Few issues enrage the public more than sexual abuse or misconduct with a minor. It’s why Arizona law enforcement and state prosecutors pursue abusers so aggressively. But, not all allegations of such crimes are as straightforward as they sound. Kids sometimes tell lies or confuse fantasy with reality. But, if the allegations are true, then the offender faces the full force of the law. Sexual misconduct with a minor is a heinous crime. It is also a designated first-degree crime in many states in the country.
Arizona Revised Statutes 13-1405 provides a definition of sexual misconduct with a minor. It is either intentionally or consciously engaging in oral sex or intercourse with any person under 18. Inappropriate touching of a child’s breasts may also result in sexual misconduct charges. It can be very harmful to anyone under 18. Engaging in sexual activities with a child under 15 years of age is considered a class 2 felony. Sexual misconduct with a minor who is 15 years or more is considered a class 6 felony.
Consequences of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor
Let’s say an adult intentionally engages in sexual activities with an individual under 15. The adult can face class 2 felony charges according to the Arizona revised statutes 13-1405. If the minor is 15 years or more, the adult will face class 6 felony charges. For such an offense, the punishment ranges from probation to 2-year prison sentence. The conviction requires the adult to register as a sex offender. It also may prevent him from having any contact with people under 18. This includes his own kids.
Let’s say the adult is the child’s stepparent, parent, teacher, foster parent, legal guardian, adoptive parent, priest, or clergyman. If the child is 15 years or older, the adult will face class 2 felony charges. This offense carries a minimum of 3 years and 12.5 years maximum. The adult should also register as a sex offender. For a class 2 felony, the adult faces a maximum of a 27-year prison sentence. Let’s say the adult is charged with multiple counts of sexual misconduct with minors. Each sentence must run consecutively into the other.
Thus, the adult will be charged with separate counts of sexual misconduct or harassment with a minor. He or she must face a mandatory sentence of 26 to 54 years in prison. If the minor is under 12, oral sex or penetration carry a life sentence for the perpetrator. The adult will only be eligible for parole after serving for 35 years.
Avoiding Conviction of Sexual Misconduct with a Minor
A recent Supreme Court ruling pertained to the case of Jerry Charles Holle. His 11-year-old granddaughter told her friend, and then the police, that he had inappropriately kissed her. It spurred a lot of curiosity across the state. The state charged Jerry with three different crimes. They were sexual misconduct with a minor under 15 years, sexual abuse, and child molestation.
An experienced criminal defense attorney can assist you in properly navigating a sexual misconduct allegation.