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Sex Crimes Increase in Harris County—But Defendants Can Still Fight the Charges

According to reporting by Community Impact, Harris County saw a significant rise in sexual assault cases in 2021 compared to the prior year. In some categories, reported crimes increased almost 100% compared to 2020. With prosecutors taking these crimes more seriously, anyone accused of a Houston sex crime should quickly reach out to an experienced defense attorney.

A Jump in Reported Sex Crimes

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office presented numbers for four categories of sex crimes: aggravated assault, sexual assault, indecent exposure, and indecent assault. Comparing 2021 to 2020, the office found:

  • Aggravated assault increased from 19 crimes in 2020 to 26 in 2022
  • Sexual assault increased from 561 in 2020 to 614 in 2021
  • Indecent exposure grew from 197 in 2020 to 248 in 2021
  • Indecent assault nearly doubled: from 51 in 2020 to 98 in 2021

Although sexual assault increased roughly 10%, indecent exposure exploded nearly 50%. These are big jumps.

Of course, it’s hard to tell whether there has been an uptick in the number of crimes committed or whether people are more likely to report incidents. According to the sheriff’s office, about 90% of sexual assaults go unreported.

It’s Possible to Beat Sexual Assault Charges

An accusation is easy to make. And an accusation doesn’t always result in criminal charges.

A perfect illustration is the Deshaun Watson case. Over the past 18 months, nearly two dozen women have accused the former Houston Texans quarterback of sexual misconduct and sexual assault. Most of these women have brought civil suits, but the Houston Police Department also investigated and interviewed the alleged victims before turning over evidence to state’s prosecutors. In both Harris and Brazoria Counties, prosecutors presented evidence to grand juries.

Nevertheless, both grand juries refused to indict Watson. Given the nature of grand jury proceedings, we don’t know the precise reasons why.

Some supporters think Watson was targeted for a shake down. But the explanation could be more innocent: lack of supporting evidence. Many sex crimes involve only “he said, she said” situations, where there are no third-party witnesses or other incriminating evidence, like surveillance video. A million accusations aren’t worth a hill of beans without some incriminating evidence backing them up.

Of course, Watson has considerable resources to spend on his defense, but that doesn’t explain the lack of indictments. Only the state presents evidence at the grand jury stage, so jurors clearly felt the evidence was lacking. Others think Watson benefited due to his celebrity. But prosecutors still presented evidence to a grand jury and left it in their hands whether to issue an indictment.

What the Watson saga illustrates is that a sex crime accusation isn’t a conviction. Anyone can fight back against sex crimes allegations with the right attorney who reviews the evidence and points out its shortcomings.

Contact Tad Nelson Today

Our law firm can help anyone accused of a sex crime defend their reputation and fight for their freedom. To schedule a confidential consultation, please contact our law firm today. We will work with you to defend your name and build the strongest defense possible.