In Texas, one of the most serious offenses that a person can be charged with is Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child. Specifically, Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child under 14 in Fort Worth carries a punishment range of 25 years to 99 years or life. To prove the assault was continuous, there must be evidence that sexual assault occurred repeatedly for a period of more than thirty days.
Texas Penal Code 21.02 lays out the elements for Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child. Jurors do not have to agree on 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.
This offense is considered to be a super aggravate offense. The punishment range is 25 to 99 years or life in prison. Unlike even regular aggravated offenses, there is no early release for a person who is found guilty to Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child. (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.) Additionally, a subsequent conviction is punished by life in prison without the possibility of parole.
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.
There is an affirmative defense to the charge of continuous sexual assault of a child under 17 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 is no limitation in Texas on when a continuous sexual assault of a child allegation can be raised.
If you have been charged with Continuous Sexual Assault of a Child Under 14 in Fort Worth, call us today to discuss your case. While our primary office is in Fort Worth and we will meet clients in our Dallas office, we handle serious sexual assault cases throughout the state.