The trauma of experiencing sexual assault or child sexual abuse creates scars that may never heal. If you or someone you loved is in this tragic position, you may be wondering:
- Will my abuser be arrested and sent to prison?
- Do we have any legal recourse if there is no conviction?
- Can organizations be held liable for enabling sexual predators?
- Should we talk to a lawyer?
Our Texas sexual abuse victims' lawyers understand the pain your family is going through. We want to help.
A civil sexual abuse lawsuit can help hold perpetrators accountable when criminal courts fail, and hold organizations liable for enabling predators.
"Thank you." They made sure the organization paid for failing to keep our son safe.
Are you struggling to recover after you or a loved one became the victim of sexual violence? Many survivors may wonder what type of punishment their assaulter or abuser may face. We’ve summarized the sexual assault and child sexual abuse laws in Texas below as a reference for victims and their families. But remember that these laws frequently change and that you may need to speak with an experienced Texas victims’ rights lawyer for more information on what to expect from the criminal justice system.
You should also be aware that the criminal court system primarily handles the prosecution of offenders, with little focus on support for victims. Many survivors end up turning to civil lawsuits in order to hold offenders and negligent third parties accountable when criminal courts fail. This is also often the only way to get financial support for damages related to your recovery, including:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages after missed time at work
- Therapy costs
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of quality of life
- Other related damages
Our Texas sexual abuse victims' lawyers can help you understand what to expect from criminal courts and help you pursue justice through a civil sexual abuse lawsuit.
Child Sexual Abuse Laws In Texas
Texas has three laws which are specifically used to prosecute sexual predators who have victimized children. In some cases, the state’s general sexual assault statutes may also be applied to crimes involving child victims.
Continuous Sexual Abuse Of A Young Child Or Children
A person is guilty of continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children if he or she:
- During a period of 30 or more days in duration, commits two or more acts of sexual abuse, regardless of whether the sexual abuse is committed against one or more victims, and
- At the time of the acts of sexual abuse, the person is 17 years of age or older and the victim is younger than 14 years old.
This first-degree felony is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Indecency With A Child
A person is guilty of indecency with a child if they engage in any of the following conduct with a child 17 years of age or younger:
- Engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact
- Exposes their private parts, knowing that a child is present
- Causes the child to expose his or her private parts
This crime can be charged as a second-degree felony if sexual contact is involved and the offender is at least three years older than the victim and is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
If the exposure of private parts is involved, the crime is a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Improper Relationship Between Educator And Student
In Texas, it’s illegal for any employee of a public or private primary or secondary school to engage in sexual contact, sexual intercourse, or deviate sexual intercourse with a student enrolled at the same school.
This crime is a second-degree felony.
General Texas Sexual Assault Laws
Texas prosecutes a wide range of sexual offenses under the state’s sexual assaultstatutes:
Texas prosecutes rape and other crimes of sexual violence under the state’s sexual assault statuteA. A person is guilty of sexual assault if he or she:
- Causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means without that person’s consent; or
- Causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the offender’s sexual organ without that other person’s consent; or
- Causes the sexual organ of another person to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person without their consent
- Commits any of the above acts against a child
If the sexual assault is committed against a person the offender is prohibited from marrying (such as a family member), the charge will be first-degree – punishable by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $10,000.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
A sexual assault charge will be upgraded to the first-degree felony of aggravated sexual assault if any of the offenses listed above were committed under any of the following circumstances:
- The offender causes serious bodily injury or attempts to kill the victim or another person during the course of the crime
- Uses acts or words to place the victim in fear that any person will become the victim of a sexual offense, death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping
- Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon during the commission of the crime
- Is assisted by another person who commits an offense against the same victim
- Administers or provides a date rape drug (such as Rohypnol, ketamine, or GHB) with the intent of committing a sexual offense
- The victim is younger than 14 years old
- The victim is elderly or disabled.
This first-degree felony is punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine up to $10,000.