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What is Aggravated Indecent Assault in Pennsylvania?

September 10, 2019

By van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim

In the middle of July 2019, a Pennsylvania man was arrested in New Jersey for allegedly raping a girl repeatedly near Bethlehem. He was sent back to Pennsylvania and is now facing a total of 130 charges. Of those charges, he faces 20 counts of aggravated indecent assault.

Pennsylvania has many laws pertaining to sexual assault and sexual offenses. Aggravated indecent assault though, is one that does not receive the attention of more common sexual offenses, such as rape, which is a separate charge the man is also facing. So, what is aggravated indecent assault in Pennsylvania?

Aggravated Indecent Assault Defined

Aggravated indecent assault is defined under 18 PA. C.S.A. Section 3125. This statute defines aggravated indecent assault as engaging in penetration of a person’s genitals or anus with any part of a person’s body. The statute excludes penetration when it is done for a medical or hygienic reason, or as part of a law enforcement procedure. To prove aggravated indecent assault occurred, the prosecution must show the penetration took place under one of these circumstances:

  • Without the victim’s consent
  • By force, or if the perpetrator threatens force
  • When the victim is not conscious or unaware of the penetration
  • When a person has given the victim drugs or other substances that would prevent them from resisting
  • When the victim does not have the mental capacity to provide consent
  • When the victim is 13 years old or younger
  • When the victim is 16 years old or younger, the perpetrator is at least four years older than the victim, and the victim and perpetrator are not married

Aggravated indecent assault differs from indecent assault. Indecent assault is defined by the Pennsylvania statutes as physical contact in a sexual manner without a person’s consent. There is no penetration requirement, as there is with aggravated indecent assault.

Penalties for Aggravated Indecent Assault

All sexual offenses are very serious crimes in Pennsylvania. As such, for those convicted, the penalties are harsh.

If a victim is over the age of 13, aggravated indecent assault is considered a felony of the second degree. Those convicted face a potential maximum sentence of ten years in state prison. When the victim is under the age of 13, the offense is considered a felony of the first degree. This has a maximum penalty of 20 years in state prison.

Under Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law, those convicted of aggravated indecent assault must register with SORNA, the states’ sexual offender registry. This is a lifetime registration, meaning a person convicted will appear on the registry for the rest of the accused’s life. Another requirement of appearing on the registry is that a person convicted must notify the Pennsylvania State Police any time they move, change jobs, or even take a vacation.

Charged with a Sex Offense? Call a Pennsylvania Criminal Defense Attorney for Help

Facing charges of aggravated indecent assault, or any other sex offense, is very scary. Accused individuals often understand the devastating consequences that come with a conviction, and fear for their future. An Allentown criminal defense attorney can help alleviate those fears.

At van der Veen, Hartshorn, Levin & Lindheim, we are committed to helping those accused beat the charges and retain their freedom. If you’ve been charged, you need the best possible defense, and we have the experience to provide it. Call us today at (215) 486-0123 or contact us online so we can begin reviewing your case.



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