How Age Impacts Sex Crimes Involving Children
The trial of a man that spent almost four years on the run from authorities recently concluded with a guilty verdict for crimes involving sex with children, reported Southwest Florida’s WINK News. The defendant was accused of molesting two minors under the age of 12 back in 2012, but he fled the US when allegations became public. While his age – 70 years old – was raised as a consideration in sentencing him to two life prison terms, the age of the victims was a factor in levying the charges against him. Florida sex crimes are treated differently under laws that take into account the age of both the victim and the offender.
Lewd or Lascivious Acts: Acts of a lustful or unchaste nature, which are motivated by inappropriate, sexual intent, fall under the definition of lewd and lascivious. However, other factors separate different kinds of sex crimes falling under this umbrella.
- Exhibition: Lewd and lascivious exhibition is sexual performance in the presence of a child under the age of 16, such as masturbation or exposing genitalia.
- Battery: Commonly known as statutory rape, lewd and lascivious battery is the crime of having consensual sexual intercourse with a person between the ages of 12 and 16 years old.
- Molestation: The crime of lewd and lascivious molestation occurs when a person makes intentional, inappropriate contact with the genitals of a child under 16 years old. It also includes encouraging or forcing a child to touch another person in a sexual manner.
Certain Defenses Unavailable: Under certain circumstances, you may be able to beat molestation charges, such as by showing a lack of intent or accidental contact. However, ignorance about the victim’s age can never be used as a defense. For instance, if the child told you he or she was over 18, you cannot claim lack of knowledge to fight the molestation charges. In addition, asserting that the child consented to your actions will not clear you of the crime.
Lewd or Lascivious Molestation Penalties: The punishment for molestation depend on the age of the offender and the age of the victim.
- Offender older than 18, Child under 12: This sex crime is considered a life felony in Florida, which means you will be sentenced to a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of life in prison.
- Offender older than 18, Child between 12 and 16 years: The offense is a second degree felony, punishable by a mandatory minimum of 51 months in prison, plus up to 15 additional years in jail and/or on probation.
Talk to a Florida Lawyer with Experience in Sex Crimes Cases
Under Florida law, you can be sentenced to life in prison for a sex crimes conviction, but even more minor offenses can result in harsh penalties. An experienced criminal defense attorney can help you fight the charges and advise you on your options to contest the claims of prosecuting attorneys. Kevin J. Kulik is an experienced lawyer that has represented many clients in sex crimes cases, so please contact our Fort Lauderdale office today for a confidential consultation.