You generally commit the crime of aggravated sexual abuse under federal law if you force another person to engage in a sex act. The crime can be charged in a variety of different contexts, and a conviction can result in years and perhaps life in federal prison. If you or a loved one is facing an aggravated sexual abuse charge, please contact an experienced federal crimes attorney now.

What is the Federal Crime of Aggravated Sexual Abuse?

18 U.S.C. 2241 is the federal statute that defines the crime of aggravated sexual abuse. Note that this offense is a federal crime prosecuted in federal court. This is opposed to a crime brought under the criminal laws of Washington state that gets prosecuted in state court.

A federal prosecutor can file a charge of aggravated sexual abuse in a variety of different contexts. Some of the more common include when a person:

  1. Knowingly causes another person to engage in a sex act by the use of force,
  2. Knowingly causes another person to engage in a sex act by threatening the person with death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping,
  3. Engages in a sex act with another person after knowingly rendering that person unconscious, and
  4. Engages in a sex act with another person after knowingly giving that person mind altering drugs or intoxicants.

Note that a person can also be charged with this crime if he/she crosses state lines with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a person under the age of 12. Prosecutors often bring this charge in internet sex crime cases.

What are the penalties?

The federal statute on aggravated sexual abuse says that the crime can be punished by:

  • Fines, and/or
  • Imprisonment in federal prison for any term of years or life.

The specific penalties for the crime will range depending on the facts of every individual case.

With regards to aggravated sexual abuse of a minor, the crime is punishable by 30 years to life in federal prison.

Note that offenders guilty of aggravated sexual abuse often have to register as a sex offender.

Can a Defendant Raise a Legal Defense?

Yes. People charged with aggravated sexual abuse can contest the charge with a legal defense. A common defense is for a defendant to show that the “victim” consented to the sex act. An offender can also challenge a charge by showing that the authorities somehow violated his/her constitutional rights. For example, it’s possible that law enforcement:

  • Arrested a person without probable cause,
  • Coerced a confession, or
  • Arrested someone after conducting an unlawful search and seizure.

Contact Black & Askerov for Help

While a defendant can raise a legal defense to challenge a sexual abuse charge, it will take a skilled criminal defense attorney to raise the best defense. The experienced federal crime attorneys at Black & Askerov have over 30 years of combined experience defending clients on various sex charges. Our Seattle criminal defense lawyers also have the skill and commitment that makes all the difference in these cases. Our attorneys will fight tooth and nail for you at every step of your case. Contact us now to get the legal help you deserve!