If you've recently survived as the victim of a sexual crime, you may be wondering about your legal options through the criminal justice and civil court systems. Survivors and their families often struggle with questions like:
Our Montana sexual abuse victims' lawyers can help you get the justice you deserve. Fill out the contact form or give us a call to schedule your free, confidential case evaluation.
Survivors of sexual violence respond in different ways. It’s normal to feel angry, frustrated, or a sense of despair in the aftermath of one of these traumatic experiences. For many survivors and their families, seeing the perpetrator brought to justice is the first part of moving on. Others may be fearful or hesitant to report the crime for any number of personal reasons.
If you or a loved one has recently become the victim of sexual assault or child sexual abuse in Montana, you may be wondering what penalties the perpetrator may face.
Montana has some of the more progressive sexual assault statutes in the nation, and recently updated an outdated law which had previously required prosecutors to prove that violence or threats were used in order for a crime to be considered rape. Now a lack of consent is all that is required for an offender to be charged with rape in Montana.
We’ve summarized the main Montana sexual crime statutes below. Be aware that these laws have been changing across the country, so it’s best to speak with an experienced Montana sexual assault victims lawyer if you want to get a better understanding of the criminal justice process for sexual offenses in your state. From Billings and Bozeman to Helena and Missoula, our sexual assault victims’ lawyers can help you understand both sides of the process and help you take legal action through a civil sexual abuse lawsuit.
A person is guilty of sexual abuse of children if he or she knowingly engages in any of the following behaviors:
Sentences for sexual abuse of children range from 4 years to life in prison.
In Montana, certain groups of professionals are legally required to report suspected child abuse (physical, emotional, or sexual) or neglect to law enforcement. People in the following occupations are considered mandatory reporters:
Mandatory reporters are required to report suspected abuse immediately. Failure to file a report is a misdemeanor. Those who fail to report also may be held liable in civil court for damages caused by a failure to report. If your child was sexually abused and you believe a mandatory reporter failed to meet their legal duty to report their suspicions of the act, you could have grounds for a lawsuit against that reporter, the offender, and possibly other third parties who could have done more to prevent or stop the abuse.
In Montana, a person is guilty of sexual assault if he or she knowingly subjects another person to any sexual contact or touching without that person’s consent. Sentences for sexual assault vary depending on circumstances:
A victim is considered unable to consent to sexual contact if he or she is:
Any sexual intercourse which occurs without the consent of one of the people involved is considered rape in Montana.
Rape is punishable by either life imprisonment or a sentence of 4-100 years in prison and a fine up to $50,000. Like sexual assault, penalties are more severe under certain circumstances, including:
If the offender uses force to have sex with another person without that person’s consent or in a situation where that person is incapable of consent, the charge will be aggravated sexual intercourse without consent – punishable by life in prison or a state prison term of 10-100 years.
A person is guilty of indecent exposure if he or she knowingly or purposely exposes their genitals by any means (including through electronic communication) under circumstances where the person knows the exposure is likely to offend or alarm another person, with either of the following motives:
On a first offense, indecent exposure is punishable by a fine up to $500, up to 6 months in county jail, or both. For second convictions, the penalty is a fine up to $1,000, up to one year in county jail, or both. On third and subsequent offenses, the penalty is increased to a fine up to $10,000, 10 years in state prison, or both.
If the victim is under 16 years of age, the offender will be charged with indecent exposure to a minor. This offense is punishable by a fine up to $50,000 and a minimum of 4 years and maximum of 100 years in state prison.