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NY Penal Law § 130.53: Persistent Sexual Abuse

Under New York Penal Code § 130.53 you have committed persistent sexual abuse (link to: if you commit forcible touching, sexual abuse in the third degree or sexual abuse in the second degree and have also been convicted of these same crimes or any other felony sex crime at least 2 times within the previous 10 years. Forcible touching, sexual abuse in the third degree and sexual abuse in the second degree are all misdemeanor sex crimes. The impact of having 3 misdemeanor sex crime convictions in the space of 10 years is that with the 3rd conviction, you can be charged with persistent sexual abuse, a felony.


A man grabs the buttocks of a stranger while standing on a subway platform. He is convicted of forcible touching. Four years later the same man kisses a 13 year old minor on the lips while rubbing her breasts. He is convicted of sexual abuse in the third degree. Three years later, the same man again grabs the buttocks of a stranger while standing on a subway platform. After this incident the prosecutor could charge the man with felony persistent sexual abuse since the man had already been convicted of forcible touching and sexual abuse in the third degree.

Related offenses
  1. Forcible touching: New York Penal Code § 130.52
  2. Sexual abuse in the third degree: New York Penal Code § 130.55
  3. Sexual abuse in the second degree: New York Penal Code § 130.60

A defense to a charge of course of persistent sexual abuse would involve challenging the underlying criminal charge. Since lack of consent is an element of forcible touching or sexual abuse in second or third degree, if you can show that the other person consented, then that would be a defense to forcible touching or sexual abuse. The prosecutor would then have a difficult time prosecuting you for persistent sexual abuse. For forcible touching intent must also be shown. If you touched the other person by accident, then you did not have the requisite intent and a charge of forcible touching will not be supported. Oftentimes forcible touching occurs in a crowded space such as a bar or a party. Thus, it may be easy for the victim to misidentify you as the perpetrator. Mistaken identity may be a valid defense.


If you are convicted of persistent sexual abuse you could be sentenced to up to 4 years in prison as it is a class E felony. If this is your first felony offense, the judge may sentence you to significantly less prison time than 4 years. The judge may even sentence you to 10 years of probation.

The consequences of a conviction for persistent sexual abuse does not end after a prison term or after a probation sentence. Persistent sexual abuse like most other sex crimes is a "registrable" offense. This means that if convicted you will be a registered sex offender under New York Correction Law § 168, also known as the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA). The registration requirement will last for from 20 years to the rest of your life.

New York Penal Code § 130.53: Persistent Sexual Abuse

A person is guilty of persistent sexual abuse when he or she commits the crime of forcible touching, as defined in § 130.52 of this article, sexual abuse in the third degree, as defined in § 130.55 of this article, or sexual abuse in the second degree, as defined in § 130.60 of this article, and, within the previous ten year period, excluding any time during which such person was incarcerated for any reason, has been convicted two or more times, in separate criminal transactions for which sentence was imposed on separate occasions, of forcible touching, as defined in § 130.52 of this article, sexual abuse in the third degree as defined in § 130.55 of this article, sexual abuse in the second degree, as defined in § 130.60 of this article, or any offense defined in this article, of which the commission or attempted commission thereof is a felony.

Contact the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates

The consequences of being convicted of any sex crime are serious. However, if you are determined to be a repeat offender, the consequences are even more harsh. This is why it is crucial to have someone who is knowledgeable about the New York criminal justice system support and guide you from the beginning of the case until it is resolved. The staff at the Law Offices of Stephen Bilkis & Associates has years of experience successfully defending clients in New York criminal courts who have been charged with sex crimes such as aggravated sexual abuse, criminal sexual act in the first degree as well as other sex crimes such as sexual misconduct, criminal sexual act, forcible touching, sexual abuse, sexual conduct against child, female genital mutilation, and facilitating a sexual offense with a controlled substance. Contact us at 800.696.9529 to schedule a free, no obligation consultation regarding your case. We represent clients in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Long Island, Manhattan, Nassau County, Queens, Staten Island, Suffolk County and Westchester County.

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