Utah Sexual Assault & Child Sexual Abuse Laws And Statutes

Utah Sexual Assault & Child Sexual Abuse Laws And Statutes 2017-11-14T18:53:03+00:00
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Are you wondering about your legal options after you or a loved one was victimized by a sexual predator? Survivors and their families often struggle with several questions, such as:

  • Will the abuser be arrested, convicted, and incarcerated?
  • Are there other legal options if there's no arrest or conviction?
  • Are organizations liable for failing to prevent or report sexual abuse?

Our Utah sexual abuse victims' lawyers understand the pain survivors face and we know how to help them find justice.

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Survivors of sexual assault and child sexual abuse recover in different ways. Some victims may hesitate to report the crime out of fear of repercussions, skepticism from their social circle, or a simple desire to put the traumatic experience behind them. But for many others, seeing the sexual predator responsible for assaulting them prosecuted and sentenced can help provide a sense of justice. If you or a loved one have survived a sexual assault or child sexual abuse and are wondering how Utah’s sexual offense laws might affect your case, you can find summaries of the state’s sexual crime statutes in the section below.

Be aware that sex abuse laws do change, and that criminal courts only handle one aspect of justice for victims. And in far too many cases, the criminal justice system fails to make convictions or even arrests in sexual assault cases. This is why many victims turn to civil courts as an alternate form of justice. Survivors can find justice through a civil sexual abuse lawsuit in a few ways:

  • By holding the perpetrator accountable even if the criminal court fails to convict
  • By hold organizations and other third parties liable for enabling sexual predators
  • By securing financial compensation for both economic and noneconomic damages related to sexual abuse

For more information on what you can expect from both criminal and civil courts as the survivor of a sexual crime, get in touch with our Utah victims’ rights lawyers today for a free consultation.

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Child Sexual Abuse Statutes In Utah

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In Utah, crimes of child sexual abuse can be prosecuted under one of eight different laws, depending on the circumstances of the crime:

Rape Of A Child Under 14

Any person who has sex with a child under 14 without their consent is guilty of a first-degree felony punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.

Sexual Abuse Of A Child

Any sexual contact between an adult and a victim under 14 years old which does not amount to rape, object rape, or sodomy will be prosecuted as sexual abuse of a child. Attempts to engage in sexual contact with a child are also prosecuted under this offense.

Sexual abuse is a second-degree felony punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Aggravated Sexual Abuse Of A Child

A person is guilty of aggravated sexual abuse of a child if he or she commits any of the acts listed under sexual abuse of a child with any of the following aggravating circumstances:

  • The offense involved the use of a dangerous weapon, force, duress, violence, intimidation, coercion, menace, threat of harm, or occurred during the course of a kidnapping
  • The offender caused bodily injury or severe psychological injury to the victim
  • The offender was a stranger to the victim or became friends with the victim in order to commit the offense
  • The offender used, showed, or displayed pornography or caused the victim to be photographed in pornographic images
  • The offender had a previous conviction for any other sexual offense
  • The offender committed the same or a similar sexual offense upon two or more victims in the same incident
  • The offender committed more than five separate acts which would constitute a sexual offense in Utah
  • The offender was in a special position of trust in relation to the victim
  • Prostitution, sexual performance, human trafficking, or human smuggling was involved
  • The offender caused penetration of a child’s private parts by any part of the human body other than genitals or mouth

This first-degree felony is punishable by a maximum sentence of life imprisonment and up to $10,000 in fines.

Sexual Abuse Of A Minor

A person is guilty of sexual abuse of a minor if they commit any of the acts listed under sexual abuse of a child, but upon a victim who is older than 14 but younger than 16 years old.

Object Rape Of A Child

A person is guilty of object rape of a child if he or she uses any foreign object, substance, instrument, or device to penetrate a child’s private parts. This crime is a first-degree felony punishable by between 25 years and life in prison.

Sodomy On A Child

A person is guilty of sodomy upon a child if he or she engages in oral or anal sexual acts with a child under 14 years of age. This crime is a first-degree felony punishable by 25 years to life in prison.

Unlawful Sexual Activity With A Minor

Statutory rape is prosecuted as unlawful sexual activity with a minor in Utah. A person is guilty of this offense if they’re at least 18 years old and engage in sexual intercourse or any other sexual act with a minor who is at least 14 but younger than 16 years old.

If the offender is less than four years older than the victim, this offense will be charged as a Class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in prison and/or a maximum fine of $1,000.

If the offender is more than four years older than the victim, the charge will be a third-degree felony punishable by a maximum of five years in prison and/or fines up to $5,000.

Custodial Sexual Relations With A Youth Receiving State Services

Anyone employed by the Department of Human Services who engages in sexual penetration with someone under 18 in the custody of the Department is guilty of a second-degree felony – punishable by a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

General Utah Sexual Assault Statutes

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Most crimes of sexual violence committed against adults are prosecuted under one of the following six laws:

Rape

In Utah, any sexual intercourse which occurs without the victim’s consent is considered rape. This first-degree felony is punishable by up to life in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000.

Aggravated Sexual Assault

A person can be charged with aggravated sexual assault if they commit any rape, object rape, forcible sodomy, or forcible sexual abuse involving any of the following circumstances:

  • Uses or threatens the victim with the use of a dangerous weapon
  • Uses threats of kidnapping, death or serious bodily injury on any person
  • Is aided or abetted by one or more other people
  • Causes serious bodily injury to any person
  • Uses or threatens to use a dangerous weapon
  • Attempts to force the victim to submit to sexual abuse using threats of kidnapping, death, or serious bodily injury against any person

This first-degree felony is punishable by between 15 years and life in prison without parole.

Custodial Sexual Relations

Utah prohibits employees of the Department of Human Services (DHS) or the Department of Corrections (DOC) from participating in sexual activity with anyone in the custody of their department. This can be charged in one of three degrees of severity:

  • Class A Misdemeanor – An offender who is employed by the DHS inflicts any sexual touching on a victim in the custody of the DHS – Up to 1 year in prison and maximum fines of $2,500.
  • Third-degree Felony – This charge will be upgraded to a third-degree felony if (1) the victim is under 18, or; (2) a DHS employee engages in sexual penetration with a victim in the custody of the DHS, or; the offender is a DOC or county jail employee and engages in sexual penetration with a victim who is a prisoner or under correctional supervision – Maximum 5-year prison sentence and up to $5,000 in fines.
  • Second-degree Felony – The offender is employed by the DOC and engages in sexual penetration with a prisoner or someone under correctional supervision who is younger than 18 – Maximum of 15 years in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Forcible Sexual Abuse

A person is guilty of forcible sexual abuse if they touch a victim 14 years of age or older on their private parts or otherwise take indecent liberties without the victim’s consent.

This crime is a second-degree felony punishable by 1-15 years in prison – but if the victim suffered a serious bodily injury, the charge will be a first-degree felony punishable by 15 years to life in prison.

Forcible Sodomy

Any sexual act with a victim 14 or older, which involves oral or anal sexual contact without the victim’s consent. A first-degree felony punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison and fines up to $10,000.

Object Rape Of A Person 14 Or Older

Using a foreign object, substance, instrument, or device to sexually penetrate a victim who is at least 14 without their consent. Punishable by a maximum sentence of life in prison and fines up to $10,000.

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