Aside from capital murder cases, crimes involving innocent children are arguably the most serious offenses in Texas. Murder and continuous sexual abuse are both first degree felonies. While first-degree felonies generally have a punishment sentence of 5 – 99 years in prison, for an individual convicted of continuous sexual abuse, the minimum sentence is 25 years in prison. Further, if you are charged with continuous sexual abuse then you are not probation eligible and, by statute, the judge cannot place you on deferred adjudication. A second conviction for continuous sexual abuse is punishable by life in prison without the possibility for parole.
A person will receive a charge of Continuous Sexual Abuse of a Child if it is alleged that:
1. during a period that is 30 or more days in duration, the person commits two or more acts of sexual abuse, regardless of whether the acts of sexual abuse are committed against one or more victims; and
2. at the time of the commission of each of the acts of sexual abuse, the actor is 17 years of age or older and the victim is a child younger than 14 years of age.
The statute (and punishment) of continuous sexual abuse is aimed at sex offenders facing multiple allegations. Its stringency seeks to ensure that children are not unfairly put in danger and/or abused for long durations early on in their lives, especially those under the age of 14. As such, the crimes of Indecency with a Child, Sexual Assault, and Aggravated Sexual Assault are all considered “acts of sexual abuse” under this offense. The offense also includes crimes with the intent of sexual abuse, although it may not have occurred, so both burglary and kidnapping with the intent to sexually abuse a victim can result in a charge.
Persons accused of sexually abusing a child (over whatever period of time) routinely face a social stigma as soon as he or she receives a charge. Although an individual is supposed to be “innocent until proven guilty,” the harsh reality is that fighting such allegations is an uphill battle. Furthermore, the offense of continuous sexual abuse, in particular, allows the State to circumvent limitations on evidence and character reference due to its consideration of a number of allegations, and so, even extraneous matters may count towards the assessment of your case. Moreover, as it’s explained in detail in Evidentiary Issues, jury unanimity is not required to convict someone charged of continuous sexual abuse. Accordingly, being accused of this offense is a very serious matter. That’s why you need an experienced attorney on your side.
Paul Doyle is experienced in continuous sexual abuse cases. He knows the layout of the State’s investigation and how to deploy his own investigation in order to uncover all the flaws that generally coincide with sexual abuse cases. This can be done by obtaining school records, CPS records, obtaining all the statements made by the child, and DNA forensics. Never stand idly by when facing these allegations. Contact Paul today.