If you have been accused of sexual assault against a child in Pennsylvania, you must be prepared for the possibility of facing a felony offense and much harsher penalties than what is assessed for sexual assault against an adult. Besides the potential punishment, your reputation, family, and job can be destroyed merely from the allegations of child sexual assault.
We live in a climate that is particularly focused on sexual assault crimes against children. Even juries with the best of intentions to be fair-minded can be easily swayed to convict when the prosecution taps into jurors’ outrage over this type of crime.
To level the playing field, consider hiring a Pennsylvania child sexual assault lawyer who has served as a prosecutor and knows their strategies for getting convictions.
David McKenzie of McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. is a former prosecutor who now represents individuals accused of this type of crime. It may give you tremendous peace of mind to have him in your corner. Call today for a consultation: (610) 680-7842
Pennsylvania’s Child Sexual Assault Laws
Pennsylvania’s criminal code addresses a wide range of sexual assaults against children, as reviewed here.
Under Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes (PA C.S.) Title 18 §3122.1(a), any sexual intercourse with an individual who is less than 16 years of age—even when the act was consensual—constitutes statutory sexual assault. This crime is a second-degree felony and carries a maximum prison sentence of 10 years under PA C.S. Title 18 §106.
Statutory Sexual Assault
In the state of Pennsylvania, having consensual sexual intercourse with an individual becomes a federal crime when all of the following are true:
- Your sexual partner is under the age of 16 years; and
- You are four years older (or more) than your sexual partner; and
- You are not married.
Also under PA C.S. Title 18 §3122.1(b), an adult engaging in sexual intercourse under these conditions will face a first-degree felony charge if the age difference is greater than 11 years.
Pennsylvania outlines several scenarios of sexual intercourse with a child that constitute rape, including those in which the intercourse occurred by force or by threat of force; the minor was unconscious; on occasions in which the minor’s judgment was impaired by drugs, alcohol, or other intoxicating substances; or the minor was incapable of consent via mental disability.
Engaging in sex with an individual who is less than 13 years old also qualifies as rape under PA C.S. Title 18 §3121(c). The act is considered a first-degree felony, a charge that carries a prison sentence of up to 40 years. If the child suffered serious bodily injury during the sexual encounter, the accused is charged with a first-degree felony and faces life in person.
Indecent Assault of a Child
Indecent sexual assault under PA C.S. Title 18 §31025 comprises acts that involve indecent, non-consensual contact with an individual. When such assaults are committed against individuals who are between 13 years old and 15 years old, the offense is a second-degree misdemeanor. The penalty for this level of offense in Pennsylvania is two years, maximum.
When the victims of indecent assault are under the age of 13, the crime is considered a first-degree misdemeanor, with a maximum prison sentence of five years. In the case of a previous indecent assault conviction, the offense becomes a third-degree felony. The same holds true if the accused touched the victim’s intimate areas with their own, and in which case they face a possible seven years in prison.
Aggravated Indecent Assault of a Child
Pennsylvania further extends indecent assault to aggravated indecent assault of a child under a range of conditions, including when the assault happens:
- Without the minor’s consent
- By force
- By threat of force
- While the child was unconscious
- While the child suffered impairment because the accused gave them drugs, alcohol, or another intoxicating substance
- With a child who is incapable of consent because they have a mental disability
- With a minor under the age of 13
- With a victim under the age of 16, to whom the accused is not married, and the accused is more than four years older than the victim
As a first-degree felony under Pennsylvania law, aggravated indecent assault of a child under the age of 13 can be punished more than 10 years in prison.
With so much at stake, an individual accused of child sexual assault should choose their legal counsel carefully. David McKenzie is a Pennsylvania child sexual assault lawyer who can use his experience as a former Pennsylvania prosecutor to build and present your defense. Call McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. today at (610) 680-7842 for a no-obligation case review.
Defenses Against Charges of Child Sexual Assault
In any case of child sexual assault, the prosecutor bears the burden of proof. They must establish beyond a reasonable doubt that you are guilty of the crime with which you are charged.
One course of defense involves finding and presenting evidence that weakens the prosecution’s ability to prove their case to this standard.
Other defenses include:
- Asserting a case of mistaken identity
- Age (applicable only to charges of statutory rape)
- Involuntary intoxication (you were drugged or otherwise intoxicated without your consent or knowledge)
As your criminal defense lawyer, David McKenzie will review your case, gather evidence, and determine the best strategy to get you a positive outcome. In the event that the charges against you cannot be beaten, there are still ways to minimize the penalties and consequences against you.
Learn How a Pennsylvania Child Sexual Assault Lawyer Can Help You
David McKenzie is passionate about protecting the rights of his clients. As a father, husband, and community leader, he is able to combine his knowledge of Pennsylvania criminal law with deep compassion, so you never feel alone during this troubling time.
This is a time in your life when one choice can be a defining moment in your future. Consider choosing a criminal defense lawyer who has worked the other side of the courtroom as a prosecutor.
Call McKenzie Law Firm, P.C. today at (610) 680-7842 for a free case review.