Are you looking for information on Vermont sexual assault and child sexual abuse laws as the victim or loved one of one? You may be wondering:
- How can I get justice as a survivor of sexual assault?
- How does Vermont prosecute sexual offenders?
- Should I consider hiring a victims' rights lawyer?
Our lawyers understand the difficulties your family is facing. We can help you find justice and support.
It's important to ask how organizations and individuals can do more to prevent child sexual abuse and sexual assault.
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Becoming the victim of a sexual crime can change your life forever. Many survivors struggle to recover mentally and sometimes physically from the assault. For some of these survivors, seeing their abuser and others who enabled the abuse brought to justice can provide a sense of relief.
Vermont's Criminal Laws For Sexual Misconduct
Although the scars of the abuse may never heal, the knowledge that a dangerous sexual predator has been removed from the community before they can harm additional victims can be comforting for some survivors. If you're looking for information on Vermont sexual abuse laws after you or a loved one was victimized, you can find some summaries here.
You should be aware that state sexual abuse laws frequently change. If you're curious how the criminal justice system may prosecute the person who abused or assaulted you, we recommend asking for more information from an experienced Vermont sexual abuse victims' lawyer. This lawyer can also help you explore your options in civil court, including potential lawsuits against both the perpetrator of the crime and any institutions, organizations, individuals, or other parties who enabled the abuse through negligence.
In many cases of sexual assault and child sexual abuse, there were people who could have done something to stop the crime. In Vermont and most other states, certain people are legally required to report suspected child abuse. A civil sexual abuse lawsuit can help hold these parties accountable and set an example for others to do all that they can to stop these vicious crimes.
Vermont Child Sexual Abuse Laws
In Vermont, sexual crimes against children are generally prosecuted under one or more of the following laws:
Aggravated Sexual Assault Of A Child
A person can be convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child if he or she forces the child to participate in a sexual act without their consent with any of the following circumstances:
- The offender seriously injures the victim or someone else
- The offender is joined or assisted by one or more other people
- Kidnapping is involved
- The offender has a previous conviction for sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, or aggravated sexual assault of a child or similar crimes in any jurisdiction of the U.S.
- The offender was armed with a deadly weapon and uses or threatens to use the weapon on the victim or anyone else
- Threats to cause imminent bodily harm to the victim or anyone else
- The use of deadly force
- The victim was subjected to ongoing sexual abuse
This felony is punishable by 25 years to life in prison and fines up to $50,000.
Sexual Exploitation Of A Minor
A person is guilty of sexual exploitation of a minor if he or she participates in a sexual act with a minor and both of the following circumstances apply:
- The person is at least 4 years older than the minor
- The person is in a position of power, authority, or supervision over the minor
This felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines.
Lewd Or Lascivious Conduct With Child Under 16
A person is considered guilty of this crime if he or she commits any lewd and lascivious act upon or with the body or any body part of a child under 16 years old, with the intention of arousing or gratifying the sexual desires of such person or the child.
On a first offense, the sentence will be 2-15 years in prison and up to $5,000 in fines.
On a second offense, the punishment is 5 years to life in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
On a third or subsequent offense, the sentence is 10 years to life in prison and up to $25,000 in fines.
Like most other states, Vermont requires people in certain occupations to report suspected child abuse or neglect within 24 hours of the time information regarding the abuse or neglect was first received or observed.
Mandated reporters in Vermont include:
- Healthcare providers
- Anyone employed by a school district
- Child care workers
- Mental health professionals
- Social workers
- Probation officers
- Police officers
- Any employee, contractor, or grantee of the Agency of Human services who has contact with clients
- Camp owners, administrators, and counselors
- Members of the clergy
Failure to report is punishable by a fine up to $500. Anyone who fails to report with the intent to conceal the abuse may face up to six months in prison and fines up to $1,000. Additionally, failure to report abuse could be grounds for negligence in a civil sexual abuse lawsuit.
General Sexual Assault Statutes In Vermont
Most sexual crimes in Vermont are prosecuted under one of the following four statutes:
A person is guilty of sexual assault in Vermont if he or she engages in a sexual act with another person and compels them to participate in the sexual act:
- Without their consent, or
- By threats or coercion, or
- By placing the other person in fear that any person will suffer imminent bodily injury
- Administering drugs or intoxicants without the other person's knowledge or against their will
- When the victim is under 16 (statutory rape)
- When the victim is under 18 and entrusted to the person's care
This law covers all types of sexual acts, from unwanted sexual touching to rape. Penalties range from 3 years to life in prison and fines up to $25,000.
Aggravated Sexual Assault
Anyone who commits sexual assault as defined above will have the charge upgraded to aggravated sexual assault when any of the following circumstances apply:
- The offender causes bodily harm to the victim or another person during the sexual assault
- The offender is joined or assisted by one or more other persons
- Kidnapping is involved
- The offender was armed with a deadly weapon and uses or threatens to use it
- Threats of imminent bodily injury to the victim or another person
- The use of deadly force
- The victim is under 13 years old and the offender is at least 18 years old
- Repeated nonconsensual sexual acts
This felony is punishable by 10 years to life in prison and fines up to $50,000.
Sexual Exploitation Of An Inmate
Correctional employees, contractors, and others who work with the Department of Corrections are prohibited from engaging in sexual acts with anyone they know is:
- Is confined to a correctional facility; or
- Is being supervised by the Department of Corrections while on parole, probation, supervised community sentence, or furlough, where the offender is in a direct supervisory relationship with the person being supervised
This crime is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and $10,000.
Sexual Abuse Of A Vulnerable Adult
Employees and volunteers of caregiving facilities are prohibited from engaging in any type of sexual activities with vulnerable adults (someone with special needs).
Punishments for this crime vary depending on circumstances:
- Up to five years in prison and up to $10,000 in fines if the offense involves lewd and lascivious conduct
- Up to 20 years in prison and fines up to $10,000 if the offense involves a sexual act
- Caregivers face up to 7 years and fines up to $10,000 for lewd and lascivious conduct
- Caregivers face up to 25 years and fines up to $10,000 for sexual acts