Nassau County Child Molestation

"Child molestation" is a phrase used to describe a sex crime where a minor is the victim. In the New York criminal code there are over 20 sex crimes. Child molestation could refer to misdemeanors such as public lewdness or forcible touching. It could also refer to sex crimes that are felonies such as rape, criminal sexual act, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, course of sexual conduct against a child, or predatory sexual assault. For purposes of sex crimes, a child or minor is defined as a person who is under the age of 17. With a few exceptions, under the law such a person does not have the ability to consent to sex. Thus, if you engage in a sex act with a child, even if the child appears to have consented or even if the child initiated the act, you will have committed child molestation and could face serious criminal charges. If convicted, not only will you face the possibility of spending several years in prison, you will end up with a criminal record and you will be required to register as a sex offender. However, just because you have been accused of molesting a child does not mean that you will be convicted of the charge as there are defenses to a charge of child molestation. Therefore, if you have been accused of engaging in a sex act with a child, it is important that you should immediately contact an experienced Nassau County Child Molestation Lawyer who will review the facts of your case and aggressively defend you from the beginning of your case until it is resolved.

What are the different types of child molestation?

There are several crimes that could form the basis of a child molestation crime.

  • Public lewdness
    • Performing a lewd or licentious act such as masturbation, usually with exposed private parts, in the presence of a child. For example, in People v. Falcone, 2015 NY Slip Op 50664(U) (January 26, 2015), the defendant was charged with public lewdness and several other charges. Falcone was observed exposing his penis in the presence of 3 children ages 9, 10 and 11.
    • It is Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 245.00. The possible sentence is up to 3 months in jail.
  • Forcible touching
    • Touching a child's intimate parts either to degrade or abuse the child, or for sexual gratification. In People v. Foulkes, 986 N.Y.S.2d 634 (2014), 26-year old defendant Kenneth Foulkes was charged with forcible touching as well as other sex crimes after sucking the breasts of a 15 year old girl and putting her hand on his erect penis through his clothing.
    • It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.52. The possible sentence is up to 1 year in jail.
  • Rape in the third degree
    • If you are at least 21 years old and have sexual intercourse with a child who is less than 17 years old.
    • It is a Class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.25. The possible sentence is up to 4 years in prison.
  • Rape in the second degree
    • If you are at least 18 years old and have sexual intercourse with a child who is less than 15 years old. For this charge you also must be four or more years older than the child.
    • It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.30. The possible sentence is up to 7 years in prison.
  • Rape in the first degree
    • Having sexual intercourse with a child who is age 11 or younger
    • If you are at least 18 years old and have sexual intercourse with a child who is less than 13 years old.
    • It is a Class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.35. The possible sentence is up to 25 years in prison.
  • Criminal sexual act in the third degree.
    • Having oral or anal sex with a child who is younger than 17 years old.
    • It is Class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.40. The possible sentence is up to 4 years in prison.
  • Criminal sexual act is the second degree.
    • If you are at least 18 years old and have oral or anal sex with a child who is less than 13 years old, or you are at least 4 years older than the victim.
    • It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.45. The possible sentence is up to 7 years in prison.
  • Criminal sexual act in the first degree.
    • Having oral or anal sex with a child who is younger than 11 years old.
    • If you are at least 18 years old and have oral or anal sex with a child who is younger than 13 years old.
    • It is a Class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.50. The possible sentence is up to 25 years in prison.
  • Sexual abuse in the third degree.
    • Having sexual contact with a child who is 15 or 16 years old and you are at least 5 years older than that child.
    • It is a Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.55. The possible sentence is up to 3 months in jail.
    • Sexual contact is defined as touching the intimate sexual parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification.
  • Sexual abuse in the second degree.
    • If you have sexual contact with a child who is less than 14 years old.
    • It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.60. The possible sentence is up to 1 year in jail.
  • Sexual abuse in the first degree.
    • If you have sexual contact with a child who is less than 11 years old.
    • It is Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.65. The possible sentence is up to 7 years in prison.
  • Sexual misconduct.
    • Having oral sex, anal sex, or sexual intercourse with a child who is less than 17 years old.
    • It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.20. The possible sentence is up to 1 year in jail.
  • Course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree.
    • If over a period of at least 3 months you engage in at least 2 instances of sexual conduct with a child who is less than 11 years old.
    • If you are at least 18 years old and over a period of at least 3 months you engage in at least 2 instances of sexual conduct with a child who is less than 13 years old.
    • It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.80. The possible sentence is up to 7 years in prison.
  • Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree.
    • If over a period of at least 3 months you engage in at least 2 instances of sexual conduct with a child who is less than 11 years old. The sexual conduct must involve sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or aggravated sexual conduct.
    • If you are at least 18 years old and over a period of at least 3 months you engage in at least 2 instances of sexual conduct with a minor who is less than 13 years old. The sexual conduct must involve sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or aggravated sexual conduct.
    • It is a Class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.75. The possible sentence is up to 25 years in prison.
  • Predatory sexual assault against a child.
    • If you cause physical injury or use the threat of physical injury while committing rape in the first degree, criminal sexual act in the first degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree, or course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree and you are at least 18 years old and the victim is under 13 years old.
    • It is a Class A-II felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.96. The possible sentence is a minimum of 10 years in prison and a maximum of 25 years.
Defenses to a Child Molestation Charge

There are two statutory defenses that apply to most child molestation charges: the Romeo and Juliet defense and the marriage defense.

