In Georgia and throughout the United States, countless families have been affected by sexual violence. If your family is struggling through this painful situation, you may have several concerns:
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For some victims of sexual assault, seeing the perpetrator prosecuted and convicted is the first step to healing. However, it’s normal to feel afraid to press criminal charges as a victim, for any number of personal reasons. At Abuse Guardian, we help survivors of these crimes make these choices and, when they’re ready, we help them take legal action against the parties responsible for committing the assault or allowing it to occur due to negligence.
If you or a loved one was recently sexually victimized in Georgia, you may be wondering how your state’s sexual offense laws will influence the prosecution of your attacker. We’ve summarized Georgia’s sexual offenses below, so you can get a better idea of the punishment your offender may face. But remember that criminal prosecution is only one of two legal avenues you have for justice.
Our Georgia sexual assault victims’ lawyers help guide survivors through the civil court system. This is often necessary, as the criminal justice system often fails to provide for the needs of victims, or worse, fails to prosecute or convict guilty parties. A lawsuit can help hold the perpetrator and any negligent third parties liable for the role they played in the crime.
If your family is looking for answers, support, and justice, we can help guide you through this dark and difficult time. Whether you're from Atlanta or Athens, Augusta or Savannah, get in touch with us today and learn more about your legal options in a free consultation.
Georgia has an extensive set of laws for handling sexual crimes against children. In some cases, these laws can apply to cases involving either child and adult victims.
A person can be found guilty of child molestation if he or she engages in any type of “immoral or indecent act” to or in the presence of a child under 16 years of age, with the intent to stimulate the sexual desires of either the child or the adult. Transmitting images of such acts to a child through electronic devices is also considered sexual molestation.
For a first offense, someone found guilty of child molestation can be punished by 5-20 years in prison. On subsequent convictions, the penalty is 10-30 years or a life sentence.
Aggravated child molestation charges apply in cases of child molestation where the victim suffers a physical injury in the assault, or if sodomy is involved in the crime. These charges can either be applied as a felony punishable by 25 years to life in prison, with lifetime probation upon release or as misdemeanor charges with a maximum sentence of 12 months.
Anyone who solicits, entices, or brings any child under 16 years old to a location for the purpose of child molestation is guilty of enticing a child for indecent purposes.
In most cases, the punishment for this crime is a prison sentence of 10-30 years. If the offender is 18 years of age or younger and the victim is at least 14 years old but younger than 16, then the offender wll be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in prison.
Individuals who are involved in the production of sexually explicit media or performances with children may be found guilty of sexual exploitation of children. This includes the people who attempt to persuade or coerce children to participate in these acts, parents who knowingly permit their children to be sexually exploited, and people who possess, create, reproduce, publish, sell, promote, or distribute such material.
Anyone who is convicted of sexual exploitation of children is subject to 5-20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $100,000. These charges can also apply to anyone who is aware of the production of such material and fails to report it, which is a misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison.
In 2007, Georgia passed a state law which handles the prosecution of sexual predators who are involved with child pornography. Anyone who uses electronic means to compile, publish, transmit, reproduce, buy, sell, or exchange a child’s personal information, physical characteristics, or other identifying information with the intent to offer or solicit sexual conduct with a child or a visual depiction of such conduct can be charged with a felony under this Act, punishable by 1-20 years in prison and a fine up to $25,000. If the offender was younger than 18 and the victim was at least 14, the offender will be charged with a misdemeanor instead.
Owners of computer online services, Internet services, bulletin board services, or other electronic devices who knowingly permit a subscriber to use their service as a means to violate these laws can also be held criminally responsible under this Act. These types of violations are classified as misdemeanors of a high and aggravated nature, punishable by up to 12 months in jail.
The majority of sexual offenses against adults are prosecuted under one or more of the following laws in Georgia:
A person is guilty of sexual battery when he or she intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts (genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, buttocks of a male or female and the breast of a female) of another person without that person’s consent.
This crime is classified as a misdemeanor of a high and aggravated nature if the victim is over 16 years old, and as a felony if the victim is a minor under that age, punishable by 1-5 years in prison. Subsequent offenses involving sexual battery will be charged as felonies.
Aggravated battery charges can be filed against someone who uses a foreign object to penetrate someone else without their consent. This crime is classified as a felony and punishable by 25 years to life in prison. If released, these offenders are subject to probation for the rest of their lives.
Georgia law defines rape differently than most other states. A male offender can be charged with rape if he engages in sexual intercourse with a female victim against her will. In Georgia, sexual crimes involving two men or two women which would be legally be considered rape in many other states are instead classified as aggravated sodomy or sexual battery.
Rape is a felony charge in Georgia and someone who has been convicted of rape may face either 10-20 years in prison, life in prison, or the death penalty.
A person commits the crime of aggravated sodomy if he or she uses force to commit sexual acts involving the mouth and anus without the other person’s consent. These charges are also applied in cases involving acts of sodomy committed against victims under 10 years of age. Aggravated sodomy is a felony punishable by 25 years to life in prison and lifetime probation upon release.