Continuous Sexual Abuse of A Young Child or Children in Houston, Texas

Facing false accusations of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 in Houston, Texas, is an incredibly serious and life-altering situation. The potential consequences are drastic, including a decades-long prison sentence without the possibility of parole. This charge is the most severe criminal offense in Texas outside of capital murder, highlighting the immense gravity of the situation.

The law is structured to facilitate convictions, even when there is no consensus on specific instances of abuse. Given the gravity of the charges, understanding the full implications is essential. Continuous sexual abuse is designed to impose severe penalties, including a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence without the possibility of parole, for adults engaged in repeated sexual abuse of a child.

If you are facing such allegations, understanding the legal landscape and the severity of the charges is critical. Contacting an experienced Houston child sexual abuse lawyer who specializes in defending against false accusations of continuous sexual abuse can provide the strategic defense necessary to challenge these serious allegations and work towards restoring your life and reputation.

What Exactly is Continuous Sexual Abuse of A Child in Houston, Texas?

Continuous sexual abuse of a child in Houston, Texas, is a highly serious criminal charge characterized by a pattern of repeated sexual acts committed against a child aged 14 years or younger. Unlike aggravated sexual assault of a child, which may involve a single incident, this charge requires at least two separate acts of sexual abuse against the child, occurring at least 30 days apart.

The term “sexual abuse” encompasses a range of offenses, including sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, indecency with a child by contact (excluding touching of the breast), aggravated kidnapping with intent to sexually abuse, burglary with intent to commit a sexual offense, human trafficking, compelling prostitution, or sexual performance by a child. Each act is considered independently, and when they occur in succession over time, they escalate the severity of the charge to continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Being accused of continuous sexual abuse of a child carries significant legal implications in Texas, including potential severe sentencing if convicted. Given the gravity of these allegations, individuals facing such charges require immediate and specialized legal representation to navigate the complexities of the legal system and mount a robust defense against these serious accusations. Understanding the specifics of this charge is crucial for both defendants and their legal advocates in ensuring a fair and just legal process.

What is the Texas Continual Sexual Abuse Law?

The Texas Penal Code Section 21.02 defines continuous sexual abuse of a young child or disabled individual as a severe criminal offense with stringent criteria for prosecution.

To be charged under this law, the accused must be at least 17 years old at the time of the offense and must have engaged in two or more acts of sexual abuse against a child younger than 14 years old or against a disabled individual over a period of 30 days or longer.

This offense is distinct from other sexual assault charges in Texas due to its requirement of a pattern of sexual abuse. The law aims to address and punish the repeated exploitation of vulnerable individuals.

Recent amendments to the statute in 2021 expanded its scope to include disabled individuals, broadening the protection under the law.

Under Texas law, prosecutors are not required to prove unanimity among jurors regarding specific acts of sexual abuse or exact dates of occurrences as long as they establish the pattern of abuse over the specified period.

Penalties for continuous sexual abuse of young children or disabled individuals are severe, classified as a first-degree felony with potential imprisonment ranging from 5 years to life and fines up to $10,000.

Notably, the law imposes a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years without the possibility of parole for convictions involving children under 14 years old, highlighting its severity and the stringent consequences for those found guilty.

Understanding this law’s nuances is crucial for legal professionals and individuals facing accusations. Effective defense strategies often hinge on challenging the elements of the offense and presenting compelling evidence to refute allegations. For anyone accused of continuous sexual abuse in Texas, seeking immediate legal counsel from an experienced sex crime lawyer in Houston, Texas, is essential to protect rights and mount a vigorous defense.

What is “Jessica’s Law” in Texas?

Jessica’s Law in Texas, officially known as the Jessica Lunsford Act, was enacted following the tragic abduction, rape, and murder of Jessica Lunsford in Florida. This legislation, embodied in House Bill 8 during the 80th Legislative Session, aims to combat child sexual abuse through stringent legal measures.

Central to Jessica’s Law is the establishment of the offense of continuous sexual abuse, which targets repeated acts of sexual abuse against children under 14 over a minimum period of 30 days. This includes crimes such as indecency with a child, sexual assault, and aggravated sexual assault. The Law imposes severe penalties ranging from 25 years to life imprisonment without parole for these offenses.

Additionally, Jessica’s Law mandates lifetime electronic monitoring of convicted sex offenders and eliminates statutes of limitations for certain sexual crimes against minors. It enhances the Texas Crime Information Center by including detailed offender information and requires real-time electronic tracking of offenders.

By implementing these provisions, Jessica’s Law seeks to deter sexual predators, ensure stringent punishment for offenders, and enhance public safety measures to protect children from harm. The Law represents a significant legislative effort in Texas to address and prevent child sexual abuse through comprehensive legal and monitoring mechanisms.

