Sexual Assault & Abuse Laws In North Dakota

Sexual Assault & Abuse Laws In North Dakota2018-09-20T09:46:13+00:00
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The survivors and families affected by sexual abuse and sexual assault deserve justice. But many of them aren't sure how to find it and struggle with questions like:

  • Will the person responsible be arrested and convicted?
  • Are there other legal options if there's no conviction?
  • Can others be held liable if they enabled the sexual abuse?
  • How can filing a civil sexual abuse lawsuit help?

Our North Dakota sexual abuse victims' lawyers are proud to help survivors of sexual crimes get the justice they deserve.

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Sexual predators must be held accountable for their crimes, but it's also important to seek accountability from other parties who enabled the sexual abuse.

— Brian Kent, Esq.
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After becoming the victim of a sexual crime, many survivors struggle with uncertainty concerning if and how the perpetrator of the crime will be punished. If you or a loved one recently became a victim, you may be wondering how your state’s sexual abuse laws are used to prosecute offenders. We’ve summarized the North Dakota sexual assault statutes below as a reference for victims.

North Dakota's Criminal Laws For Sexual Assault & Abuse

Remember that criminal prosecution is only one of two ways to secure justice as the survivor of a sexual assault. Criminal courts mainly focus on prosecuting and incarcerating sexual predators, while the civil court system does more to take into account the needs of survivors.

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From Grand Forks and Fargo to Bismarck and Dickinson, some of the benefits of filing a civil sexual abuse lawsuit include:

  • The ability to bring perpetrators back to court when the criminal justice system fails to make an arrest or conviction
  • The option to hold organizations and other negligent parties liable for enabling abuse
  • Financial compensation through settlements and court judgments

If you want to find out more about your legal options as the survivor of a sexual crime, you can find out more from our North Dakota sexual assault lawyers in a free consultation.

Child Sexual Abuse Statutes

In North Dakota, there are two statutes that are used to prosecute sexual predators who victimize children:

Continuous Sexual Abuse Of A Child

A person is guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a child if that person engages in any combination of three or more sexual acts with a minor under 15 years old during a period of three or more months.

If the offender was at least 22 years old when the offense occurred, the maximum sentence is life in prison without the possibility of parole.

If the offender was younger than 22 years old, the maximum sentence is 20 years in prison, a fine up to $20,000, or both.

Corruption Or Solicitation Of Minors

A person can be convicted of corruption or solicitation of minors if he or she:

  • (1)Engages in, solicits with the intent to engage in, or causes another to engage in a sexual act with a minor when the actor is an adult.
  • (2) Solicits with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a minor younger than 15, engages in or causes another to engage in a sexual act when the adult is at least 22 years old and the victim is a minor 15 years of age or older.

The penalty for this crime varies depending on circumstances:

  • In offenses listed under (1) when the minor is at least 15 years old, the maximum sentence is one year in prison, a fine up to $3,000, or both
  • If a (1) offense occurs within 50 feet of an elementary, middle, or high school, the maximum sentence is 5 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, or both
  • (2) offenses committed within 50 feet of a school are punishable by 10 years in prison, a fine up to $20,000, or both

General Sexual Assault Statutes In North Dakota

North Dakota primarily uses five different statutes to prosecute sexual predators who commit crimes against adult victims.

Sexual Assault

A person can be convicted of sexual assault if he or she has sexual contact with another person, or causes another person to have contact with that person under any of the following circumstances:

  • (a) That person knows or should reasonably know that the sexual contact is offensive to the other person
  • (b) The person knows or should know that the other person suffers from a mental disease or defect which makes them incapable of understanding the sexual nature of the act
  • (c) The victim has been drugged without their knowledge
  • (d) The victim is in official custody or detained in a hospital, prison, or another institution and the offender has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim
  • (e) The victim is a minor 15 years of age or older, and the offender is the victim’s parent, guardian, or responsible for the victim’s wellbeing
  • (f) The victim is 15 years of age or older and the offender is any adult

Punishments for this crime also vary based on circumstances:

  • Violations of (b), (c), (d), or (e) as defined above and violations of (f) committed by offenders who are at least 22 years old are punishable by 5 years in prison, a $10,000 fine, or both
  • If an offender violates (f) and is between 18-22 years old, the maximum sentence is one year in prison, a $3,000 fine, or both
  • If an offender violates (a) and is between 18-22 years old, the maximum sentence is 30 days in prison, a $1,500 fine, or both

Sexual Imposition

In North Dakota, a person will be charged with sexual imposition if he or she engages in a sexual act or sexual contact with another, or causes another person to engage in a sexual act or sexual contact under the following circumstances:

  • By forcing the other person to submit through threats or coercion
  • Sexual acts (consensual or not) which are committed as part of an induction, initiation, ceremony, pledge, hazing, or qualification to become a member or an associate of a gang

Sexual imposition is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, a maximum $20,000 fine, or both.

Gross Sexual Imposition

A person is guilty of gross sexual imposition if he or she engages in a sexual act with another, or causes another to engage in a sexual act under any of the following circumstances:

  • The person compels the victim to submit by force or by the threat of imminent death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping to be inflicted on the victim or any other person
  • The person or someone else with the person’s knowledge has impaired the victim through the use of an intoxicant administered without the victim’s consent
  • The person knows that the victim is unaware that a sexual act is being committed
  • The victim is younger than 15 years old; or
  • The person knows or has reason to believe that the victim has a mental disease or defect which prevents them from understanding the nature of the sexual act.

Like the other sexual crime statutes in North Dakota, penalties for this crime vary based on circumstance:

  • If the victim suffers a serious injury during the crime, if the offender uses force, threats, or kidnapping, or if the offender is at least 22 years old and the victim is younger than 15, the minimum sentence is 20 years in prison, with probation supervision following release. The maximum sentence is life in prison without parole.
  • If the victim dies because of injuries suffered during the crime, the sentence is life in prison without the possibility of parole.
  • In all other cases, the maximum sentence is 20 years in prison, a fine up to $20,000, or both.

Sexual Abuse Of Wards

A person is guilty of sexual abuse of wards if he or she engages in sexual acts with someone they have supervisory or disciplinary authority over in a hospital, prison, or other institution.

This crime is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, or both.

Sexual Exploitation By Therapist

In North Dakota, it’s illegal for a therapist to have sexual contact with a patient or client during any treatment, consultation, interview, or examination.

This crime is punishable by up to 5 years in prison, a fine up to $10,000, or both.

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