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An Overview of Sex Crimes in Pennsylvania

November 03, 2020

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

A recent story broke in which a Pennsylvania man was arrested for allegedly meeting up with minors to engage in sexual acts. The man is now facing charges of second-degree rape, second-degree criminal sex act, and second-degree disseminating indecent material to a minor, among others. The story is very difficult to hear and also highlights the number of offenses Pennsylvania law specifically prohibits. Below are some of the most common sex offenses in the state, and the penalties associated with them.

Common Sex Offenses Under Pennsylvania Law

State law provides definitions for many different types of sex crimes. The most common of these are as follows:

  • Rape: Any time a person uses force or the threat of force to obtain vaginal, oral, or anal sexual intercourse, they may face charges of rape. Sometimes, the courts will consider penetration with a foreign object as rape, although other times this offense is charged as involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.
  • Indecent exposure: The offense of indecent exposure is charged when one person exposes their genitals in a place where others are present, they are on public property, or the act is intended to offend, alarm, or affront. If the victim comes into contact with semen, urine, or feces as a result of the exposure, the offense is upgraded to aggravated indecent exposure.
  • Sexual assault: It is understandable why the terms sexual assault and rape are often confused, as the statutes are very similar. Sexual assault occurs when one person forces another to have sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse in a manner that is not covered under the rape definition. Other types of sexual assault include unwanted touching and other forms of harassment.

The above list includes only the most common sex offenses under Pennsylvania law. Other sex crimes include internet sex crimes, failure to register as a sex offender, child molestation, and child pornography are other charges a person may face.

Possible Penalties Associated with Conviction

Sex crimes are considered some of the most serious offenses a person could commit in Pennsylvania. Even being convicted of a misdemeanor will result in at least some jail time. The maximum jail sentence for a first-degree misdemeanor is five years, while a conviction for a second-degree misdemeanor carries a maximum sentence of two years in jail.

Felony convictions carry much harsher penalties. Third-degree felonies in the state, the least severe, still have a potential jail sentence of up to seven years. The most serious type of felony, a first-degree offense, carries a maximum prison time of 20 years in jail.

Call Our Allentown Criminal Defense Lawyers Today

If you have been charged with any sex crime, it is critical that you speak to an Allentown criminal defense attorney today. At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, we understand how stressful it is to face these charges, and we also know the defenses to use in your case. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 to arrange a free consultation with one of our skilled attorneys.


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