Ask any of the best Stamford Connecticut criminal lawyers and attorneys and they will likely all agree: sexual assault charges—also known as “rape” when the assault involves intercourse—carry some of the most serious penalties and consequences in all of the criminal justice system. If you are arrested and found guilty of a sexual assault charge, then you risk sentences of decades of jail, coupled with decades of sex offender probation.
At the heart of many rape and sexual assault cases is the issue of consent. The traditional “no means no” rape cases are frequently prosecuted by Connecticut sex crime prosecutors and police. However, there is a subsection of Connecticut sexual assault law that classifies certain acts of sexual activity as rape, even if there was verbal or physical consent and willingness between the parties involved in the sexual conduct. This subsection is called “Statutory Rape” under Connecticut General Statutes 53a-71 (also known as Sexual Assault in the Second Degree).
Statutory Rape under 53a-71 makes it illegal for two individuals to engage in sexual contact, even if they are willing and consenting participants. Connecticut police and prosecutors take statutory rape seriously. Penalties usually involve mandatory minimum jail sentences, sex offender probation, and sex offender registration. Therefore, if you have been arrested for 53a-71 Second Degree Sexual Assault / Statutory Rape in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan, Fairfield, Ridgefield or Westport, then do not hesitate to call a top Stamford Sexual Assault criminal lawyer right away.
The Definition of Statutory Rape under CGS 53a-71:
Who Is Legally NOT Allowed to Have Sex with Who
Statutory Rape / Second Degree Sexual Assault is fully defined in Section 53a-71 of the Connecticut General Statutes (click here to read the full statute). You are guilty of statutory rape if you engage in sexual intercourse with another person who is not legally able to consent—whether due to age, mental incapacity, or a special / professional relationship. Again, consent is irrelevant. Consent is NOT a defense in these scenarios. If you fall into any of the categories below, then you can get arrested in Stamford, Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan or anywhere in Connecticut for statutory rape:
- Age Requirements for Statutory Rape. Generally speaking, and subject to the restrictions below, 16 years old is the age of consent. This means that unless there’s a special relationship that otherwise prohibits sexual contact or intercourse between two individuals (i.e.teacher-student, lawyer-client, doctor-patient relationship), then it is LEGAL to have sexual intercourse with anyone who is 16 years old or older. Here’s what’s illegal: When the victim is older than 13 but younger than 16, and you are than 3 years older than such other person (if you are less than 3 years older than the victim, then the sexual intercourse is usually NOT a crime).
- Special Relationship Prohibitions – Statutory Rape by Teachers, Coaches & Therapists. A person may also be arrested for statutory rape in Connecticut if a special relationship exists between the person and the victim. Special relationships usually exist where the person who commits the act is a guardian, educator, legal advisor or mental health caretaker of the victim. Any school employee, including middle school and high school administrator, teacher, or coach of the student, regardless of the student’s age (even if the student is over 16 years old) cannot have sex with the student. All that is required for a statutory rape arrest is that the student is enrolled at the same school as the perpetrator. In addition, any person at least twenty years of age who assumes a “position of power,” may be guilty of statutory rape if the victim is under the age of 18. Connecticut courts have found “positions of power” in many situations, including when the accused is a volunteer or occupational supervisor or a lawyer.
- Mentally Challenged or Incapacitated Victims. Finally, one other category of people who are protected by Connecticut statutory rape laws are people who are so mentally incapacitated or physically helpless that they are unable to knowingly consent to sexual intercourse. These victims include people afflicted with Alzheimer’s, paralysis and Down’s syndrome.