What Are Some Types of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child?

Continuous sexual abuse of a child, defined under Texas Penal Code Section 21.02, encompasses a spectrum of specific acts categorized as sexual abuse. These acts are meticulously outlined to ensure comprehensive coverage of offenses against minors. Understanding the various types of actions that constitute continuous sexual abuse of a child is crucial for both legal professionals and the public alike.

  1. Aggravated Kidnapping: This offense involves kidnapping a child with the intent to sexually abuse or otherwise violate them. It underscores the severe nature of crimes where minors are abducted for illicit purposes.
  2. Indecency with a Child: According to Texas law, this offense occurs when there is any form of physical contact involving the genitals or anus of a child, excluding touching of the breast. It emphasizes protection against inappropriate physical interactions with minors.
  3. Sexual Assault: Defined broadly, sexual assault encompasses any non-consensual sexual contact or penetration with a child. It covers a wide range of offenses, from unwanted touching to more severe acts of sexual violence.
  4. Aggravated Sexual Assault: This offense elevates sexual assault to a more severe level by including aggravating factors such as causing serious bodily injury, using a deadly weapon, or making threats of death during the assault.
  5. Burglary with Intent: When burglary involves entering a habitation with the intent to commit a sexual offense against a child, it falls under Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child. This provision aims to prevent home invasions for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
  6. Sexual Performance by a Child: This offense pertains to involving a child in any form of sexual performance, exhibition, or conduct. It addresses exploitation through pornography or live sexual displays involving minors.
  7. Child Sex Trafficking: Involving minors in trafficking for sexual exploitation or coerced sexual activities constitutes a severe violation under this category. It emphasizes protection against the commercial sexual exploitation of children.
  8. Compelling Prostitution: This offense involves coercing or forcing a child into prostitution or any form of sexual activity in exchange for monetary gain. It addresses the exploitation of minors in the sex trade.

Each type of offense under continuous sexual abuse of a child is carefully delineated to cover a broad spectrum of behaviors aimed at protecting minors from sexual exploitation and abuse. Understanding these specific acts is essential for law enforcement, legal professionals, and the public in recognizing and addressing instances of child sexual abuse effectively within the legal framework provided by Texas statutes.

If you are being falsely accused of continuous sexual abuse of a young child in Houston, Texas, contact Scheiner Law today. We understand the seriousness of these charges and can make sure your rights are protected.

What Are The Punishments If I’m Found Guilty in Houston, Texas?

If found guilty of Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 in Houston, Texas, the consequences are severe and classified as a super aggravated offense. This offense carries a punishment range that begins at 25 years and can extend up to 99 years or life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. This means that upon conviction, the minimum sentence a defendant faces is 25 years, with no chance of early release.

In Texas, parole eligibility hinges on the nature of the offense. Generally, individuals may become eligible for parole after serving half of their sentence for aggravated offenses. However, for super aggravated offenses like continuous sexual assault of a child, there is no provision for parole, ensuring that offenders serve the entirety of their imposed sentence.

A subsequent conviction for continuous sexual assault of a child mandates an automatic sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole. This stringent sentencing approach reflects the state’s unwavering commitment to addressing and punishing offenses involving continuous sexual abuse of minors with the utmost severity.

As we mentioned, the legal framework governing these penalties can be found in Penal Code § 21.02, which outlines the specific provisions and sentencing guidelines applicable to continuous sexual assault of child cases. These measures underscore Texas’s dedication to protecting young victims and holding perpetrators accountable for these egregious crimes against children.

What is the Difference Between Super-Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child and Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child?

Super-aggravated sexual assault of a child and continuous sexual assault of a child are distinct legal categories under Texas law, each addressing different patterns and severity levels of sexual abuse involving minors. Understanding the differences between these offenses is essential for legal professionals and the public to grasp the nuances of child protection laws in Texas.

Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child

Continuous sexual assault of a child focuses on a pattern of sexual abuse over time. This offense is designed to address situations where the abuse occurs repeatedly against one or more victims over a period of at least 30 days.

It allows prosecutors to aggregate multiple acts of sexual abuse into a single charge, accommodating the often delayed reporting and discovery of such crimes involving children.

Super-Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

Super-aggravated sexual assault of a child is a more severe form of sexual assault that includes specific aggravating factors. Under Texas law, this offense applies when the victim is either under 6 years old or under 14 years old, and the accused commits aggravated sexual assault with additional aggravating circumstances.

These circumstances may include causing severe bodily injury, threatening death or kidnapping, using a deadly weapon, acting with others in the assault, or using drugs to facilitate the assault.

