formula will be found and that education will be provided to help prevent heinous sexual misconduct before it happens. For now, we can only help clear up the devastation that is left behind in the wake of sex crimes.
Get in touch with Sexual Crimes Attorney today at 888-666-8480 to schedule an appointment.