Posted on 2/3/20

Sexual abuse is a violent sexual assault that threatens the sexual freedom of the victim and his or her right to consent to sexual activity. If it is committed against a minor, it may also affect the victim’s personal development.

When is Sexual Behavior Sexual Abuse?

To be considered sexual abuse the following are all necessary:

  • Abusive conduct of sexual content;

  • Direct body contact between the aggressor and the victim;

  • The physical contact affects the sexual parts of the victim’s body, and

  • Absence of consent in the victim regarding the sexual act in which he or she is involved.

What is Consent?

All types of sexual violence are based on the concept of consent. Sexual assault and abuse do not involve consent. Consensual sexual activity by adults is clearly not criminal activity. If a person engages in sexual activity willingly and consciously then he/she has consented to the sexual acts.

According to the Texas Penal Code, a person does not have consent if:

  • Offenders threaten violence to coerce sexual activity.

  • Offenders force victim to commit sexual acts or threatened to harm others.

  • Offenders commit sexual acts with the victim knowing that the victim is unconscious or unable to resist physically.

  • Offenders know that the victim does not know that sexual abuse is occurring.

  • Offenders use any kind of substance to manipulate the victim’s ability to physically resist.

  • Offenders are public officials, for example, an officer of the law, who forces a person to have sexual intercourse.

  • Offenders are psychiatric or health care providers, and the victim is a current or past patient of the provider.

  • Offenders are priests who exploit the victims’ emotional dependency.

However, there are disputes about what it means to ‘agree’ and how it happens. Some states have established consent policies that require the consent of words or actions. Lack of resistance or remaining silent does not mean consent.

Possible Penalties for Sexual Assault or Abuse

Sexual assault is a serious offense in Texas. In fact, it is considered the second most serious crime. If the victim is less than 14 years of age, then the offender will face a minimum sentence of 25 years.

If convicted, the following penalties may be imposed.

  • The maximum penalty is 99 years

  • Fine of up to $10,000

  • Registered as a lifelong sex offender

People who have been convicted of serious sexual violence must expect consequences even after their sentence has expired. Some of these consequences are:

  • Resident restrictions: Texas law prohibits registered sex offenders from living within 200 yards of a child’s home or visiting them. These areas include schools, parks, kindergartens, youth centers, and sports facilities.

  • Work restrictions: Registered sex offenders are not allowed to work in areas near playgrounds.

  • Voting rights: Registered sex offenders are not allowed to vote during or at the trial.

There are other restrictions that a registered sex offender may encounter, such as restrictions on internet access, being subject to regular drug or alcohol tests, and losing the right to own or buy weapons.

Contact an Experienced Criminal Defense Attorney Today

If you are accused of sexual assault crime, seek immediate help from a criminal defense attorney will be very helpful. Contact the attorneys at Abel Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.

Flower Mound Office

Phone: 972.584.7837

Denton Office