New York Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Child sexual abuse is a serious crime that can have lasting consequences for the victim. In New York, this crime is covered by a number of different sections of the Penal Law, including sections 130.65, 130.66, 130.67, 130.70, 130.75, and 263.05. Child sexual abuse can take many forms, including sexual contact, sexual conduct, and sexual performance with a child under the age of 17. These crimes are generally considered to be among the most heinous and are punished severely by the state of New York. If you are accused of child sexual abuse in New York, it is important to consult with an experienced New York child sexual abuse lawyer as soon as possible. The legal process can be complex and challenging, and it is essential to have someone on your side who understands the law and the rights of the accused.Child Sexual Abuse Charges
There are several offenses that related to sexually abusing children.
- Crime of predatory sexual assault. According to New York Penal Law §130.75 predatory sexual assault is committed when a person engages in sexual conduct with another person who is less than 13 years of age, or engages in sexual conduct with another person by the use of force, coercion or any other means that results in serious physical injury to the victim.
- Aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree. New York Penal Law §130.70. A person is guilty of aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree when they insert a foreign object in the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum or anus of another person causing physical injury to such person…(c) When the other person is less than eleven years old.
- Aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree. New York Penal Law §130.67. A person is guilty of aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree when they insert a finger in the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum or anus of another person causing physical injury to such person… (c) When the other person is less than eleven years old.
- Aggravated sexual abuse in the third degree. New York Penal Law §130.66. A person is guilty of aggravated sexual abuse in the third degree when they insert a foreign object in the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum or anus of another person…(c) When the other person is less than eleven years old.
- Sexual abuse in the first degree. New York Penal Law §130.65. Sexual contact with a victim who is under the age of 11.
While the specific sentence for a conviction of a child sexual abuse charge will depend on many factors including the specific charge, any conviction will likely result in a significant prison sentence, as well as a lifetime registration requirement as a sex offender. In addition, the defendant may also face civil lawsuits, and will likely face significant social stigma and other consequences as a result of their conviction. Thus, it you face child sexual abuse charges, it is critical to immediately contact an experienced New York child sexual abuse lawyer.Defenses
There are several possible defenses to a charge of child sexual abuse:
- False accusation: It is not uncommon for child sexual abuse charges to be based on false or exaggerated claims. In these cases, the defendant may argue that the victim's allegations are untrue or that the defendant has been wrongly accused.
- Lack of evidence: In order to secure a conviction for child sexual abuse, the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution's evidence is weak or circumstantial, the defendant may argue that the prosecution has failed to meet this standard and that the charges should be dismissed.
- Consent: While a defendant may argue that the sexual act in question was consensual, consent is not a defense. With limited exceptions, children under the age of 18 are not legally capable of giving consent to sexual activity.
- Mistaken identity: The defendant may argue that they were misidentified as the perpetrator of the sexual abuse. This can be a difficult defense to raise, as it typically requires the presentation of evidence that someone else committed the abuse.
- In People v. Beauharnois, the defendant appealed a conviction for sexual abuse, predatory sexual assault against a child, course of sexual conduct against a child, and endangering the welfare of a child. The victim, a young boy, disclosed years of sexual abuse by the defendant. The defendant challenged the credibility of the victim's testimony, arguing that the convictions were against the weight of the evidence. The court upheld the convictions, finding that while the victim's testimony had some inconsistencies, it was not inherently unbelievable, and the jury had the opportunity to assess the credibility of the witness. The court also determined that one of the charges was a lesser included offense of another, resulting in a modification of the charges. Lastly, the court found the sentences were not excessive. People v. Beauharnois, 64 A.D.3d 996 (N.Y. App. Div. 2009)
- In another case, People v. Getman, 2021 NY Slip Op 6224 (N.Y. Sup. Ct. 2021),the defendant appealed a conviction for criminal sexual act in the first degree, which was based on an indictment charging predatory sexual assault against a child. The defendant argued that the evidence was insufficient to support the conviction. The court rejected this argument, finding that there was enough evidence to establish that the defendant engaged in oral sexual conduct with a child victim, as testified by the victim and her mother. However, the court agreed with the defendant that the trial court erred in granting the prosecution's request to charge criminal sexual act in the first degree as a lesser included offense of predatory sexual assault against a child. According to the court, the statutory language and elements of the offenses did not satisfy the requirement that a lesser included offense must be impossible to commit without also committing the greater offense. Therefore, the court reversed the judgment and dismissed count one of the indictment without prejudice to the prosecution to re-present the appropriate charge to another grand jury.
New York law provides strong protections for child victims of sexual abuse. The state has implemented a number of measures to support child victims, including special evidentiary rules, mandatory reporting requirements, and special victim's advocates. If you or someone you know has been accused of sexually abusing a child, it is important to seek the help of a knowledgeable and experienced child sexual abuse attorney serving New York who can help you navigate the criminal justice system and help ensure the best possible outcome for your case. Contact Stephen Bilkis & Associates at 1-800-NY-NY-LAW (1-800-696-9529) to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in Manhattan, Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County, Westchester County, and Suffolk County.