Unlike continuous sexual assault, which focuses on a pattern of abuse over time, super-aggravated sexual assault can stem from a single incident but involves heightened severity due to the presence of aggravating factors that significantly increase the harm or danger posed to the child victim.

Key Differences:

  • Nature of Offenses: Continuous sexual assault addresses a pattern of abuse over time, while super-aggravated sexual assault pertains to severe incidents aggravated by specific factors.
  • Juror Agreement: Continuous sexual assault does not require jurors to agree on specific acts or dates, whereas super-aggravated sexual assault may involve additional factors that heighten the offense’s severity and legal consequences.

Understanding these distinctions is crucial for legal practitioners, law enforcement officials, and the community in identifying, prosecuting, and preventing instances of child sexual abuse effectively within the legal framework provided by Texas statutes.

Each offense category serves a specific purpose in addressing different aspects of child protection and ensuring appropriate legal responses to perpetrators of these heinous crimes.

To learn more about Texas laws and your rights, reach out to the skilled Houston child sexual abuse attorneys at Scheiner Law Group.

What Do I Do If I’m Being Falsely Accused of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Young Child in Houston, Texas?

Facing false accusations of continuous sexual abuse of a young child in Houston, Texas, requires immediate and careful action to protect your rights and defend against serious charges.

Key Steps to Take

  1. Consult with a Criminal Defense Attorney: Seek immediate legal representation from a lawyer experienced in handling sexual abuse cases. They will guide you through the legal process, protect your rights, and build a strong defense strategy.
  2. Document Everything: Keep thorough records of all communications, evidence, and interactions related to the case. This includes preserving texts, emails, and any other relevant documentation.
  3. Avoid Contact with the Accuser: Do not communicate with the person who made the false allegations or anyone associated with them. Let your attorney handle all communication.
  4. Gather Evidence: Collect witnesses and evidence that support your innocence, such as alibis, surveillance footage, or other documentation that can corroborate your whereabouts.
  5. Follow Legal Advice: Listen to your attorney’s advice and cooperate within the legal boundaries. This includes attending court hearings and following legal procedures.
  6. Maintain Caution on Social Media: Avoid discussing the case on social media, as it can be used against you. Prosecutors may monitor your online activity.
  7. Prepare for Legal Proceedings: Be prepared for potential arrest and cooperate with law enforcement while exercising your right to remain silent until your attorney is present.

Why Taking Accusations Seriously Matters

It is critically important to take accusations of child sexual abuse seriously and not dismiss them as a joke. False allegations of this nature can have devastating consequences, potentially leading to wrongful convictions and lengthy prison sentences, as seen in cases where individuals have been sentenced to decades behind bars based on false claims.

In the legal system, the burden of proof often falls heavily on the accused to prove their innocence rather than on the accuser to substantiate their claims. This imbalance can result in a situation where even innocent individuals may feel pressured to accept plea deals or face the risk of a life-altering conviction.

The societal stigma associated with such allegations further complicates matters, making it essential for the accused to seek immediate legal counsel, document every aspect of their case meticulously, and prepare a robust defense. By taking proactive steps from the outset, individuals falsely accused of child sexual abuse can safeguard their rights, refute false claims, and work towards clearing their name effectively within the legal system.

Experienced Child Sexual Abuse Attorneys in Houston, Texas

At Scheiner Law, we understand the gravity and complexity of defending against false charges of sex crimes involving children in Houston, Texas. Our experienced child sexual abuse attorneys are dedicated to safeguarding your rights, ensuring fair treatment, and vigorously challenging accusations with a comprehensive legal strategy.

We prioritize meticulous preparation, compassionate advocacy, and relentlessly pursuing justice to protect clients facing these deeply sensitive allegations. With Scheiner Law, you can trust in our commitment to providing robust defense representation tailored to your unique circumstances, aiming for the best possible outcome in your case. Contact us today.

In addition to defense against charges of child sexual abuse we also handle cases involving child pornography possessionindecency with a child by exposure, sex crimes involving minors, and more.

Additional Resources

Child Abuse in Texas – Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas (CACTX)

The Children’s Advocacy Centers of Texas (CACTX) provide comprehensive information about child abuse in Texas. They offer resources for identifying and reporting child abuse, supporting victims, and promoting prevention efforts throughout the state.

Children and Teens – Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

RAINN is the largest anti-sexual violence organization in the United States. Their website includes statistics and resources specifically focused on children and teens who are victims of sexual abuse.

Child Sexual Abuse Statistics – National Center for Victims of Crime

The National Center for Victims of Crime provides extensive statistics and research on child sexual abuse. Their website offers insights into the prevalence, impact, and reporting trends related to child sexual abuse in the United States.