Child Sexual Abuse
Texas Family Code § 261.410 defines sexual abuse as sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare, or failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct harmful to a child. Any person younger than 17 years of age is considered a child under state law in Texas.
Allegations of child sexual abuse in the Lone Star State can encompass any one of a number of sex crimes. Prosecutors in Texas take these types of felony offenses very seriously and will aggressively seek maximum punishments that often include potentially decades in prison and several thousands of dollars in fines.
Attorney for Child Sexual Abuse Arrests in Fort Worth, TX
Were you arrested or do you think that you could be under investigation for any kind of alleged child sexual abuse crime? Even if you know that you are completely innocent, you should still not say anything to authorities without legal counsel. Contact [[$firm]] today.
Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers [[$partners]] represent people all over Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County who have been accused of sexual offenses, including Fort Worth, Weatherford, Arlington, Cleburne, and many other nearby communities. Call (817) 502-3600 to have our lawyers provide an honest and thorough evaluation of your case during a free initial consultation.
Overview of Child Sexual Abuse Crimes in Tarrant County
- What constitutes child sexual abuse in Texas?
- How long might an alleged offender be sentenced to prison if convicted?
- Where can I find more information about child sexual abuse in Fort Worth?
Child Sexual Abuse Charges in Texas
Child sexual abuse may involve any one of a number of other criminal charges. Some of the specific offenses that alleged offenders may be charged with include:
Indecency with a Child
Under Texas Penal Code § 21.11, it is a second-degree felony if an alleged offender, with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex, engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact. It is a third-degree felony if an alleged offender, with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex, with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, exposes the person’s anus or any part of the person’s genitals, knowing the child is present, or causes the child to expose the child’s anus or any part of the child’s genitals.
Texas Penal Code § 22.011 establishes that it is a second-degree felony if an alleged offender intentionally or knowingly:
- Causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
- Causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the alleged offender;
- Causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender;
- Causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender; or
- Causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender.
If the alleged victim was a person whom the alleged offender was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the alleged offender was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married under the state’s bigamy law, then the offense becomes a first-degree felony.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
Under Texas Penal Code § 22.021, it is a first-degree felony if an alleged offender commits a sexual assault and either:
- The alleged victim is younger than 14 years of age; or
- The alleged offender causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the alleged victim or another person in the course of the same criminal episode;
- The alleged offender by acts or words places the alleged victim in fear that any person will become the victim of a trafficking of persons offense under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) or that death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person;
- The alleged offender by acts or words occurring in the presence of the victim threatens to cause any person to become the victim of a trafficking of persons offense under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02(a)(3), (4), (7), or (8) or to cause the death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping of any person;
- The alleged offender uses or exhibits a deadly weapon in the course of the same criminal episode;
- The alleged offender acts in concert with another person who engages in sexual assault directed toward the same alleged victim and occurring during the course of the same criminal episode; or
- The alleged offender administers or provides flunitrazepam, otherwise known as rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB), or ketamine to the alleged victim of the offense with the intent of facilitating the commission of the offense;
- The alleged victim is an elderly individual or a disabled individual.
Continuous Sexual Abuse of Young Child or Children
Texas Penal Code § 21.02 makes it a first-degree felony for an alleged offender to commit two or more acts of sexual abuse, regardless of whether the acts of sexual abuse are committed against one or more victims, during a period that is 30 or more days in duration when at the time of the commission of each of the acts of sexual abuse, the alleged offender is 17 years of age or older and the alleged victim is a child younger than 14 years of age. Acts of sexual abuse under this statute include any of the following offenses:
- Aggravated kidnapping, if the alleged offender committed the offense with the intent to violate or abuse the alleged victim sexually;
- Indecency with a child, if the alleged offender committed the offense in a manner other than by touching, including touching through clothing, the breast of a child;
- Sexual assault;
- Aggravated sexual assault;
- Burglary, if the premises involved in the offense was a habitation and the alleged offender committed the offense with the intent to commit aggravated kidnapping, indecency with a child, sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault;
- Sexual performance by a child;
- Trafficking of persons; and
- Compelling prostitution.
Child Sexual Abuse Penalties in Tarrant County
All of the crimes listed above carry severe consequences. If an alleged offender is convicted, he or she could receive one of the following sentences:
- Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000;
- Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000; or
- First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.
It is important to keep in mind that most of these statutes also establish affirmative defenses (sets of facts that excuse or negate the consequences of an alleged offender’s otherwise criminal conduct) to prosecution for these offenses that may be raised by alleged offenders. For example, an alleged offender accused of continuous sexual abuse of young child or children has an affirmative defense if he or she:
- Was not more than five years older than the alleged victim of the offense, if the offense is alleged to have been committed against only one alleged victim, or the youngest alleged victim of the offense, if the offense is alleged to have been committed against more than one alleged victim;
- Did not use duress, force, or a threat against an alleged victim at the time of the commission of any of the acts of sexual abuse alleged as an element of the offense; and
- At the time of the commission of any of the acts of sexual abuse alleged as an element of the offense was not required to register for life as a sex offender or was not a person who had a reportable conviction or adjudication for a continuous sexual abuse of young child or children offense or an act of sexual abuse as described by Texas Penal Code § 21.02(c).
Texas Resources for Child Sexual Abuse Offenses
Child Sexual Abuse | Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) — RAINN is the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States. On this section of its website, you can find all kinds of information about child sexual abuse, including what it is, what perpetrators look like, and how you can protect your children from sexual abuse. You can also learn about physical and behavioral warning signs as well as where to get help.
Child Sexual Abuse Statistics | National Center for Victims of Crime — The National Center for Victims of Crime is a nonprofit organization with the mission “to forge a national commitment to help victims of crime rebuild their lives.” As this section of the organization’s website notes, the “prevalence of child sexual abuse is difficult to determine because it is often not reported; experts agree that the incidence is far greater than what is reported to authorities.” You can still find the results of various studies and reports investigating child sexual abuse.
National Association of Adult Survivors of Child Abuse (NAASCA) — NAASCA is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that addresses issues related to childhood abuse and trauma including sexual assault, violent or physical abuse, emotional traumas, and neglect. On this website, you can listen to the organization’s internet-based talk radio show, find recovery groups and services, and view a calendar of upcoming events. You can also sign up to receive NAASCA’s newsletter.
Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC |Fort Worth Child Sexual Abuse Defense Lawyer
If you believe that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested for a crime involving alleged child sexual abuse, it is in your best interest to not make any kind of statement to police until you have legal representation. Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC understands the tremendous toll that these types of allegations can take on every aspect of the life of an alleged offender and will work tirelessly to possibly get the criminal charges reduced or dismissed.
Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Worth who defend clients in Cleburne, Fort Worth, Weatherford, Arlington, and many surrounding areas of Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County. They can review your case and help you understand all of your legal options as soon as you call (817) 502-3600 or submit an online form to schedule a free, confidential consultation.