Pittsburgh Child Sexual Assault Lawyer | Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys
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Worgul, Sarna & Ness

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Pennsylvania law defines some sex crimes including rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, and indecent assault. These definitions can lead to the question, “What is sexual assault of a child?” All of these offenses, which encompass a variety of inappropriate and non-consensual sexual conduct, can be perpetrated against a minor. In Pennsylvania, the age of consent is 16 years old, which means any sexual contact an adult has with a minor 15 years or younger is unlawful.

There are also many instances when sexual contact with a minor under 18 years old is also illegal, whether or not it was consensual. If you are accused of performing any sexual act with a juvenile in Pennsylvania, you may be charged with child sexual assault and should contact a child sexual assault lawyer as soon as possible.

Call Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a free consultation with a Pittsburgh sex crime lawyer.

Child Sexual Assault in Pennsylvania

There is no single crime of child sexual assault. Instead, there are many sex offenses under Pennsylvania law that can be committed against a minor. If you are accused of performing an unlawful sex act on a minor, then you will likely face a felony offense and a harsh penalty. Child sex crimes typically result in decades longer of imprisonment than a similar sex offense against an adult.

Statutory Sexual Assault (18 Pa. Code §3122.1)

It is illegal under Pennsylvania law for you to engage in consensual sexual intercourse with a person you are not married to who is under 16 years old and when you are more than four years older. If you are between four and eight years older than the other party or between eight and 11 years older, then you may be charged with a second-degree felony. If you are more than 11 years older than the other party at the time of the sexual intercourse, you will be charged with a first-degree felony.

If you are less than four years older than the other party and the intercourse was consensual, this can be used as a defense to sexual assault charges.

Rape of a Child (18 Pa. Code §3121)

You may be charged with rape if you perform sexual intercourse with a minor:

  • By force
  • By the threat of force
  • When the minor is unconscious
  • When the minor has been substantially impaired after being administered alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants
  • When the minor suffers from a mental disability making them incapable of consent

Under 18 Pa. Code §3121(c), you can be charged with rape of a child if you perform sexual intercourse on a minor who is less than 13 years old. For this offense, you may be sentenced to up to 40 years in prison. Rape of a minor older than 13 years is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Also, 18 Pa. Code §3121(d) outlines rape of a child under 13 years of age that results in serious bodily injury. If you cause a young child to suffer severe injuries during the commission of rape, then you can be sentenced to life imprisonment.

Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse With a Minor (18 Pa. Code §3123)

You may be charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse if you perform or cause to be performed oral sex, anal sex, or penetration with an object:

  • By force
  • By the threat of force
  • When the victim is unconscious
  • When the victim has been substantially impaired after being administered alcohol, drugs, or other intoxicants
  • When the victim suffers from a mental disability making them incapable of consent
  • When the victim is younger than 16 years old, you are more than four years older, and you two are not married

Based on 18 Pa. Code §3123(b), you can be charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child if you engage in any deviate sexual conduct with a minor under 13 years old. This is a first-degree felony, punishable by a maximum of 40 years in prison. Involuntary deviate sexual assault of a minor 13 years or older is a first-degree felony. If convicted, you can spend up to 20 years in prison.

Additionally, 18 Pa. Code §3123(c) states you can be charged with a crime if you perform involuntary deviate sexual intercourse on a minor younger than 13 years and you cause that child serious bodily injury in the course of the assault. This first-degree felony is punishable by life in prison.

Sexual Assault of a Minor (18 Pa. Code §3124.1)

If you perform sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse without someone’s consent or on a minor younger than 16 years old, with or without consent, then you may be charged with sexual assault. Prosecutors may charge you with sexual assault, a second-degree felony, if the facts of the case and the evidence available do not support a charge of rape of a child or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child.

Indecent Assault of a Child (18 Pa. Code §3126)

You may be charged with indecent sexual assault if you:

  • Engage, without consent, in indecent contact with the victim
  • Cause the victim to come into indecent contact with you or another person
  • Intentionally cause the victim to come into contact with semen, urine, or feces for sexual arousal or gratification

If you commit indecent assault against a minor between the ages of 13 and 15 years old, you will be charged with a second-degree misdemeanor. This may be penalized with a maximum of two years in jail.

If you commit indecent assault against a minor younger than 13 years, you will be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, punishable by up to five years in prison. However, this offense arises to a third-degree felony if you have a previous conviction for this offense, you engaged in the course of conduct of indecent assault, or you committed the crime by touching the victim’s sexual or intimate parts with your own or vice versa. A third-degree felony is punishable with a maximum of seven years in prison.

You may also be charged with aggravated indecent assault of a child under 18 Pa. Code §3125(b), if you penetrate, however slight, the genitals or anus of a minor:

  • Without consent
  • By force
  • By threats of force
  • When the minor was unconscious
  • When the minor was impaired by you administering alcohol, drugs, or intoxicants
  • When the minor has a mental disability making them incapable of consent
  • When the minor is younger than 13 years old
  • When the individual is younger than 16 years, you are more than four years older, and you two are not married

Aggravated indecent sexual assault of a child under 13 years old is a first-degree felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison.

Sex Offender Registration

If you are convicted of child sexual assault, you can expect to be imprisoned for a period of time, released on probation or parole, and multiple fines. You will also be required to register as a sex offender. Rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, institutional sexual assault of a minor, and indecent assault of a minor under 13 years are all Tier III offenses requiring lifetime registration.

If you do not sign up to initially register when you should, provide all accurate and up-to-date information, and verify your registration four times per year as a Tier III offender, then you can face a charge for failure to register.

If you have been charged with a child sex crime, you need a Pittsburgh child sexual assault lawyer by your side to help you with your case.

Defending Against Child Sexual Assault Charges

If you have been charged with a sex crime against a minor, you need to hire an experienced attorney immediately. In most situations, consent is not a viable defense. Under the law, minors under 16 years of age cannot consent to sexual activity. However, there is an exception to that rule in certain situations. If the minor was 13, 14, or 15 years old and you were not more than four years older than them at the time of the conduct, you may use consent as a defense.

Other potential defenses to child sexual assault allegations include false allegations or a mistake of identity. When a particularly young child is involved, your child sexual assault attorney will look into whether the child is confused or has been coached. This is particularly important to consider if there is a related child custody battle going on.

Additionally, an experienced attorney may focus on proving to the court that prosecutors lack sufficient evidence to prove you committed the offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

Contact a Pittsburgh Child Sexual Assault Lawyer Right Away

Nothing is more serious than being accused of sexually assaulting a child. Whether or not you have been charged with a crime yet, you need to face these allegations and protect yourself during an investigation. The best way to do this is to call a lawyer at Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC. We will use our knowledge, years of experience, and resources to defend you against such severe accusations and to fight for your exoneration in court.

Contact us at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a no-cost consultation and discuss how we can help you.

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