A sex crime is a criminal offense that results from having non-consensual sex, engaging in violence during a sexual act, engaging in illegal sex acts and transactions, or having sex with someone who is below the legal age for consent. Persons convicted of a sex crime must endure mandatory minimum sentencing and have their names added to the national sexual offender registry.
Sexual assault occurs when someone performs an offensive sexual act on an individual. The most common form of sexual assault is when a person does a sexual act on a victim without consent. Other forms of sexual assault involve violent behaviors such as battery, intimidation, and threats. Sexual assault includes all forms of nonconsensual sexual contact including forced kissing and caressing, groping, and penetration.
Rape is a form of sexual assault where the perpetrator uses force or other nefarious methods to have sexual intercourse with the victim. Forcible rape is when the perpetrator uses threats or force to induce the victim into having sexual intercourse. Date rape is a form of rape where the perpetrator uses alcohol and other intoxicating substances to make it hard for the victim to resist sexual intercourse. Abuse of power rape is a form of rape where the perpetrator uses his or her position or alleged position to force the victim into sexual intercourse. Rape prosecutions often require the defense lawyer to prove that the defendant and the victim thought they were engaging in consensual sex.
Statutory rape occurs when the victim of nonconsensual sexual intercourse is a minor. Federal law states that all individuals who were below the statutory age of consent cannot legally claim to have consented to sexual intercourse. The legal age of consent varies with state though most states set it at 16 years of age. Statutory rape need not involve force or other forms of coercion, meaning that a person can be convicted even if the victim was willing to have sex.
Solicitation involves using monetary enticements to encourage someone to engage in sexual activities. Prostitution is the most common form of solicitation and involves exchanging sexual services for money. Prostitution is illegal in all US states except 12 counties in Nevada. A person who consents to provide sexual services can be convicted of prostitution even though sexual intercourse did not take place.
Public indecency is a sex crime that occurs when people engage in prohibited sexual acts in public spaces. These offenses include public nudity, promoting obscene materials in public settings, or engaging in sexual acts that offend members of the public. States that have outlawed pornography treat such productions as a form of indecent exposure. Since some forms of public nudity are not sexual in nature, prosecutors must prove that the indecent exposure was meant to sexually arouse observers.
Punishment for Sex Crimes
If the prosecution convinces the court that the defendant committed a sex crime, the court proceeds to sentencing. All sex crimes have a mandatory minimum sentencing that varies with the severity of the crime. Courts may also impose sanctions and penalties on the perpetrator. All convicts of sexual crimes are added to the national and state sexual offender registries for easier tracking.