Pennsylvania Sexual Assault Laws
Sexual assault is a crime in Pennsylvania and is defined as a person engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with another person without their consent. The defendant may have committed statutory sexual assault if the victim was under 16 years of age, and the defendant is more than four years older than the victim, and they were not married to each other at the time of the offense.
Pennsylvania also has a separate charge titled “indecent assault.” Indecent assault is similar to sexual assault in some ways. It involves indecent contact with the victim, including the victim’s contact with the defendant’s seminal fluid, urine, or feces for the purpose of arousing sexual desire in either the victim or defendant, and it is done without the victim’s consent, forcibly or under threat of force, or performed under some severe incapacity of the victim (i.e. unconsciousness, mental incapacity, intoxication of the victim, youth of the victim).
A person commits a felony of the second degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant without the complainant’s consent.
A person is guilty of indecent assault if the person has indecent contact with the complainant, causes the complainant to have indecent contact with the person or intentionally causes the complainant to come into contact with seminal fluid, urine or feces for the purpose of arousing sexual desire in the person or the complainant and:
- the person does so without the complainant’s consent;
- the person does so by forcible compulsion;
- the person does so by threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution;
- the complainant is unconscious or the person knows that the complainant is unaware that the indecent contact is occurring;
- the person has substantially impaired the complainant’s power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the complainant, drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance;
- the complainant suffers from a mental disability which renders the complainant incapable of consent;
- the complainant is less than 13 years of age; or
- the complainant is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other.
Rape carries a severe penalty including a fine of up to $25,000, up to 20 years in prison, or both. Sexual assault is considered a second degree felony in Pennsylvania. This is punishable by up to ten years in prison. Discretionary fines may also be imposed by the court depending on the nature of the crime and its severity. In the event of insanity, the judge may recommend counseling or psychiatric treatment as necessary.
In the event that the crime is charged as an indecent assault, then the charge will be either a first or second degree misdemeanor depending on the specific nature of the offense. This can be punishable by up to five years in prison. However, if it is the defendant’s second offense or there has been a repeated course of this type of conduct, or if the assault was committed by touching the victim’s sexual parts with those of the defendant, then it can be a third degree felony. This is punishable by up to seven years in prison.