Throughout all 50 states, far too many innocent people suffer as the victims of sexual assault and child sexual abuse. If you or a loved one has recently survived one of these crimes, you may be wondering:
- Will the person responsible be punished in criminal court?
- Can others who enabled or failed to stop sexual abuse be held liable?
- How can a sexual abuse victims' lawyer help?
Our North Carolina sexual abuse victims' lawyers are prepared to help your family find justice.
It's important to ask how the victims of sexual crimes could have been spared their traumatic experiences and hold all parties involved liable.
"Very supportive." Brian and his team were there to guide us the whole way.
After surviving as the victim of a sexual crime, it’s normal to wonder how the predator who violated you will be criminally prosecuted. A conviction can help provide a sense of justice and also helps take dangerous sexual predators out of the community before they can continue to victimize others.
We’ve summarized North Carolina’s sexual assault and sexual abuse laws below, which can give you an idea of how much time your perpetrator may face. But these laws do change, so it’s best to speak with an experienced North Carolina victims’ rights lawyer if you want to get a better understanding of how the legal system might handle your case. Our team of North Carolina sexual assault victims’ lawyers can fill you in on this part of the process, but we specialize in helping survivors get financial support through civil courts.
However, you should be aware that criminal courts often fail to adequately consider the needs of victims. This is why many survivors often turn to civil courts by filing sexual abuse lawsuits against both perpetrators and third parties who could have done more to prevent the crime. A civil sexual abuse lawsuit offers victims the opportunity to:
- Hold perpetrators accountable when criminal courts fail
- Hold organizations and other third parties liable for failing to prevent or report abuse
- Secure financial compensation for personal and financial setbacks related to the abuse
Child Sexual Abuse Offenses
In North Carolina, there are several statutes which are used to prosecute sexual predators who commit crimes of child sexual abuse:
There are two different laws which are used to prosecute people who commit statutory rape:
Statutory Rape Of A Child By An Adult
A person is guilty of this offense if he or she is at least 18 years olf and engages in vaginal intercourse with a victim who is younger than 13 years old. A conviction for statutory rape of a child by an adult is punishable by a sentence of anywhere from 300 months in prison to life without parole, depending on the offenders prior criminal history. Upon release, people convicted of this offense are subject to satellite-based monitoring for the rest of their lives.
Statutory Rape Of A Person Who Is 15 Years Of Age Or Younger
An offender who engages in vaginal intercourse with another person who is 15 years of age or younger when the offender is at least 12 years old and at least six years older than the victim is guilty of a Class B1 felony punishable by anywhere from 144 months in prison to life without parole. If the offender is at least 12 years old and more than four but less than six years older than the victim, the offense is a Class C felony punishable by 44-182 months in prison.
Statutory Sexual Offense
A statutory sexual offense involves unlawful sexual contact (but no penetration) inflicted on a victim who falls below the age of consent. These offenses are also broken into two classifications:
Statutory Sexual Offense With A Child By An Adult
A person is guilty of this crime if they’re at least 18 years old and engage in any type of sexual activity with a victim who is under 13 years old. The penalty is based on criminal history and ranges from 300 months to life in prison, with lifetime surveillance upon release.
First-Degree Statutory Sexual Offense
A person is guilty of a first-degree statutory sexual offense if he or she engages in a sexual act with a victim who is younger than 13 years old, the defendant is at least 12 years old and also at least four years older than the victim. This means that this law can be used to prosecute minors who sexually abuse other minors.
The sentence for this crime also depends on prior criminal history and ranges from 144 months to life in prison without parole.
Statutory Sexual Offense With A Person Who Is 15 Or Younger
This crime can be charged as either a Class B1 or Class C felony:
- A person is guilty of a Class B1 felony if he or she participates in a sexual act with a victim who is 15 years of age or younger, and the defendant is at least 12 years old and at least six years older than the victim. Punishable by 144 months to life without parole.
- Class C felony charges apply in cases where the offender engages in sexual activity with a victim who is 15 years of age or younger, and the defendant is at least 12 years old and more than four but less than six years older than the victim. Punishable by 44-182 months in prison.
Sexual Activity With A Student
Any teacher, school administrator, student teacher, school safety officer, or coach of any age who has vaginal intercourse or any other sexual contact with a student who is at least four years younger than them is guilty of an offense called sexual activity with a student. This crime is punishable by 3-12 months in prison, depending on prior criminal history.
Sexual Activity By A Substitute Parent Of Custodian
This law is used to prosecute anyone who has assumed the position of a parent in the home of a minor and engages in vaginal intercourse or another sexual act with the minor residing in that home. This offense is punishable by 15-63 months in prison.
Sexual Offenses Against Adult Victims
North Carolina generally uses three laws to prosecute sex offenders who violate adult victims:
Anyone who engages in sexual intercourse with someone else through the use of force or against their will is guilty of forcible rape. This crime can be charged in one of two degrees, depending on the circumstances of the crime:
First-degree forcible rape involves sexual intercourse committed through force and under any of the following additional circumstances:
- The offender used or displayed a dangerous or deadly weapon or an item the other person reasonably believes is a dangerous or deadly weapon
- The offender inflicts a serious injury on the victim or any other person
- The offense is committed with the assistance of one or more other people
Forcible rape in the first degree is punishable by 144 months to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
A person will be charged with second-degree forcible rape if he or she engages in vaginal force with another person through force or against their will, or if the victim is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless and the offender is aware of this inability to consent to the act. Punishable by 44-182 months in prison.
Forcible Sexual Offense
A person is guilty of a forcible sexual offense if they subject a victim to unconsented sexual acts which fall short of penetration. In some other states, forcible sexual offenses might be classified as sexual assault, instead. These charges are also applied as either first or second degree, and the same circumstances listed under first and second-degree forcible rape qualify here, with the same sentences.
A person can be convicted of sexual battery if he or she engages in sexual touching with another person by force or against their will, or with a victim who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless and the offender is aware of this fact. This crime is punishable by 1 day to 150 days in prison and a fine.