Child Sexual Abuse
Child Sexual Abuse Defense in Houston: Brazoria, Ft. Bend, Galveston, Harris & Montgomery Counties
In order to ensure the protection of minors, child sexual abuse laws cover a range of actions that are dangerous to children. According to the Texas Penal Code, sexual abuse of a child means any sexual behavior that has the potential to harm the mental, physical or emotional well-being of a child.
Failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent or report sexual behavior with a child also constitutes child sexual abuse. Additionally, encouraging or forcing a child to engage in sexual activities can be prosecuted as sexual abuse of a child. Taking part in any of these actions can be met with legal prosecution and severe consequences.
Behaviors Regarded as Sexual Abuse of a Child
Because child sexual abuse laws are designed to protect children from any potential harm, actual physical contact does not have to occur for certain behaviors to constitute sexual abuse. For example, actions known as “lewd and lascivious behavior” can be prosecuted as sexual abuse of a child.
These behaviors can include indecent exposure or “flashing,” vulgar sexual speech or comments and attempts to distribute or possess pornographic materials depicting minors. Essentially, any type of sexual behavior that can be reasonably believed to have the potential to harm or endanger the welfare of a child can be prosecuted as sexual abuse.
Child Sexual Abuse Penalties
The consequences for a conviction of child sexual abuse or child molestation can be complex, severe and long-lasting. In recent years, many courts and legal jurisdictions have responded to the growing problem of child sexual abuse by enacting new, more stringent laws dictating punishments for anyone convicted of this crime. Some examples of these punishments may include:
- A conviction for sexual indecency with a child is a third-degree felony that is punishable by a prison sentence of two to 10 years and a fine of up to $10,000.
- A child sexual assault charge is a second-degree felony that can carry a punishment of two to 20 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
- A charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child is a first-degree felony that can carry a sentence of five to 99 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
Defending Against Child Sexual Abuse Allegations
A child abuse lawyer can prepare a defense for a person charged with these actions by studying the facts of the case and looking for any gaps in the prosecution’s argument. The prosecution must prove every aspect of their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and if a defense attorney can show evidence that the prosecution is unable to do this, the charges may be reduced or even dropped.
Seek Help From a Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer in Houston
To learn more about child sexual abuse laws, contact the Law Office of Greg Tsioros at 832-752-5972.