Across the U.S. each year there are thousands of incidents of sexually-based violence. Acts of sexual assault occur commonly on college campuses. Many of these occurrences are unreported. At Penn State University, they estimate that the percentage of unreported assaults may be as high as 85%. The State College Police received 28 reports of sexual assault during the 2016-2017 academic year and 16 were reported in the 2017-2018 year. Lawmakers in Pennsylvania have continued to increase the severity of the penalties that may be imposed on those convicted of these types of crimes.
Defining Sexual Assault
Acts of sexual assault are defined as being crimes where someone participates in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with someone who has not consented to do so. It is a second-degree felony offense that is punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.
In order to accurately define sexual assault, we need to understand the terms used in the provision. Sexual intercourse involves any form of sexual penetration “however slight.” Deviate sexual intercourse is any form of penetration involving humans or animals. Deviate intercourse may also include any form of sexual penetration where a foreign object is used in a manner that is not intended for “medical, hygienic, or law enforcement” purposes.
Statutory Sexual Assault
Statutory sexual assault is associated with the age of the individuals involved and whether or not they are capable of consenting to participate in a sexual encounter. A statutory sexual assault is an act where someone participates in sexual intercourse with someone who they are not married to that is under the age of 16. The offense is considered to be a second-degree felony offense when the alleged offender is between four and eleven years older than the victim. The crime is upgraded to a first-degree felony when the alleged offender is 11 years older or more.
Institutional Sexual Assault
Acts of institutional sexual assault are associated with individuals based on the setting where the acts occur and the relationship of the parties involved. The crime is a third-degree felony offense that occurs when individuals engage in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, or indecent contact. The term indecent contact occurs when someone is touched in an intimate part of the body for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification. Acts of institutional sexual assault may occur involving some of the following:
- Between an employee of a licensed residential facility and a patient or resident
- Involving a correctional officer or employee and an inmate
- Involving a teacher, counselor, or other staff or administrator of a school and a student
- Between an employee or volunteer at a child care center and a child
- In athletic settings such as acts involving a coach or sports official and a minor
Level of Offense
Period of Imprisonment
First Degree Felony
Up to 20 years
Up to $25,000
Second Degree Felony
Up to 10 years
Up to $25,000
Third Degree Felony
Up to 7 years
Up to 15,000
Impact of Criminal Record
Having a criminal record can have a long-term detrimental impact on those when subjected to background screening. This process is commonly used by employers and landlords. Those convicted of sexually-based offenses typically face a requirement to register as a sex offender. The Pennsylvania courts maintain and monitor those classified as a sex offender and the State Police also maintains a public database that was implemented according to Megan's Law.
Retaining an Attorney
Those who are faced with allegations of sexual assault or other felony charges should promptly consult with a criminal defense attorney. Your attorney should have experience in defending such cases in the Pennsylvania court system.
Delaware County Attorney for Defending Allegations of Sexual Assault
Felony charges in Pennsylvania can result in harsh consequences including significant prison time. Attorney Joseph D. Lento understands the importance of maintaining your rights, freedom, and reputation. He will work to achieve a positive outcome by employing a comprehensive defense strategy. For a complimentary consultation, make the call to (888) 535-3686 today.