Child Sexual Abuse
Texas law defines child sexual abuse under Chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code as any harmful sexual conduct to a child’s mental, physical or emotional welfare, in addition to failure to make a reasonable effort to prevent sexual conduct with a child, and encouraging or compelling the child to engage in sexual conduct. This can include instances of fondling, lewd or lascivious exposure or behavior, intercourse, sodomy, penetration, child pornography, child prostitution and anything else that could be considered harmful to the child.
It is important to remember that allegations of child sex abuse do not have to necessarily result in a criminal conviction. The state prosecutor has the difficult burden of proving you committed every element to the offense beyond a reasonable doubt. If there is any doubt in the mind of the judge or jury you committed the offense, the charges against you may be reduced or even dismissed. Therefore, it is essential to contact an experienced sex crimes defense attorney in the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex to help you create the best legal strategy for your particular situation.
Dallas Child Sexual Abuse Lawyer
Contact Stuckle & Ferguson, PLLC for a consultation about your alleged child sex abuse offense throughout the Dallas / Fort Worth Metroplex, including the areas of Plano, Frisco, McKinney, Allen, Carrollton, Richardson, Garland, Irving, Grand Prairie, Mesquite, Denton, Lewisville, and Arlington. The attorneys of Stuckle & Ferguson are knowledgeable in all areas of Texas’ child abuse laws and will make every effort to help you avoid the most serious penalties and repercussions to your alleged offense. Contact Stuckle & Ferguson for a free consultation today at (972) 423-4405 if you have been charged with a child sexual abuse crime throughout Dallas and Fort Worth.
Dallas Child Sexual Abuse Information Center
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Child Sexual Abuse Offenses in Texas
Although child sex abuse is not specifically penalized in the Texas Statutes, an individual that has been accused of committing child sexual abuse may be charged under any of the following offenses:
Indecency with a Child – Tex. Penal Code § 21.11 – An individual can be charged with this offense if they engage in any of the following acts with a child under 17 years old:
- Sexual contact with a child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact;
- Expose the anus or any part of their genitals knowing a child is present with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person; or
- Cause the child to expose the child’s anus or any part of the child’s genitals with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desires of any person.
This offense is punishable as either a felony of the second or third degree.
Sexual Assault – Tex. Penal Code § 22.011 – An individual can be charged with child sexual assault if they intentionally or knowingly:
- Cause the penetration of a child’s anus or sex organ;
- Cause the penetration of a child’s mouth by the alleged offender’s sex organ;
- Cause a child’s sex organ to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus or sex organ of another person, including the alleged offender;
- Cause a child’s anus to contact the mouth, anus or sex organ of another person, including the alleged offender; or
- Cause a child’s mouth to contact the anus or sex organ of another person, including the alleged offender.
This offense is punishable as a felony of the first or second degree.
Aggravated Sexual Assault – Tex. Penal Code § 22.021 – An individual can be charged with aggravated child sexual assault if they commit a child sexual assault offense and:
- Cause serious bodily injury or attempt to cause the death of the victim;
- Place the victim in fear of death or serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will likely occur;
- Threaten to cause death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping of any person;
- Use or show a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense;
- Acts as an accomplice to an individual who causes the victim serious bodily injury;
- Administers GHB, roofies, rohypnol, gamma hydroxybutyrate or ketamine to the victim during the commission of the offense; or
- The child is younger than 14 years old.
This offense is punishable as a felony of the first degree.
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Sexual Contact in Dallas
Texas law defines sexual contact under Tex. Penal Code § 21.11(c) as any of the following acts, which are committed with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:
- Any touching, including through clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child; or
- Any touching of any part of a child’s body, including through clothing, with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of the alleged offender.
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Dallas Defenses to Child Sex Abuse Offenses
In certain cases, defenses may be available to allegations of child sex abuse throughout the Dallas / Fort Worth metroplex. It is important to first consult with your criminal defense lawyer to help you identify whether any of the following defenses may be applicable to your particular case.
- Mistaken Identity
Additionally, the following affirmative defenses may be available to accusations of child sex abuse:
- If the alleged offender was the spouse of the alleged victim at the time of the offense; or
- The alleged offender was not more than three years older than the alleged victim at the time of the offense, and the alleged victim was 14 years old or older, but younger than 17, and was not prohibited from marrying;
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Penalties for Child Sex Abuse in Dallas
The penalties for child sex abuse offenses are defined in Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code. Many of these penalties can vary depending on the type of offense, the age of the victim, and whether the alleged offender has a previous criminal history. The suggested statutory punishments for child sex abuse offenses in Texas are as follows:
- An individual that has been charged with a child sex abuse offense that is punishable as a felony of the first degree can face a prison sentence from five to 99 years or life imprisonment and/or a fine up to $10,000.
- An individual that has been charged with a child sex abuse offense that is punishable as a felony of the second degree can receive two to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000,
- An individual that has been charged with a child sex abuse offense that is punishable as a felony of the third degree can face a prison sentence ranging from two to ten years and/or a fine up to $10,000.
Additional consequences to a child sex abuse conviction in Texas can include:
- Requirements to register as a sex offender,
- Reputation damage and public embarrassment,
- Ineligibility to receive certain forms of governmental aid or assistance,
- Ineligibility to be admitted into certain college or graduate school programs,
- Inability to vote or own or possess a firearm,
- Inability to pursue certain occupations or professions, and/or
- A criminal record.
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Stuckle & Ferguson, PLLC | Fort Worth Child Sex Abuse Attorney
If you have been accused of a child sex abuse throughout Texas, including the areas of Collin County, Dallas County, Tarrant County, Denton County, Lubbock County, El Paso County, Bexar County, Nueces County, Webb County, Bell County, Travis County, Williamson County, Fort Bend County, Galveston County, Harris County and Montgomery County, contact Stuckle & Ferguson today. Paul Stuckle is an experienced Dallas child sex crimes lawyer who will make every effort to help you achieve the most desirable outcome for your particular situation. Contact Stuckle & Ferguson today for a free consultation at (972) 423-4405 or send an online message about your alleged child sexual abuse.