Statutory Rape

Statutory Rape

Texas does not have a statutory rape law or even a statute addressing the crime of rape and these types of offenses are instead prosecuted as sexual assault. In many statutory rape cases, the issue concerns the consent of an alleged victim who is usually of an age that does not allow them to legally consent to any sexual activity.

A statutory rape allegation can have profound impact on the life of an alleged offender, and it is not uncommon for people to be accused of this crime for sexual encounters they believed were consensual and legal. All statutory rape allegations need to be taken seriously because certain people could be subject to increased penalties for certain violations.


Dallas Statutory Rape Attorney

Were you or your loved one arrested or do you think that you could be under investigation for an alleged statutory rape in Dallas? You will want to contact Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy as soon as possible.

Our firm can fight to possibly get your criminal charges reduced or dismissed. We will explore all of your legal options with you when you call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to set up a free consultation.

Statutory Rape Charges in Texas

Texas Penal Code § 22.011 is the state sexual assault law and Texas Penal Code § 22.011(c)(1) defines a child as a person younger than 17 years of age. The name statutory rape is derived from the fact that a child is statutorily incapable of consenting to sexual activity.

Under Texas Penal Code § 22.011(a)(1), a person commits sexual assault if they intentionally or knowingly:

cause the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means;
cause the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the alleged offender; or
cause the sexual organ of another person to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender

Texas Penal Code § 22.011(a)(2) further specifies that a person commits sexual assault if, regardless of whether they know the age of a child at the time of an alleged offense, the alleged offender intentionally or knowingly:

causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the alleged offender;
causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender;
causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender; or
causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the alleged offender.

Sexual assault is commonly a second-degree felony. Sexually assaulting an alleged victim less than 14 years of age can constitute aggravated sexual assault, which is a first-degree felony. Other criminal charges can also be possible in statutory rape cases.

Some people could be charged with continuous sexual abuse of young child or children, which involves an alleged offender committing two or more acts of sexual abuse, regardless of whether the acts of sexual abuse are committed against one or more victims, during a period that is 30 or more days in duration, and at the time of the commission of each of the acts of sexual abuse, the alleged offender was 17 years of age or older and the alleged victim was a child younger than 14 years of age, regardless of whether the actor knows the age of the victim at the time of the offense. Continuous sexual abuse of young child or children can be a first-degree felony.

Texas Penal Code § 21.02(c) defines “act of sexual abuse” as any act that is a violation of one or more of the following penal laws:

Aggravated kidnapping under Texas Penal Code § 20.04(a)(4), if the alleged offender committed the offense with the intent to violate or abuse the alleged victim sexually;
Indecency with a child under Texas Penal Code § 21.11(a)(1), if the alleged offender committed the offense in a manner other than by touching, including touching through clothing, the breast of a child;
Sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.011;
Aggravated sexual assault under Texas Penal Code § 22.021;
Burglary under Texas Penal Code § 30.02, if the offense is punishable under Subsection (d) of that section and the actor committed the offense with the intent to commit an offense listed in Subdivisions (1)-(4);
Sexual performance by a child under Texas Penal Code § 43.25;
Trafficking of persons under Texas Penal Code § 20A.02(a)(7) or (8); and
Compelling prostitution under Texas Penal Code § 43.05(a)(2).

A person could also be charged with indecency with a child under Texas Penal Code § 21.11(a), if the alleged offender:

engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact; or
with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, exposes the alleged offender’s anus or any part of their genitals, knowing the child is present, or causes the child to expose the child’s anus or any part of the child’s genitals.

Under Texas Penal Code § 21.11(c), “sexual contact” is defined as the following acts, if committed with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:

any touching by a person, including touching through clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child; or
any touching of any part of the body of a child, including touching through clothing, with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a person.

Engaging in sexual contact with the child or causing a child to engage in sexual contact is asecond-degree felony. Exposing the anus or genitals or causing the child to expose their anus or genitals is a third-degree felony.

Statutory Rape Penalties in Dallas

Most statutory rape crimes are felont offenses, and the possible punishment ranges can vary depending on the specific grade of felony you are charged with. The maximum allowable sentences in these cases are as follows:

Third-Degree Felony — Up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
Second-Degree Felony — Up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000
First-Degree Felony — Up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000

Even when a person fulfills their prison sentence, they can still be required to register as a sex offender in Texas. While this requirement may only be imposed for a limited amount of time in some cases, this can be a lifetime requirement for certain alleged offenders.

Statutory Rape Defenses in Texas

Texas Penal Code § 22.011(e) establishes that it is an affirmative defense to prosecution under Texas Penal Code § 22.011(a)(2) that the alleged offender was the spouse of the child at the time of the offense. It is also an affirmative defense that the alleged offender was not more than three years older than the alleged victim and at the time of the offense was not required to register for life as a sex offender or was not a person who had a reportable conviction or adjudication for a sex offense, and the alleged victim was a child of 14 years of age or older and was not a person whom the alleged offender was prohibited from marrying or purporting to marry or with whom the actor was prohibited from living under the appearance of being married.

Texas Government Code § 501.061 does establish regulations relating to an orchiectomy (castration) performed on an inmate, but it should be noted that these procedures cannot be used to replace or reduce any punishment ordered by law. While a mistake of age is not a valid defense against statutory rape charges in Texas, an attorney can help defend a person who simply was not aware that they engaged in sexual relations with a minor.

Dallas County Statutory Rape Resources

Statutory Rape: A Guide to State Laws and Reporting Requirements — View a December 2004 report prepared for the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, Department of Health and Human Services. The report covers different criminal laws and reporting requirements for states as well as child abuse reporting requirements. As the report notes, sexual acts with children less than 17 years of age and at least 14 years of age are illegal in Texas when an alleged offender  is more than three years older than the victim, but sexual intercourse with someone who is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age is legal when a person is less than 10 years older than the alleged victim.

Exploring Community Responses to Statutory Rape | Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE) — View a September 2006 report prepared for the ASPE and Department of Health and Human Services. The report found that nearly three-quarters of young women who had intercourse before age 14, and 60 percent who did so before age 15, reported having a forced sexual experience. Half of children born to minors are fathered by adult men, and sexual partners of these adolescents are often three to six years older.

Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy | Dallas Statutory Rape Lawyer

If you or your loved one think that you might be under investigation or you were already arrested for an alleged statutory rape in Dallas or another community in Texas, it is going to be enormously important for you to make sure that you retain legal counsel. A criminal defense attorney will be able to provide you with the strongest possible defense against statutory rape charges.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy understands how good people often find themselves in very bad situations and we work to help people avoid the most serious penalties associated with statutory rape crimes. Call (940) 222-8004 or contact us online to take advantage of a free consultation.


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