Pittsburgh Sexual Assault Lawyer | Worgul Law Firm
Worgul Law Firm LLC

Worgul, Sarna & Ness

CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEYS, LLC

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Few offenses are viewed as more heinous than rape and sexual assault. Mere accusations, no matter how false, no matter how little evidence there is, can ruin your reputation. Family members, friends, and colleagues may not lend you the support or help you deserve. While an attorney from Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC cannot replace the emotional support of loved ones, we offer experienced and skilled legal representation. We understand that this is a difficult and traumatic time for you. We can guide you through the criminal court process with compassion while aggressively defending you in court.

Our goal will always be to obtain the best possible outcome in your case. To learn how we will pursue this, contact one of our Pittsburgh sex crime lawyers online or call (412) 281-2146 to schedule a free case consultation.

Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Charges (18 Pa. Code §3124.1)

Under Pennsylvania’s penal code, sexual assault is a sexual offense other than rape (18 Pa. Code §3121) and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (18 Pa. Code §3123). Rape occurs when you perform sexual intercourse on a victim through the use of force or threats of force or when the victim is unconscious, impaired, and otherwise unable to consent. The offense of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse occurs when you perform some type of deviate sexual intercourse when the victim does not or cannot consent. This sex crime encompasses a higher number of sex acts than rape, including oral and anal sex or penetration with a foreign object. Rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse are both first-degree felonies.

Prosecutors may choose to charge you with sexual assault, a second-degree felony, if they do not have enough evidence to prove all of the necessary elements of rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, yet they have enough evidence to prove you perpetrated a sex act against one or more victims without their consent. The crime of sexual assault encompasses sexual intercourse and deviate sexual acts.

Institutional Sexual Assault (18 Pa. Code §3124.2)

You may be charged with a third-degree felony if you perform sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, or indecent contact with an inmate, detainee, patient, or resident if you are an agent or employee of:

  • Department of Corrections
  • County correctional authority
  • Youth development center
  • Youth forestry camp
  • State or county juvenile detention facility
  • Other licensed residential facility serving children and youth
  • Mental health or mental retardation facility or institution

The statute does not prohibit only non-consensual sexual activity. It bans all sexual activity between employees of these facilities and all of the youths housed in them.

Under this law, it is illegal for you as an employee of a school, volunteer at a school, or as any other person in direct contact with students at the school to engage in any indecent contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a student of that school. It is also illegal to perform a sexual act with a child of a daycare center if you work or volunteer at that facility. If there is evidence you had sexual contact with a student or child in daycare, you will be charged with a third-degree felony.

Sexual Assault by Sports Official, Volunteer or Employee of Nonprofit (18 Pa. Code §3124.3)

If you are a sports official in a non-profit or for-profit sports program or association, you may not engage in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, or indecent contact with any child under 18 years old who is participating in that program or association. Doing so will result in third-degree felony charges.

As a volunteer for a non-profit who has contact with juveniles under 18 years old, you may not participate in sexual conduct with a minor involved in the association’s programs or activities. Evidence that you performed sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, or indecent contact with a minor involved in the non-profit may lead to third-degree felony charges.

Penalties for a Sexual Assault Offense

Sexual assault is a second-degree felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison and $25,000 in fines.

Sexual assault by an institutional employee, school or daycare employee or volunteer, sports official, or non-profit employee or volunteer is a third-degree felony. If convicted you can be penalized with a maximum of seven years in prison and fines up to $15,000.

However, if you performed non-consensual sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse, you could be charged with rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. It depends on the evidence available, and the discretion of the prosecutor. For rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, you will be charged with a first-degree felony.

If you face a sexual assault accusation, you should contact a sexual assault lawyer right away for help with your case.

Sex Offender Registration

One of the worst penalties associated with sexual assault is the requirement to register as a sex offender. Sexual assault under 18 Pa. Code §3124.1 is a Tier III sexual offense. It requires registering for the rest of your life.

For institutional sexual assault, the level of the offense depends on the exact facts of the crime. Institutional sexual assault under 18 Pa. Code §3124.2(a) is a Tier I offense, which is the least serious. It only requires registration for 15 years, after which, you can apply to have your name removed from the registry. Institutional sexual assault under 18 Pa. Code §3124.2(a.2) and (a.3), relating to schools and daycares, is a Tier II offense, which requires 25-year registration. Institutional sexual assault of a minor under 18 Pa. Code §3124.2(a.1), is a Tier III offense, resulting in lifetime registration.

If you fail to register as a sex offender when required to do so, fail to provide necessary and accurate information, or fail to re-register, then you may be charged with an additional crime.

Secondary Consequences of a Sex Crime Conviction

If you are convicted of a sex offense, you will experience a number of consequences beyond incarceration, probation or paroles, fines, and sex offender registration, including:

  • Challenges being accepted to a college or graduate school
  • Difficulty obtaining private financial aid
  • Ineligibility or difficulty obtaining certain professional licenses
  • Difficulty getting and obtaining a job
  • Difficulty renting an apartment or house
  • Ineligibility for housing assistance
  • Difficulty obtaining loans, such as auto loans
  • Loss of child custody or visitation
  • Supervised visitation with your children
  • Denial of an immigration visa or citizenship
  • Deportation
  • Ineligibility to own a firearm

A Pittsburgh Sexual Assault Lawyer Can Defend You

If you have been charged with rape, involuntary sexual deviate intercourse, or sexual assault, you need to contact a lawyer immediately. You must protect yourself during a law enforcement investigation and defend yourself vigorously against these charges. At Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC, we can fight for your charges to be reduced or dropped. If the prosecution can move forward with sex crime charges against you, then we will build you a strong defense. We may argue that these charges are false accusations or there has been a mistake of identity. We may also argue that consent was present

To learn more about how a lawyer can help you, contact Worgul, Sarna & Ness, Criminal Defense Attorneys, LLC at (412) 281-2146 to schedule a no-cost appointment.

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