An Overview of Texas Child Molestation Laws
The mere accusation – even if it is false – of child molestation immediately turns your life upside down. You can lose your job, family, and reputation in the blink of an eye. Then, it takes years to get it all back, if you ever do. You also may have to live with being a “registered sex offender” for the rest of your life.
Take a minute to learn about child molestation law in Texas:
At a general level, Texas defines child molestation as “indecency, sexual contact, or sexual abuse…of anyone under the age of 17.” Sexual abuse includes when an individual or group attempts to gain sexual gratification from a child, or exposes their own genitals or those of a child.
The State defines “continual sexual abuse of a child” as two or more instances of sexual contact between someone older than 17 and younger than 14. This crime gets prosecuted as a 1st degree felony.
But because this is a “3g Offense” (the name comes from Section 3g of Texas criminal procedure) in Texas, you face a much tougher punishment. Instead of 5-99 years in prison and up to a $10,000 fine (which you face for a 1st-degree felony), you get 25-years to life – without the possibility of parole!
What Defines “Sexual Abuse” Against a Child?
Texas says actions that fit under these categories are “sexual abuse:”
- Engaging in sexual conduct that harms a child’s mental, emotional, or physical welfare
- Not taking enough reasonable action to stop sexual conduct from happening to a child
- Either compelling or urging a child to engage in sexual conduct
- Causing, permitting, encouraging, engaging in, or allowing the filming or depicting of a child engaging in obscene or pornographic behavior
- Allowing the sexual performance of a child
What is the Statute of Limitations for Child Molestation?
For the sexual assault or sexual abuse of a child, there is no statute of limitations at all. If you commit this crime at any point in your life, the Texas legal system can punish you.
What Makes the Sexual Assault of a Child “Aggravated?”
First, the child must be under 14. Second, you must either use a deadly weapon or have the potential to cause serious bodily injury. Texas Penal Code Section 22.021 also outlines several additional behaviors that make the sexual assault of a child aggravated:
You intentionally or knowingly:
- Cause the penetration of a child’s anus or sexual organ in any way
- Make the sexual organ of another person contact the child
- Cause a child’s anus to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person or yourself
- Cause the mouth of a child to contact your own sexual organs or anus, or those of another person
There’s much more to Texas child molestation law than that. But it’s a brief overview.
While most child sexual assault claims are valid, some are falsely made. If you have been accused of child molestation, you need an experienced criminal defense lawyer today.
Star Law, P.C. can post your bond to get your freedom while we defend your case.