Queens Child Molestation

Sex crimes against a child are considered among the most reprehensible crimes. Child molestation is not a specific crime defined in New York Penal Law but generally refers to any type of sex crime where a child is the victim. Examples of such crimes include: sexual assault, statutory rape, forcible touching, public lewdness, and sexual abuse. Under the New York law you will have committed a sex crime if you engage in an sex act with another person without that person's consent. Legally a child, defined as a person under the age of 17, does not have the capacity to consent to sex. This means that if you engage in a sex act with a child, even if the child appears to have consented, you will have committed child molestation and could face serious criminal charges. If convicted, not only will you likely be sent to prison, you will also have a criminal record and will be required to register as a sex offender. There are, however, many defenses to a charge of child molestation. Therefore, if you have been charged with engaging in a sex act with a child it is critical that you act quickly and contact an experienced Queens Child Molestation Lawyer who will review the facts of your case and work closely with you to develop a strong defense to fight the charges.

Types of Child Molestation

There are several sex crimes that could be classified as child molestation.

  • Public lewdness. Public lewdness involves performing a lewd or licentious act such as masturbation, usually with exposed private parts, in the presence of a child. It is Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 245.00. The maximum possible sentence is 3 months in jail.

  • Forcible touching. Forcible touching of a child involves touching a child's intimate parts either to degrade or abuse the child, or for sexual gratification. It is a Class A misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.52. The maximum possible sentence is 1 year in jail.

  • Rape in the third degree. Rape in the third degree involves having sexual intercourse with a minor who is under 17 years old, and you are at least 21 years old. It is a Class E felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.25. The maximum possible sentence is 4 years in prison.

  • Rape in the second degree. Rape in the second degree is the charge you will face if you are at least 18 years old and have sexual intercourse with a minor who is less than 15 years old. For this charge you also must be 4 or more years older than the child. It is a Class D felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.30. The maximum possible sentence is 7 years in prison.

  • Rape in the first degree. Rape in the first degree involves 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 you will also be charged with rape in the first degree. It is a Class B felony. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.35. The maximum possible sentence is 25 years in prison.

  • Criminal sexual act in the third degree. Criminal sexual act in the third degree is similar to rape in the third degree. However, instead of sexual intercourse, it involves 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 maximum possible sentence is 4 years in prison.

  • Criminal sexual act is the second degree. The severity of the crime of criminal sexual act will be raised to criminal sexual act in the second degree if you are at least 18 years old and have oral or anal sex with a minor 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 maximum possible sentence is 7 years in prison.

  • Criminal sexual act in the first degree. Criminal sexual act in the first degree is the most serious criminal sexual act offense. It involves having oral or anal sex with a child who is younger than 11 years old. You could also face this charge 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 maximum possible sentence is 25 years in prison.

  • Sexual abuse in the third degree. Sexual abuse in the third degree involves having sexual contact with a child who is 15 or 16 years old and you are at least 5 years older than that child. Sexual contact is defined as touching the intimate sexual parts of another person for the purpose of sexual gratification. Sexual abuse in third degree is a Class B misdemeanor. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.55. The possible sentence is up to 3 months in jail.

  • Sexual abuse in the second degree. Sexual abuse in the second degree is similar to third degree sexual abuse. However, the child involved must be 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. For a sexual abuse in the first degree charge, the child must be 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. Sexual misconduct is not a felony but a misdemeanor. It involves having oral sex, anal sex, or sexual intercourse with a child who is less than 17 years old. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.20. Because it is a Class A misdemeanor the maximum possible sentence is 1 year in jail.

  • Course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree. You will face a course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree charge 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. Another criteria for this charge is 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 maximum possible sentence is 7 years in prison.

  • Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree. This charge is similar to the second degree charge, except the sexual conduct must involve sexual intercourse, oral sex, anal sex, or aggravated sexual conduct. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.75. Because this crime is a Class B felony, the maximum possible sentence is 25 years in prison.

  • Predatory sexual assault against a child. You will face a charge of 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. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.96. As it is a Class A-II felony if convicted you will be sentenced to at least 10 years in prison and up to 25 years.

Defenses to a Child Molestation Charge

Because there are so many different crimes that could be classified as child molestation, there are many possible defenses to a child molestation charge. Two defenses that are mentioned in the sex crimes statute include the Romeo and Juliet defense and the marriage defense.

  • Romeo and Juliet Defense. Most New York sex crime statutes specifically carve out exceptions to the applicability of the statute where the people involved in the sex act are close in age and the sex is otherwise consensual, even if one of the participants is a minor. This so-called Romeo and Juliet exception is meant to protect people who are close in age from being charged with certain sex crimes.

  • Marriage defense. There are instances in which minors get married. If a minor is married and has sex with his or her spouse, the older spouse cannot be charged with a sex crime based on having marital sex. N.Y. Pen. Law § 130.10

Neither the Romeo and Juliet defense or the marriage defense will protect you if lack of consent is based on the use of physical force.

Sex Offender Registration

If you are convicted of almost any child molestation charge you will have to registration and verification requirements of the New York 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, aliases, home address, name of school and its address, photograph and online indentifying information such as email address and screen names. 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 either 20 years or for the rest of your life.

Since the mere accusation of child molestation could damage your personal relationships and professional reputation, if you are facing a sex crime charge based on accusations of child molestation you should immediately consult an experienced Queens 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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