Understanding Child Sexual Abuse in Texas
Accusing someone, whether the accusation is true or not, of child sexual abuse can completely disrupt their life. In a swift turn of events, your employment, family ties, and reputation could swiftly vanish. Rebuilding all of this can take years, or it might never fully happen.
While many claims of child sexual assault are credible, there are instances of false accusations. If you’re facing an accusation of child molestation, it’s crucial to seek the help of an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
What exactly is Child Sexual Abuse?
Child sexual abuse is a type of child abuse that involves inappropriate sexual activity with a young person, whether it’s through touch or non-touch. It’s important to understand that a child will never agree to any kind of sexual activity. When someone does this to a child, they are committing a severe crime that can cause long-term harm to the victim. Those who have experienced childhood sexual abuse frequently mention anxiety, anger issues, and depression as the most common signs.
Child molestation doesn’t necessarily involve physical contact. are various ways child sexual abuse can happen, including:
- Exhibitionism: sexual gratification by showing private body parts to a child.
- Fondling: Touching a child inappropriately is a form of abuse. Always respect personal boundaries.
- Intercourse: Having any kind of sexual stimulation with a child.
- Masturbation and Coercion: Forcing a child to engage in or witness sexual activities can have detrimental effects.
- Inappropriate Conversations: Talking about explicit or adult things with a child is not okay.
- Child Pornography: Making, having, or sharing sexual pictures or videos of children is considered a sex crime.
- Sexual Acts with a Minor: Any sexual activity with a child is a crime.
- Sex Trafficking: Protect children from being forced into harmful situations like sex trafficking.
- Any Sexual Contact: Any sexual behavior involving a child is abuse.
Most often, the individuals responsible for such acts are familiar to the child or the child’s family. Up to 93% of victims under 18 are acquainted with their abuser.
It’s important to note that a perpetrator need not be an adult to cause harm to a child. This person can have various relationships with the child. They can be a sibling, friend, family member, teacher, coach, instructor, caregiver, or even a parent of another child.
The specific number of child sexual abuse cases may not be certain, but it is thought that Texas experienced over 70,000 confirmed cases of child abuse in a single year. Shockingly, statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys experience sexual abuse before turning 18. Unfortunately, numerous cases remain unreported due to factors such as fear, shame, or a lack of awareness.
Consequences of Child Sexual Abuse in Texas
- Sexual Assault of a Child (Texas Penal Code 22.011): Depending on the details of the crime, this offense can be a second-degree felony, which may lead to imprisonment for two to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
- Online Solicitation of a Minor (Texas Penal Code Section 33.021): Soliciting a minor online, even without physical contact, is a felony. The charge can be a second-degree or third-degree felony, potentially resulting in a prison term of 2 to 20 years and a significant fine.
- Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child (Texas Penal Code 22.01): Among the most serious child molestation offenses, this typically involves sexual activity with a child under 14 or an older child under specific conditions. It is classified as a first-degree felony, carrying a potential prison sentence of five years to life and a fine of up to $10,000.
A conviction for child sex offenses can lead to more than just prison and fines. Even if a court declares you not guilty, you may still encounter a range of challenges and situations:
- Sex Offender Registration: If found guilty, you’ll likely be required to register as a sex offender, either for a decade or for life. This registration is mandatory, even during ongoing appeals. Labeling someone as a sex offender carries not only legal implications but also political and emotional consequences.
- Custody Issues: Your status as a registered sex offender could be used against you in custody disputes. Your partner or ex-partner may claim that being around your kids is dangerous, which could affect your custody rights.
- Living Restrictions: In some places in Texas, rules from the town or city might not allow people who are on the list of sex offenders to live close (within 2500 feet) to where kids gather.
- Job Loss: Convicted sex offenders are generally prohibited from working in environments involving children. This restriction applies to schools, hospitals, malls, most stores, and similar places. Even if your job isn’t on the restricted list, employers may still fire you because of biases and societal prejudices.
Arrested? Don’t Plea, Call Me!
The presumption of innocence has its limits, especially in cases of child molestation. Just an allegation could result in losing everything. Even if you’re eventually proven innocent, prolonged court cases bring worse consequences.
When facing charges of child abuse or neglect, having an experienced criminal defense lawyer is crucial. They provide advice, guide you through legal intricacies, and represent you effectively in court.
Our experienced criminal defense lawyers carefully examine your case, build a tailored defense strategy, and advocate on your behalf. We engage with the opposing side and fight for your rights in court.