What are Sex Crimes?

There’s a reason sex crimes are constantly in the news: they’re not only all too common, but completely life-changing for all parties involved. The best way to prevent them from occurring is to spread knowledge and awareness about how and why sex crimes happen and why they shouldn’t.

As defined by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, sexual assault is an attack or attempted attack generally involving unwanted sexual contact between victim and offender. Sexual assault may or may not involve force; some attacks can be solely verbal.

According to the Law Offices of Mark T. Lassiter, child sexual assault can be classified under indecency with a child or continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children. Indecency can be either a second or third-degree felony depending on the charges and has a minimum sentence of 2 years. Continuous sexual abuse, however, is a first-degree felony and a conviction can lead to anywhere from 5 to 99 years in prison.

Rape, defined by the Bureau of Justice Statistics as forced, non-consensual sexual intercourse including both psychological coercion as well as physical force, is a second-degree felony. Those convicted of rape charges can receive anywhere between 2 to 20 years in prison.

Statutory rape includes any sexual activity between a minor under the state-established age of consent with a person more than three years older than them. Statutory rape is a first-degree felony and can carry a sentence of 5 to 99 years in prison if the minor is under 14 years old and a second-degree felony with a possible sentence of 2 to 20 years in prison if they are between 14 and the age of consent.

Those who have committed a sex crime must nationally register as sex offenders. This means they are entered into a nation-wide registry and legally obligated to live by a certain set of rules that includes disclosing their sex offender status to their neighbors and not living within 1,000 feet of a school or childcare facilities.