Romeo and Juliet Defense. Most sex crime statutes specifically carve out exceptions to the applicability of the statute where the adult and minor involved in the sex act are close in age and the sex is otherwise consensual. This so-called Romeo and Juliet exception is meant to protect such people from being charged with certain sex crimes, even though at least one of the people involved is a minor. The Romeo and Juliet exception is not relevant if you have sex with a minor by using physical force, the threat of death, injury or kidnapping, or if the minor is physically helpless, mentally disabled or mentally incapacitated.

Marriage defense. In cases where you and the child are legally married and the child molestation charge is based on lack of consent due to age, the marriage defense would apply as a valid defense against a charge of child molestation. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.10. Like the Romeo and Juliet defense, the marriage defense will not shield you from prosecution if you have sex with a minor by using physical force, the threat of death, injury or kidnapping, or if the minor is physically helpless, mentally disabled or mentally incapacitated.

Consequences of a child molestation conviction

The consequences of being convicted of a child molestation sex crime include prison, probation, a fine, and restitution. You also may be required to register as a sex offender and you will have a permanent criminal record.

Prison. If you are convicted of a misdemeanor sex crime, the maximum sentence of incarceration that you could receive is 1 year in the county jail. If you are convicted of a felony sex crime, depending on whether the crime is a Class E, D, C, B or A-II felony, your prison sentence could be anywhere from 1 year to life. In addition to the classification of the crime, your prison sentence will depend largely on the aggravating factor of whether you have been convicted of any felonies within the last 10 years. If you do have a prior conviction, you will be sentenced to more time in prison then if this is your first offense.

Probation and Post-Release Supervision. Particularly if you are convicted of a misdemeanor and it is your first offense, all or part of your sentence may be probation. As a type of community supervision probation comes with a number of rules and restrictions that you will be required to follow or risk being sent to prison. N.Y. Pen. Law § 65.10. The rules are that you must:

  • Avoid injurious or vicious habits
  • Refrain from frequenting unlawful or disreputable places
  • Refrain from consorting with disreputable persons
  • Have a job or be enrolled in school
  • Undergoing available medical or psychiatric treatment and remaining in a specified institution, when required for that purpose
  • Complete an alcohol or substance abuse program, if ordered by the court
  • Support your family
  • Pay restitution
  • Perform community service
  • Post bond or other security for the performance of any or all conditions imposed;
  • Install an ignition interlock device on any vehicle that you use
  • Refrain from consuming alcohol
  • Regularly report to your Probation Officer
  • Obtain permission before traveling or moving outside of New York
  • Notify your Probation Officer if you move or change employment
  • Submit to electronic monitoring

N.Y. Pen. Law § 65.10.

After serving the majority of your prison time you may have to serve a period of post-release supervision as part of your sentence. Post-release supervision is similar to probation. You will be required to follow rules that are similar to probation rules. You will be supervised by the Division of Parole.

If you violate any of the terms of your probation or post-release supervision, you would be sent to jail.

Financial consequences. In addition to being sent to prison, as part of your sentence the judge may order you to pay fines, fees, and restitution. For a felony the fine would be up to $5,000, while for a misdemeanor offense the fine would be up to $1,000. Fees include a "mandatory surcharge" of $175-$300 as well as a victim assistance fee of $25. N.Y. Pen. Law § 60.35. If your sentence includes probation you will be required to pay a monthly supervision fee of $30. There are also fees associated with sex offender registration.

The amount of restitution you may be ordered to pay will be based on the losses suffered by the victim such as medical bills. Generally, the maximum amount of restitution is $10,000 for a misdemeanor and $15,000 for a felony. Furthermore, you will also have to pay a fee to the company charged with collecting the restitution from you.

Failure to pay a fine, fee or restitution may result in you being charged with yet another crime that could mean a year in prison. However, the court may lower the amount of restitution or modify payment terms if you show the court an inability to pay.

Long-Term Consequences. Being convicted of a sex crime will result in you having a criminal record. While your prison sentence, probation term and post-release supervision term will all end, and you will be able to eventually pay off your financial obligations, a criminal record will remain with you for the rest of your life. Here are a few ways that having a criminal record will impact your life:

  • Difficulty in finding a job, as many employers will resist hiring someone with a violent criminal past
  • Barred from certain professions such as teaching and practicing law
  • Ineligible for certain government benefits such as welfare and federally-funded housing
  • If you are not a citizen you may be subject to deportation under federal law
  • Barred from serving on a jury
  • Barred from owning a gun

Sex Offender Registration. If you are convicted of most child molestation charges, you will have to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). SORA requires offenders who are convicted of registrable offenses to register with a designated law enforcement agency details such as name, home address, photograph and online indentifying information such as email address and screen names. This information be put into a special database. You will have to regularly verify and update this information. In some cases your sex offender registration information will be available to the public. Under SORA you will have to register for at least 20 years and perhaps for the rest of your life.

Since the mere accusation of child molestation could damage your personal and professional reputations, if you are facing a sex crime charge based on accusations of child molestation you should immediately consult an experienced Nassau County Child Molestation Lawyer. The staff at Stephen Bilkis & Associates, PLLC has years of experience successfully representing clients in New York criminal courts who were accused of child molestation, statutory rape, child sexual assault, sex with a minor, public lewdness, indecent exposure, endangering the welfare of a child as well as other serious crimes. Contact us at 1.800.NY.NY.LAW (1.800.696.9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We serve those accused of sex crimes in the following locations:

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