continuous sexual assault child

Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child | Penal Code § 21.02

 Continuous Sexual Assault Child in Texas

In the simplest terms, Continuous Sexual Assault Child is an allegation that a person sexually assaulted a child or children under the age of 14 and at least two of the acts took place at least 30 days apart.

A charge of continuous sexual assault of a child under 14 is the most serious offense an individual can be charged with outside of capital murder, which is why you should call us immediately if you have been charged with this offense or if a detective is trying to speak to you.

Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 carries a punishment range of 25 years to 99 years or life in prison without the possibility for parole. To prove the assault was continuous, there must be evidence that sexual assault occurred repeatedly for a period of more than 30 days.

Investigations of Continuous Sexual Abuse

Once an outcry has been made, Child Protective Services (CPS) is likely the first agency that is going to reach out to you, although occasionally first contact is made by a detective. It is imperative that you do not speak to either of them and contact us immediately instead. Even if you are innocent of the charges against you, nothing good is going to come out of your conversation with CPS or law enforcement. You also need to talk to us about what your lack of cooperation will mean in regards to your own kids and your day to day life.

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If you are reading this article after you have already talked to an agent, contact us to discuss the road ahead, what to expect, and the possible outcomes of your case. We will also help you prepare for the arrest, arraignment, and bond process.

Elements of Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child in Texaswhat you need to know

Texas Penal Code 21.02 lays out the elements for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child. The elements are that:

  1. The accused acted intentionally or knowingly;
  2. During a period of time that is 30 days or more in duration;
  3. The accused committed two or more of the following acts of sexual abuse  (does not have to be the same victim):
    • Indecency with a child by contact with genitals or anus (not breast)
    • Sexual assault
    • Aggravated sex assault
    • Aggravated kidnapping with intent to violate or abuse the victim sexually
    • Burglary of habitation with intent to commit a sexual offense
    • Sexual performance of a child;
  4. And at the time of each of these acts alleged victim was younger than 14 years of age.

It’s important to point out that jurors do not have to agree that the same acts of sexual abuse occurred. The jury must unanimously agree that at least any two acts of sexual abuse alleged in the indictment occurred. The State can also allege the abuse involved different victims.

Punishment Range for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child

This offense is considered to be a super aggravated offense. The punishment range is 25 to 99 years or life in prison. Unlike even regular aggravated offenses, there is no early release for a person who is found guilty to Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child. (Generally, for aggravated offenses a person is eligible for parole in half time, and for non-aggravated offenses, a person is eligible for parole in quarter time.) A second conviction is punished by life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A jury deliberating on this offense does not need to agree on:

  • the specific acts that make up the two offenses more than 30 days apart; or
  • if more than one victim is alleged that both victims were abused, so long as the elements of the offense are met;
  • the specific acts that constituted sexual assault.

It is worth noting that probation is not an option because the minimum sentence is 25 years and only sentences of 10 years or less may be probated. Statutorily, deferred adjudication is also not available for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child in Texas. More specifically, pursuant to Texas Penal Code Ann. § 21.02(h), the minimum punishment for continuous sexual abuse of a child is 25 years. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42.12, § 4(d)(1), a defendant is not eligible for jury recommended community supervision if the defendant is sentenced to a term of imprisonment that exceeds 10 years.

OffensePunishment RangeStatute of LimitationsSex Offender RegistrationDeferredProbation
Continuous Sexual Assault PC 21.0225-99/LifeNoneLifetimeNo.No.

Collateral Consequences of a Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child Conviction

Although compared to a minimum of 25 years in prison, the collateral consequences of a continuous sexual assault sentence may seem ancillary, understand that this charge also requires the defendant to register as a sex offender for life. 

Defenses to Continous Sexual Abuse Allegations

There are a number of defenses to Continuous Sexual Abuse charges. First and foremost, attacking the credibility of the allegations. This includes the outcry statement and statements obtained by CPS. We will investigate biases and any reasons to lie, including coaching, recent discipline, transference, and recent issues with the other parent, including divorce proceedings. Our attorneys have handled a large number of these cases, both in pre-trial and trial settings. Call today to find out how we can help.

Limitations of Prosecutions for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child

Penal  Code Section 21.02 went into effect on September 1, 2007, and only offenses that took place after that date can be prosecuted under this section. See Flores v. State, 13-12-00606-CR (Tex. App. Apr. 17, 2014).

Statute of Limitations for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child

Pursuant to Penal Code 12.01, there is no limitation in Texas on when a continuous sexual assault of a child allegation can be raised.

Contact us

Call us at (817) 203-2220 for a complimentary strategy session. Our team of former prosecutors and experienced sexual assault lawyers are here to help. During this call we will:

  • Discuss the facts of your case;
  • Discuss the legal issues involved, including the direct and collateral consequences of the allegation; and
  • Discuss the defenses that apply to your plan and in general terms discuss our approach to your case.

You can also contact us online:

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Why Varghese Summersett

Why do individuals from across the state hire Varghese Summersett PLLC for defense against sexual assault charges?

  • Individualized Attention: We understand that clients who hire us are coming to us with the biggest problems in their lives, and we treat their problems with the care and attention warranted by the problem. We seek out the best outcomes by over-preparing, finding weaknesses in the State’s case, through careful negotiations and, when necessary, trial.
  • Exceptional Experience: We’ve handled hundreds of sex crime charges. All of our partners are former prosecutors. We not only know the State’s playbook, in many cases we helped write it. We have over half a century of experience handling criminal cases, and we are ready to put our experience to work for you.
  • Proven Results: We know you have a lot of options to chose from. We have more five-star reviews than any other defense firm in North Texas. Our results and reviews speak for themselves. Recent Results.
  • Time is of the Essence: As former prosecutors, we know the best results go to the most proactive attorneys. Call us today at (817) 203-2220 or contact us online to find out how you can get started with our firm.

Affirmative Defense


Benson Varghese

Managing Partner at Varghese Summersett PLLC
Benson Varghese is the founder and Managing Partner of Varghese Summersett PLLC. He is a prolific writer and has authored hundreds of articles about criminal law in Texas and at the Federal level. His articles have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Above the Law, and have been selected as Top Blogs by the State Bar of Texas. He was named the Young Lawyer of the Year in 2019 by the Tarrant County Bar Association. Benson led the firm to become one of the 500 fastest growing businesses in the United States by Inc 500 Magazine in 2018. In the same year, the firm was named the Best Law Firm in Fort Worth by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The lawyers at Varghese Summersett PLLC exclusively handle criminal defense matters.
Benson Varghese