Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 in Texas
In Texas, one of the most serious offenses that a person can be charged with is Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14.
Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 carries a punishment range of 25 years to 99 years or life. To prove the assault was continuous, there must be evidence that sexual assault occurred repeatedly for a period of more than thirty days.
Elements of Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14
Texas Penal Code 21.02 lays out the elements for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child. The elements are that:
- The accused acted intentionally or knowingly;
- During a period of time that is 30 days or more in duration;
- 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;
- And at the time of each of these acts alleged victim was younger than 14 years of age.
Jurors do not have to agree on 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 under 14
This offense is considered to be a super aggravate 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.) Additionally, a subsequent conviction is punished by life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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.
Affirmative Defense to Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14
There is an affirmative defense to the charge of continuous sexual assault of a child under 17 in Texas. An affirmative defense is a defense that acknowledges the elements of the underlying offense but provides a means to avoid punishment. 21.02 (g) sets out the affirmative defense if the defendant and the alleged victim were not more than five years apart, no force or duress was used, and the defendant was not a sex offender.
Penal Code 21.02 (g) provides:
It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under this section that the actor:
(1) was not more than five years older than:
(A) the victim of the offense, if the offense is alleged to have been committed against only one victim; or
(B) the youngest victim of the offense, if the offense is alleged to have been committed against more than one victim;
(2) did not use duress, force, or a threat against a victim at the time of the commission of any of the acts of sexual abuse alleged as an element of the offense; and
(3) at the time of the commission of any of the acts of sexual abuse alleged as an element of the offense:
(A) was not required under Chapter 62, Code of Criminal Procedure, to register for life as a sex offender; or
(B) was not a person who under Chapter 62 had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an offense under this section or an act of sexual abuse as described by Subsection (c).
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 is no limitation in Texas on when a continuous sexual assault of a child allegation can be raised.
Why individuals from across the state hire Varghese Summersett PLLC for defense against sexual assault charges:
If you have been charged with Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 in Texas, call us at (817) 203-2220. While our primary office is in Fort Worth and we will meet clients in our Dallas office, we handle serious sexual assault cases throughout the state. There are a number of reasons we are a trusted name throughout the state when it comes to these charges.
- First and foremost, our senior attorneys, most notably Christy Jack and Letty Martinez, have spent a majority of their careers handling the most serious sexual offenses and violent crimes in Texas.
- Former Prosecutors: Our criminal attorneys are former Tarrant County prosecutors. We bring insights into the inner workings of the Tarrant County District Attorneys Office to the table and will use those insights to your advantage.
- Experienced Trial Attorneys: All of our criminal law attorneys have independently tried over 550 jury trials in Texas. That is far above the norm for criminal defense attorneys. We have over 50 years of criminal law experience at our firm and have tried more cases to juries than nearly any other defense firm in the area.
- Exceptional Resources: From investigators and polygraphers to forensic analysts, our firm has a wide range of resources that are available to as we work on your case, from the moment an allegation is made all the way through trial.
- Personalized Attention: We do more than give you access to our attorneys 24/7 through our secure Client Portal. We get to know you personally and represent each client with a level of attention that comes from an understanding that the criminal charges filed against are the biggest problem you are facing in your life.
Call us today to find out how our criminal defense attorneys can help you. (817) 203-2220.
Also published on Medium.