The term “sex crimes” is usually associated with rape or violent assault. But sex crimes, particularly those involving school-age children, include a wide category of offenses, many of which might seem benign to you. There is nothing benign, however, about the serious effects of a sex crimes conviction.
Forcible rape is a crime regardless of the ages of the alleged victim and the accused assailant. Statutory rape is an entirely different matter. Under Texas law, if a minor who is age 17 or younger has sexual intercourse with a person who is at least three years older, the latter is guilty of “sexual assault,” regardless of whether or not the minor gave consent. So, for instance, if an 18-year-old senior has sex with a 15-year-old freshman, the senior may be tried for sexual assault, even if couple were in a voluntary relationship. As a matter of law, a minor cannot consent to sexual intercourse. And if the minor is under the age of 14, any person who has sexual intercourse with them is guilty of “aggravated sexual assault.”
Even if there is no intercourse, a person may still be guilty of criminal indecency if he or she “engages in sexual contact” with a person under the age of 17. Sexual contact includes any “touching through clothing” of a minor’s sexual organs “with the intent to arouse or gratify  sexual desire.” This means that “making out,” heavy petting, and other behaviors commonly associated with teenagers can be classified as a sex crime depending on the relative age of the parties.
Not all sex crimes require a victim. In Texas it is a misdemeanor offense to expose one’s own anus or genitals “with intent to arouse or gratify.” While a misdemeanor may not seem that serious, a conviction can still brand a person as a sex offender for life. This can have tragic consequences: In 2013, an Alabama teenager committed suicide after learning he could face indecent exposure charges for streaking a football game.
We are all familiar with “teen romp” movies where the boys use a peephole to look into the girls’ shower room. This may seem like innocent fun, but in Texas it is considered “voyeurism,” which is a minimum of a Class B misdemeanor. Indeed, voyeurism can rise to the level of a state jail felony if the “peeping toms” spy on a girl under the age of 14.
Internet Sex Crimes
Today’s teens are addicted to their smart phones. This can lead to serious legal problems when teenagers “sext” or send indecent images of others (or even themselves) that may be considered “child pornography” under the law. In one such case, an incredulous judge noted that a teenage defendant was “the victim, the perpetrator, and the accomplice,” after being charged with a crime for sending a naked photo of herself to someone else.
Need Legal Advice About Sex Crimes?
Unfortunately, reports about sex crimes in schools continue to increase. That is why, if you or your child face investigation or formal charges, especially if they are false accusations, it is essential you speak with a Galveston sex crimes attorney who can advise you of your rights. Contact the Law Offices of Tad Nelson & Associates if you require immediate legal assistance from a skilled Houston sex crimes attorney.