Sexual Battery + Laws, Charges & Statute of Limitations

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There are many different sexual crimes, one of which is sexual battery. What brings all the sexual crimes together is that a sexual act is forced against them without their consent. Sexual battery is the lesser form of this, meaning that no sexual penetration or intercourse took place. However, it is still a criminal act that carries significant consequences. It generally describes the act of touching someone without their consent, or making them touch someone else, in order to achieve sexual arousal.

Sexual Battery Laws

Sexual battery is covered under 18 U.S. Code Section 2241 – Aggravated Sexual Abuse, which states that it is a form of sexual content achieved by force or threat, or by any other means in which the person did not give consent or is unable to give consent. Special laws are in place involving sexual battery with children (those under the age of 12) and minors (those under the age of 16).

Sexual Battery Crimes & Charges

The crucial element in all sex crimes is lack of consent. When someone is not able to consent, or has not given consent, and sexual touch happens, sexual battery takes place. If intercourse or penetration also happens, the crime becomes more severe. A number of people are incapable of giving consent. These include:

  • Children up to the age of 15
  • Those with developmental disabilities
  • Those with mental illnesses
  • Those who are incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, who are unconscious for whatever reason, or who are physically helpless

Sexual Battery Punishment

Generally speaking, sexual battery is not as serious a crime as rape, which is why the penalties tend to be lighter. However, if sexual battery happens with a deadly weapon, if a personal injury is sustained, or if there is more than one perpetrator, the crime will almost always become a felony.

Sentences usually include at least one year in prison. Some states have a minimum sentence guideline, others do not allow parole. Generally, the judge has a lot of discretion in terms of what sentence should be imposed, and whether or not some of the prison sentence can be replaced with probation. If no weapon is involved, most courts will see the crime as a misdemeanor, meaning time in jail (up to one year) can be imposed, but not any prison time.

Besides imprisonment, a number of other penalties can be imposed, such as:

  • Treatment
  • Sexual offender registration

Sexual Battery Sentencing Guidelines

Judges in sexual battery charges will have to make a number of considerations. They must determine that the sexual act was in fact non-consensual. Additionally, they will have to take into consideration the mental state of both the victim and the perpetrator. Past criminal history and the age of the victim are also important factors in determining the correct punishment.

Sexual Battery Statute of Limitations

Various sexual assault crimes have different statutes of limitations in different states. Additionally, some states do hold a DNA exception in sexual offenses, although the exact rules around their DNA exceptions may vary as well. For instance, if a perpetrator is identified through DNA evidence after the normal statute of limitations has lapsed, they may toll it. Twenty seven states have a type of DNA exception in place, meaning that the time limit actually varied. There are eight states that have no statute of limitations in place at all for all sexual crimes.

If the sexual battery is classed as a misdemeanor, the statute of limitations is usually set at three years. However, it is possible for this to be tolled if the defendant was out of state, imprisoned, or out of the country. DNA exceptions can lead to further tolling. Some states have statutes in place dictating that if the victim is under the age of 18, the statute does not start rolling until they reach 18 years.

Sexual Battery Cases

  • A former high school teacher from Colerain has previously been convicted of sexual battery, for which she was sentenced to two years in jail, of which she served six months. This was following an inappropriate relationship with a student. She is now asking for this conviction to be overturned. (Fox 19 Now)
  • A teacher from Liberty County, 55 year old Antony Joseph, was arrested for alleged sexual relations with a student. The teacher has been charged with three counts of lewd or lascivious molestation, as well as two counts of sexual battery. (WJHG)
  • A previous employee of Pulaski’s County Sheriff’s Office has been arrested on sexual battery and impersonating a police officer charges. Seventy three year old Robert Carr is already a registered sexual offender, having been convicted of sexual battery in the past. It is alleged that Carr badged a woman, alleging that he was a retired deputy sheriff, which is untrue. He then proceeded, allegedly, to touch the woman in an inappropriate manner. (WDBJ 7)
  • A man from Smyrna has been arrested after allegations of sexual battery on a minor. James Ronald Baughn, from James County, VA, is alleged to have had inappropriate relations with a child under the age of 13. He has been charged with sexual battery and with simple assault. (Smyrna-Vinings Patch)
  • Jessie Prestage, a Morton resident, is facing sexual battery charges. A warrant for his arrest was issued according to authorities, but Prestage handed himself in before he had to be arrested. He has now had a first court appearance and he has been placed under a felony bond. Sixty nine year old Prestage has been charged with two counts of sexual battery. The incidents took place in 1992 and 1993, providing an excellent example of how the statute of limitations can toll. Interestingly, Prestage is the father of David Prestage, who is a Scott County school bus driver. David Prestage was arrested one week prior on sexual battery charges. It is not known if and how the two cases are related. (MS News Now)

Sexual Battery Laws by State

Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Quick Links & References

Geoffrey Nathan, Esq.

About Geoffrey Nathan, Esq.

Geoffrey G Nathan is a top federal crimes lawyer and Chief Editor of FederalCharges.com. He is a licensed attorney in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts since 1988, admitted to practice in both Federal and State courts. If you have questions about your federal case he can help by calling 877.472.5775.