The survivors of sexual crime deserve to see the person who hurt them brought to justice in criminal court. If you or a loved one is a survivor, you may have several concerns about this process:
- Will the police arrest the person responsible?
- What type of punishment will the sexual predator face?
- Can others be held liable for failing to report or stop sexual abuse?
Our Nevada sexual abuse victims' lawyers specialize in getting survivors the support they need.
No family should have to deal with the consequences of sexual abuse on their own. We help hold all liable parties accountable in court.
"Thank you." We weren't sure how to get justice for our son, but they helped us.
Are you worried about how the state may punish the perpetrator who victimized you or a loved one in a sexual crime? For many survivors in your situation, a successful conviction can help provide peace of mind and take a dangerous predator off the street before he has the chance to hurt other victims. If your assault occurred in Las Vegas, Henderson, Reno, Carson City, or elsewhere in Nevada, you may be wondering how your state’s sex crime statutes may apply to the criminal case. We’ve summarized the main Nevada sex crime laws below as a frame of reference, but be aware that these laws are always changing. This is why we advise speaking with an experienced Nevada sexual assault lawyer if you want to better understand your legal rights.
Many survivors find that civil sexual abuse lawsuits do more to help them than criminal courts. While the arrest and prosecution of sexual predators is an understandable first priority, it's also important to make sure survivors and their families get the help they need. A lawsuit offers several other forms of justice, including:
- The ability to sue the perpetrator even when the criminal courts fail to convict
- The option to sue organizations, businesses, and other third parties for enabling or covering up sexual abuse
- The potential to recover financial compensation for related economic and noneconomic losses
Statutes Used To Prosecute Child Sex Offenders
Child sex offenders can face criminal prosecution under one or more of several legal statutes:
Statutory Sexual Seduction
Nevada’s statutory sexual seduction law is used to prosecute offenders who are guilty of statutory rape. A person is guilty of this crime if he or she is at least 18 years old and engages in any type of sexual intercourse with a minor who is younger than 16 years old.
Offenders who commit statutory sexual seduction are charged with gross misdemeanors if they’re under 21 years old, and Class C felonies if they’re 21 years of age or older.
Lewdness With A Child Under 16
An adult can be convicted of lewdness with a child under 16 if he or she subjects a child to any physical touching with the intent of arousing or gratifying the sexual desires of the adult or child. This includes any sexual touching which falls short of penetration. Even if the touching is not of a private body part like the genitals or anus, a person can still be charged with this crime as long as the intent was sexual.
On a first offense, this Class A felony is punishable by life in prison with the possibility of parole after 10 years. On subsequent offenses, the sentence is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Sexual Conduct With Pupils And Students
In Nevada, it’s illegal for employees and volunteers of schools, colleges, and universities to engage in sexual conduct with students. This charge is usually applied in cases involving students who are 16 years of age or older, which is the state’s law of consent. Sexual conduct between adults and children under 16 is handled under laws like statutory sexual seduction and lewdness with a child under 16.
Mandatory Reporters Of Child Abuse & Neglect
Like most other states, Nevada has a list of professionals who are required to report suspicions of child abuse or neglect within 24 hours. This list of professionals includes:
- Medical and mental health care professionals
- Teachers and school administrators
- Daycare and camp workers and volunteers
- Religious clergy and officials
- Foster homeowners and workers
- Law enforcement officers
- Adults employed by entities providing organized activities for children (sports, theater, etc.)
Failure to report suspected child abuse is a misdemeanor in Nevada. Along with criminal penalties, mandatory reporters who fail to file reports can also be held liable for financial damages in civil child sexual abuse lawsuits.
General Sexual Crime Statutes In Nevada
In Nevada, sexual crimes committed against adults generally fall into one of two legal categories:
Rape is prosecuted under the state’s sexual assault statute. A person is guilty of sexual assault if he or she subjects another person to sexual penetration, forces that person to sexually penetrate himself or herself, another person, or an animal against that person’s will or under conditions where the offender knew or should have known that the victim was mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of the act.
Sexual assault is a Class A felony punishable by life in prison in Nevada. In some circumstances, such as cases involving serious injuries or offenders with previous sex crime convictions, this sentence may be ineligible for parole.
Open Or Gross Lewdness
Sexual crimes which fall short of penetration (such as groping someone without their consent) are prosecuted under the open or gross lewdness law.
This law is also used to prosecute people who engage in sexual acts in public or private places where others can witness it.
Open and gross lewdness is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine up to $2,000. On subsequent offenses, this crime will be charged as a Class D felony punishable by 1-4 years in prison and a fine up to $5,000.
Civil Trials Vs. Criminal Trials For Sexual Offenses
Many victims may not realize that the criminal justice system is only one of two avenues towards justice. Criminal courts focus on prosecuting sexual predators, but often fall short of providing the support the victims of these crimes need and deserve. This is where civil courts become useful.
A civil sexual assault or child sexual abuse lawsuit can help victims recover the financial support they need for damages related to the injury (like medical expenses, therapy costs, pain and suffering, etc.), hold offenders accountable when criminal courts fail to convict them, and also demand accountability from negligent third parties who could have done more to prevent the crime (such as a mandated reporter who failed to report suspected child sexual abuse or a business who failed to properly screen an employee with a conviction for a sexual crime).
Our resourceful and experienced Nevada sexual abuse and sexual assault lawyers help victims seek justice through the civil court system. Our attorneys also have experience in criminal courts, which they can use to help educate you on what to expect from the criminal prosecution of your offender.