Sexual misconduct is a term used to describe various sexual behaviors that are illegal under California law. They include quid pro quo harassment, child sexual abuse, sexual intimidation, indecent exposure sexual assault, among others.
It is important to understand what is meant by sexual misconduct. It can help you recognize it in your day-to-day life and avoid being wrongly accused.
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How California Law Defines Sex Crimes
A sex crime is any behavior that involves touching any part of the body such as the buttocks, genitals, breasts or anus without consent. The circumstances under which the contact took place and the type of contact also play an important role in determining whether or not a sex crime has been committed.
For example, if you’re in a restaurant and a waiter accidentally touches your breasts while walking by, that doesn’t qualify as a sex crime under California law. However, if another server intentionally reaches out to touch your breasts, it is a sexual offense.
A sex crimes attorney can help you understand the different types of sex crimes in California and how they are handled by the courts.
Examples of criminal sexual offenses include intentionally fondling a stranger’s breasts without their consent and touching someone’s bottom without their consent.
The penalty for such a form of offense that does not involve unlawful duress is six months in county jail with a fine of up to $2,000. The fine can be up to $3,000 if the accused was the victim’s employer.
Examples of a crime include:
- Make a mentally handicapped person masturbate in front of you
- Forcibly hold a person down and kiss them or take their clothes off
- Male doctor convinces female patient to allow him to feel her breast for sexual arousal or gratification
This type of sexual offense has various penalties. If classified as a misdemeanor, the accused could be sentenced to up to one year in a county jail and fined approximately $2,000. In the event of a crime, the defendant can be sentenced to a prison term of up to four years and a fine of up to $10,000.
Sexual harassment is a broad term that can mean many things. The term is generally categorized into two under California law.
Quid Pro Quo Harassment
This typically occurs in a work setting where a supervisor, directly or indirectly, forces subordinate staff to submit to sexual cooperation to avoid being demoted or fired. For example, a manager cannot ask an employee to sleep with him to avoid being fired.
Hostile work environment
This form of behavior does not necessarily involve sexual advances. This usually manifests as gender-based harassment. This is where individuals are discriminated against because of their sex. This may include the use of degrading comments about bodies, crude sexual jokes or sexist remarks. Such actions are categorized as sexual harassment since they are sexual.
child sexual abuse
Pedophilia is taken very seriously in the State of California. As such, anyone found guilty of such crimes is subject to severe penalties. Sexual offenses against children include the following:
- Internet sex crimes against minors
- Lascivious or lewd acts with a child
- Oral coitus with a child
- Ongoing sexual abuse of a child
- child prostitution
- Kidnapping a child for sexual abuse
- Child pornography
Statute of limitations for sexual assault claims in California
The time frame for filing a sexual assault complaint varies depending on whether the victim is a child or an adult. If the assault happened on or after the victim’s 18th birthday, they must file their complaint within 10 years of the incident. They must also file a claim within three years of the victim discovering an illness or injury resulting from the sexual act.
Seek legal representation
If you have been charged with a sex crime in California, contact an attorney immediately. A sex crimes lawyer will provide legal support to clients and help protect their rights during court proceedings.
A law graduate, Mark Scott understood early on that legal communication was a relatively neglected area. He decided to help people by “translating” the language and offering information and advice in a clear, useful and practical way. For this reason, instead of finding him in court, you will most likely find his name online, where he is very active and successful as a legal columnist. His part in making the world a better place is to make the law a less complicated maze. It aims to make it easier for people to understand when and how to consult a lawyer, how to proceed in a large number of legal cases and find the appropriate resources to defend their rights.