No. As top Stamford lawyers who handle rape cases will tell you, consent is usually not a defense to 53a-70 Statutory Rape. The premise for statutory rape crimes is that a person is not capable of consenting to sexual intercourse until they reach a certain age. In Connecticut, a person reaches the age of consent when he or she turns sixteen years old. The statutory rape laws do not contain a parental exception, which would allow the parents to consent to the sexual relationship for their child. Instead, Connecticut has placed the power of consent solely in the person engaging in the sexual conduct.Penalties for Statutory Rape
Sexual Assault in the Second Degree / Statutory Rape in Connecticut is a Class B felony if the victim is under 16 years of age. A Class B felony is punishable by up to 20 years in jail, probation and a maximum $15,000 fine. If the victim is over 16 years of age but a special relationship exists, then the crime is charged as a Class C felony. A Class C felony is punishable by up to 10 years in jail, probation and a maximum $10,000 fine. Any person found guilty of statutory rape must serve at least 9 months in jail.
Connecticut courts punish sexual acts committed against victims under the age of 13 extremely seriously. A person who engages in sexual intercourse or oral sex with a minor under the age of 13 must serve a mandatory 5 years in jail. If the victim is 10 years of age or younger, then the accused must serve a mandatory 10 years in jail. With mandatory jail time and years of probation at stake, it’s clear that Connecticut does not take the crime of statutory rape lightly. Therefore, if you are charged with statutory rape under C.G.S. 53a-71, then you need to contact a top Stamford Connecticut criminal attorney to discuss your options in crafting the best defense for your case.Statutory Rape Concerns at Local Colleges, Prep Schools & Private Schools
The age requirements for Statutory Rape in Connecticut are very concerning to parents of teenaged boys who are 18-year-old rising seniors. All too often we see 18-year-old rising seniors get arrested in Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, New Canaan for statutory rape and Second Degree Sexual Assault for engaging in sexual contact and intercourse with 14-year-old rising freshman. While many states have extended their safe harbor laws to 4 years, Connecticut has refused to do so, making it a felony (punishable by 9 months of mandatory minimum jail time) for an 18 year old to have sex with a 14 year old. It can make any parent of a teenaged boy in Connecticut have nightmares. That’s why high school and college students in Connecticut need to be particularly vigilant when engaging in sexual contact with teenage girls.Can you get the Accelerated Rehabilitation First Time Offenders Program for Statutory Rape?
Generally speaking, you cannot apply for the Pre-Trial Accelerated Rehabilitation First Time Offenders program for 53a-71 statutory rape charges, with one exception: under CGS 53a-71(a)(1), if you are less than four years older than the victim, a court can grant an application for Accelerated Rehabilitation if it deems it appropriate. It is therefore important that you speak with any of the best Darien or Greenwich criminal lawyers attorneys today to understand your options in applying for the Accelerated Rehabilitation program while facing Statutory Rape charges.Be Careful of Being Accused of Conspiracy to Commit Statutory Rape
Even if you do not actively engage in the actual act of statutory rape, you can still be charged with conspiracy to commit statutory rape. You can be arrested in Stamford, Greenwich or Darien for conspiracy if you agree with another person to commit a felony. Charges for conspiracy to commit statutory rape may exist when a person agrees to drive a friend and the victim home. Even if the driver does not participate in the act, he may still be charged with conspiracy to commit statutory rape. As an example, if a victim under the age of consent performs oral sex on a friend in the backseat of a car, then the driver can be arrested for conspiracy to commit statutory rape. All conspiracy requires is an agreement between one or more individuals, intent, and an overt act in furtherance of the conspiracy. And when accusations of statutory rape are made, police will err on the side of arresting everyone involved in the hopes of pressuring someone to flip and provide inculpatory information on the other participants.The Other Degrees of Sexual Assault & Rape in Connecticut
Know that statutory rape represents just one subsection of the Connecticut sexual assault laws. Connecticut Law defines sexual assault as non-consensual sex with another person. A person may be charged with varying degrees of sexual assault depending on the circumstances. In general, you can be arrested for CGS 53a-73a Sexual Assault in the Fourth Degree in Connecticut—the lowest level sexual assault offense—if you intentionally subject another to unwanted “sexual contact,” and the other person is under age, unable to give consent, or has a special relationship with the accused person. “Sexual contact” is the touching of any intimate parts for the purpose of sexual gratification of the actor or humiliation of the victim (click here to read the statutory definition). This is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail, probation and a $2,000 fine. If you use any type of force or the threat of force to compel another person to submit to sexual contact, then you can be charged with CGS 53a-42a Sexual Assault in the Third Degree.
