A charge of continuous sexual assault of a child under 14 is the most serious offense an individual can be charged with outside of capital murder. Let that sink in for a minute. Other than capital murder – which is punishable by the death penalty – this is the most severe criminal charge in the state of Texas. That’s why it is absolutely imperative to call our firm today and speak to a Fort Worth child sex crimes attorney if a detective is trying to speak with you or if an allegation has been made.
In the simplest terms, Continuous Sexual Assault Child is an allegation that a person sexually assaulted a child or children under the age of 14 and at least two of the acts took place at least 30 days apart.
This offense is considered to be a super aggravated offense. Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 carries a punishment range from 25 years to 99 years or life in prison without the possibility for parole. That means if a defendant is convicted of continuous sexual assault of a child under 14, the punishment starts at 25 years and goes up from there – and there is no early release from prison.
Generally, for aggravated offenses, a person is eligible for parole in half time, and for non-aggravated offenses, a person is eligible for parole in quarter time. A second conviction of continuous sexual assault of a child is punished by life in prison without the possibility of parole.
For more information, please reference Penal Code § 21.02.
Once an outcry has been made, Child Protective Services (CPS) is likely the first agency that is going to reach out to you, although occasionally first contact is made by a detective. It is imperative that you do not speak to either of them and contact an experienced Fort Worth Continuous Sexual Abuse attorney immediately instead. Even if you are innocent of the charges against you, nothing good is going to come out of your conversation with CPS or law enforcement. You also need to talk to us about what your lack of cooperation will mean in regards to your own kids and your day to day life.
If you are reading this article after you have already talked to an agent, contact us to discuss the road ahead, what to expect, and the possible outcomes of your case. We will also help you prepare for the arrest, arraignment, and bond process.
Texas Penal Code 21.02 lays out the elements for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child. It’s important to point out that jurors do not have to agree that the same acts of sexual abuse occurred. The jury must unanimously agree that at least any two acts of sexual abuse alleged in the indictment occurred. The State can also allege the abuse involved different victims.
Again, a jury deliberating on this offense does not need to agree on:
It is worth noting that probation is not an option because the minimum sentence is 25 years and only sentences of 10 years or less may be probated. Statutorily, deferred adjudication is also not available for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child in Texas. More specifically, pursuant to Texas Penal Code Ann. § 21.02(h), the minimum punishment for continuous sexual abuse of a child is 25 years. Under Texas Code of Criminal Procedure 42.12, § 4(d)(1), a defendant is not eligible for jury recommended community supervision if the defendant is sentenced to a term of imprisonment that exceeds 10 years.
Compared to a minimum of 25 years in prison, the collateral consequences of a continuous sexual assault of a child sentence may seem ancillary, but it’s important to understand that this charge also requires the defendant to register as a sex offender for life.
There are a number of defenses to Continuous Sexual Abuse charges. First and foremost, attacking the credibility of the allegations. This includes the outcry statement and statements obtained by CPS or police investigators. Our team of attorneys are former prosecutors with expertise in these cases. We will investigate biases and any reasons to lie, including coaching, recent discipline, transference, and issues with the other parent, including divorce proceedings. Our attorneys have handled a large number of these cases, both in pre-trial and trial settings. Call today to find out how we can help.
There is an affirmative defense to the charge of continuous sexual assault of a child under 14 in Texas. An affirmative defense is a defense that acknowledges the elements of the underlying offense but provides a means to avoid punishment. 21.02 (g) sets out the affirmative defense if the defendant and the alleged victim were not more than five years apart, no force or duress was used, and the defendant was not a sex offender.
Penal Code Section 21.02 went into effect on September 1, 2007, and only offenses that took place after that date can be prosecuted under this section. See Flores v. State, 13-12-00606-CR (Tex. App. Apr. 17, 2014).
Pursuant to Penal Code 12.01, there is no limitation in Texas on when a continuous sexual assault of a child allegation can be raised.
Why do individuals hire Varghese Summersett PLLC for defense against charges of continuous sexual assault of a minor in Fort Worth?