Welcome back and thanks for joining us again for our discussion on child molestation and how Michigan law deals with this subject. Previously we discussed the fact that child molestation isn’t a legal term in Michigan, and doesn’t refer to a specific type of sexual crime involving a child. If you need a refresher on this information please take a moment to look over our introductory article in this series. Otherwise, let’s pick up where we left off.
As we discussed before, sex crimes in Michigan are divided into four categories, called tiers. Anyone accused of sexually abusing a child would be charged with either First, Second, Third or Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, depending on the circumstances of the crime. Terms like “molestation” and “rape” are not used in Michigan law.
For example, if a person touched a child’s genitals or other private parts for their own sexual gratification, but the child was fully dressed at the time, that person would likely be charged with Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct. This is because both Second and Fourth Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct involve sexual contact, but do not include sexual penetration of any kind.
It’s important to remember that a Fourth Degree CSC Charge could involve either consensual or nonconsensual sexual contact. Michigan law doesn’t allow a person under 13 to provide lawful consent for any sexual contact, so even if an underaged minor provided consent, the sexual contact is still against the law.
Consent doesn’t count in Michigan if it’s given by an underage child.
If the sexual abuse of a child involves sexual penetration of any kind that charge would be either First or Third Degree CSC. This is because both First and Third Degree CSC are sex crimes that deal specifically with penetration of the victim. Michigan laws deals with sexual crimes against children (and others) by prosecuting them based on the specific situation in which the crime took place.
For example, the age of the victim at the time of the alleged sexual act will play a role in determining which charges are brought. Other factors include whether or not force was used to subdue or threaten the victim, whether the victim was under the authority of the accused (for example a teacher or coach), and whether or not the victim was a blood relation of the accused.
These are just some of the possible scenarios. Under the law, there are many more potential situations. In reality, however, these are semantic differences in the specific conduct that is alleged to have occurred. However, the penalties between the different degrees of child sexual abuse charges are huge. In fact, the amount of prison time can vary from two years up to life! So making sure you have a good attorney is critical if you’re facing child sexual abuse charges!
Join us next time, when we will be talking about the challenges involved in defending against an allegation of child molestation. It may be a difficult subject to discuss, we know, but being aware and informed is the first step towards ensuring that you are never falsely accused. Until then, if you or a loved one are accused of sexually abusing a child, or harming a child in any other way, our skilled team of defense attorneys can help you, whether it’s a child abuse charge or a sex crime. We are here to help. Call 866 766 5245 today to speak with an attorney.