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What is Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in Texas?

By Benson Varghese

Last Updated: December 31st, 2022
Published on: December 31st, 2022
Super aggravated sexual assault of a child

What is super aggravated sexual assault of a child in Texas?

Super aggravated sexual assault of a child is one of the most serious criminal offenses in Texas – and the state tries to punish it as such.

The term “super” refers to the enhanced punishment that comes with a conviction. Super aggravated sexual assault of a child occurs when the victim is either under age six or if the offender has previously been convicted of a violent sexual assault of a victim under age 14. The “super” charge can also apply to cases of continuous child sexual abuse or if the offender has previous convictions for child abuse or aggravated sexual assault of a child.

The enhanced penalty includes a minimum of 25 years in prison, lifetime sex offender registration, and no chance for parole. The aim is to protect younger children and to discourage first-time offenders from repeating the crime.

If you are facing super aggravated sexual assault charges in North Texas, your life and livelihood is on the line. You need an experienced criminal defense attorney who has experience fighting serious sex charges. The criminal defense team at Varghese Summersett has decades of combined experience handling cases of this magnitude.

In this post, we’ll explain what differentiates super aggravated sexual assault of a child, what prosecutors must prove, and the punishment range if convicted.

Why did Texas add enhanced punishment for aggravated sexual assault of a child?

In 2007, Texas lawmakers passed House Bill 8, which is known as the Jessica Lunsford Act, in tribute to a 9-year-old Florida girl who was kidnapped, raped, and murdered by a convicted sex offender.

Jessica Lunsford Act

The enhanced “super” charge was codified in Texas’ existing aggravated sexual assault statute to create a new punishment scheme under §22.021(f) in cases where the victim is under the age of six at the time of the offense or if the victim was younger than 14 and there was an additional aggravating factor as described in §22.021(a)(2)(A).

The aggravating factors include:

  • Causes serious bodily injury or attempts to cause the death of the victim;
  • By words or acts, or words or acts in the presence of the child, places the victim in fear that any person will become the victim of sex trafficking or that death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping will be imminently inflicted on any person;
  • Uses or exhibits a deadly weapon;
  • Acts in concert with another;
  • Or, with intent to facilitate the offense, administers any substance capable of impairing the victim’s ability to appraise the nature of the act or resist the act.

The change made the range of punishment the same as continuous sexual abuse of a child: 25 years to life with no parole and no deferred adjudication. Without the “super” enhancement, the range of prison time is 5 to 99 years.

What does super aggravated assault of a child mean in Texas?

Sexual assault of a child in Texas occurs anytime an adult engages in sexual activity with anyone under the age of consent (under 17 in Texas). The charge can be elevated to super aggravated sexual assault of a child if the child is younger than six at the time of the offense or under the age of 14 at the time of the offense and another aggravating factor was involved. For example, if a deadly weapon or date rape drug was used.

There is no probation, deferred adjudication, or parole for a super aggravated sexual assault conviction.

Specifically, the Texas Penal Code says aggravated sexual assault occurs when a person intentionally or knowingly “causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person’s consent;

(ii) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor without that person’s consent; or

(iii) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person’s consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor,

or regardless of whether the person knows the age of the child at the time of the offense, the crime occurs if the person intentionally or knowingly:

(i) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;

(ii) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;

(iii) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;

(iv) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or

(v) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor

What is the punishment for super aggravated sexual assault of a child in Texas?

The state considers super-aggravated sexual assault one of the most serious crimes and seeks to punish it as such. It is punishable by 25 years to life in prison with no possibility for parole sentence and lifetime sex offender registration.

Here are the punishment ranges in Texas for three closely-related sexual assault of a child offenses:

Crime Classification Punishment
Super aggravated sexual assault of a child 1st-degree aggravated felony Minimum of 25 years to life in prison, maximum fine of $10,000, lifetime sex offender registration, no parole
Aggravated sexual assault of a child or adult 1st-degree felony 5 to 99 years in prison, maximum fine of $10,000, lifetime sex offender registration
Sexual assault of a child or adult 2nd-degree felony 2 to 20 years in prison, maximum fine of $10,000, lifetime sex offender registration

What does the prosecution have to prove in a super aggravated sexual assault of a child case?

Prosecutors must prove the victim was under six years of age at the time of the alleged offense or that the defendant caused serious bodily injury or attempted to cause death; placed the complainant in fear that death, serious bodily injury or kidnapping would be inflicted on any person; threatened in complainant’s presence to cause death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping of any person; used or exhibited a deadly weapon; acted in concert with another person, who also sexually assaulted the complainant; or, used a “date rape” in the commencement of the crime.

In cases involving older children, prosecutors must prove the complainant was under 14 years of age at the time of the alleged offense.

Does Texas have a statute of limitations for super aggravated sexual assault of a child?

No, there are no statutes of limitations for aggravated sexual assault accusations under Texas Penal Code Sec. 22.021(a)(1)(B).

Recent Texas cases of super aggravated sexual assault of a child

  • In Sept. 2021, a 40-year-old Katy man was sentenced to 50 years in prison after originally being charged with multiple sex abuse crimes, including super aggravated sexual assault of a child.
  • In June 2022, a 27-year-old man was arrested in College Station and charged with two counts of sexual assault of a child and one count of super aggravated sexual assault of a child.
  • In Sept. 2022, a 36-year-old Travis County man was convicted of two counts of super aggravated sexual assault of a child.
  • In Nov. 2022, an 18-year-old San Antonio man was charged with super aggravated sexual assault of a child after Canadian border agents found obscene images of his two-year-old relative on his phone.

Facing super aggravated assault of a child in Texas? Call Varghese Summersett.

A conviction for super-aggravated sexual assault could mean life in prison without the possibility for parole. Even a lesser penalty could put you behind bars for decades and forever alter your life and your family. If you believe such accusations are coming your way, contact an experienced sex crimes attorney immediately. Don’t wait for the police to come knocking on your door.

Varghese Summersett handles high-stakes, high-profile cases professionally and with discretion. We’ve negotiated hundreds of sex offenses and always seek the best possible results with diligent preparation, thorough analysis of the state’s case, and careful negotiations. If necessary, we’re confident taking these cases to trial. Our reputation has been hard-earned, and the results speak for themselves. Call us for a free consultation at 817-203-2220.

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What is Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child in Texas?
2022-12-31T20:08:26-06:00
Varghese Summersett PLLC
Varghese Summersett PLLC