Connecticut law charges non-consensual oral or sexual intercourse as Second Degree Sexual Assault. If you use force or the threat of force in compelling someone to engage in sexual intercourse against their will, then you can be arrested for First Degree Sexual Assault under CGS 53a-70. You can also be arrested in Connecticut for First Degree Sexual Assault if you engage in sexual intercourse with another person and that other person is under the age of 13, and you are more than two years older than the victim. It should be noted that if you use a firearm as a threat of force, cause serious physical injury to the victim, or create a risk of death to the victim, then the charges can be upgraded to higher-level felonies.Sex Offender Registration
One life-changing consequence of a Connecticut sex crime conviction is obligatory sex offender registration. If you are found guilty of statutory rape or any other sex offense, then you will usually be required to register your name, fingerprints, physical description, criminal history, residence address, email address and any additional online messaging service with the Commission of Emergency Services and Public Protection. These requirements are further explained in CGS 54-251. Those required to register must stay on this list for a minimum of 10 years, and some convicts are even required to remain on the list for their entire lifetime. It will be your responsibility to update any change of residence, physical description, name, email address or additional online presence to the Commission as soon as possible. In addition, if you obtain any employment at a school or in a vocation actively involved with children, then you must notify the Commission if you have been convicted of statutory rape. You will also be placed on a National Sex Offender Public Registry Site.Sex Offender Probation
The Connecticut Department of Probation monitors and supervises all convicted sex offenders who are on probation. Connecticut has designed a probationary program tailored to sex offenders that can be particularly grueling and onerous if you are not represented by a top Stamford criminal lawyer prior to beginning your Connecticut sex offender probation. During the probationary period, offenders will be assigned to a probation officer who enforces various conditions, including weekly office reporting, home and field visits, job approval, computer and internet usage audits, and enforcement of registry requirements. In addition to a probation officer, offenders are provided with psychiatric treatment, including an evaluation to determine the individual’s needs, weekly attendance at groups and family education programs, and even periodic polygraph and lie detector tests. Many sex offender convicts have said that sex offender probation can be worse than jail so make sure you know what you are getting into before pleading out to a sex crime. The court may attach additional conditions to the probationary term as is deemed appropriate, so play close attention to the judge’s advisory during any plea bargain.Fighting Your Statutory Rape Charges
Fighting your statutory rape charges in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Darien or elsewhere in Connecticut requires a high level of diligence to investigate all of the circumstances surrounding your Connecticut statutory rape arrest. This includes scrutinizing police reports and victim statements to determine whether a trial or plea deal can provide you with the best resolution of your case. With severe jail time and penalties at stake, it is important to have all of the information available to you before deciding the most effective way to defend your case. The sexual assault lawyers at Mark Sherman Law attack a Connecticut statutory rape sexual assault case from every angle. We not only carefully scrutinize the police reports and investigation, but we also dig deep into the accuser’s life, analyzing all of their witness statements, social media and cell phone records when available. When appropriate, we will ask the Superior Court to open up the personal life of the accuser—asking the court to provide us copies of their counseling records, work emails, and personal emails and text messaging if possible. We have found that the best defense is an aggressive offense and with your life on the line, we will not stop asking questions until we have all the answers.Contact an Experienced Connecticut Statutory Rape Lawyer at Mark Sherman Law Today
So if you are arrested in Darien, Greenwich, New Canaan or Stamford for Statutory Rape or Sexual Assault in the Second Degree, contact a Mark Sherman Law criminal attorney to learn how we can help you. We have years of experience in handling these cases and are ready to assist you at any stage of your statutory rape case. If you have not been arrested, then we will work aggressively to prevent an arrest. And if you have been arrested for statutory rape, then our goal is to get the case dismissed as soon as possible. Call us today at (203) 358-4700. We are available 24-7 to take your call.Related Links: