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A Sexual Assault Offense Glossary of Terms

Molest

The crime of sexual acts with children up to the age of 18, including touching of private parts, exposure of genitalia, taking of pornographic pictures, rape, inducement of sexual acts with the molester or with other children and variations of these acts by pedophiles. Molestation also applies to incest by a relative with a minor family member and any unwanted sexual acts with adults short of rape.

Rape

1) n. the crime of sexual intercourse (with actual penetration of a woman’s vagina with the man’s penis) without consent and accomplished through force, threat of violence or intimidation (such as a threat to harm a woman’s child, husband or boyfriend). What constitutes lack of consent usually includes saying “no” or being too drunk or drug-influenced for the woman to be able to either resist or consent, but a recent Pennsylvania case ruled that a woman must do more than say “no” on the bizarre theory that “no” does not always mean “don’t,” but a flirtatious come-on. “Date rape” involves rape by an acquaintance who refuses to stop when told to.

Defense attorneys often argue that there had to be physical resistance, but the modern view is that fear of harm and the relative strengths of the man and the woman are obvious deterrents to a woman fighting back. Any sexual intercourse with a child is rape and in most states sexual relations even with consent involving a girl 14 to 18 (with some variation on ages in a few states) is “statutory rape,” on the basis that the female is unable to give consent. 2) v. to have sexual intercourse with a female without her consent through force, violence, threat or intimidation, or with a girl under age. Technically, a woman can be charged with rape by assisting a man in the rape of another woman.

Dissatisfied with the typical prosecution of rape cases (in which the defense humiliates the accuser, and prosecutors are unable or unwilling to protect the woman from such tactics), women have been suing for civil damages for the physical and emotional damage caused by the rape, although too often the perpetrator has no funds. Protection services for rape victims have been developed by both public and private agencies. On the other side of the coin, there is the concern of law enforcement and prosecutors that women whose advances have been rejected by a man, or who have been caught in the act of consensual sexual intercourse may falsely cry “rape.”

Sexual Abuse

  1. The infliction of sexual contact upon a person by forcible compulsion
  2. The engaging in sexual contact with a person who is below a specified age or who is incapable of giving consent because of age or mental or physical incapacity
  3. The crime of engaging in or inflicting sexual abuse

Sexual Assault

Sexual contact usually that is forced upon a person without consent or inflicted upon a person who is incapable of giving consent (as because of age or physical or mental incapacity) or who places the assailant (as a doctor) in a position of trust.(see also rape).

Note: Sexual assault in its most serious forms (often classified as first degree sexual assault) involves nonconsensual sexual penetration. In its less serious forms it may be the equivalent of statutory rape.

Sodomy

Anglo-French sodomie sexual intercourse between men, from Old French, from Late Latin Sodoma Sodom, from the supposed homosexual practices of the men of the city in Genesis 19:1-11

: the crime of oral or anal sexual contact or penetration between persons or of sexual intercourse between a person and an animal

esp
: the crime of forcing another person to perform oral or anal sex

Pedophilia

n. an obsession with children as sex objects. Overt acts, including taking sexually explicit photographs, molesting children and exposing one’s genitalia to children, are all crimes. The problem with these crimes is that pedophilia is also treated as a mental illness, and the pedophile is often released only to repeat the crimes or escalate the activity to the level of murder.

Pornography

n. pictures and/or writings of sexual activity intended solely to excite lascivious feelings of a particularly blatant and aberrational kind, such as acts involving children, animals, orgies, and all types of sexual intercourse. The printing, publication, sale and distribution of “hard core” pornography is either a felony or misdemeanor in most states. Since determining what is pornography and what is “soft core” and “hard core” are subjective questions to judges, juries and law enforcement officials, it is difficult to define, since the law cases cannot print examples for the courts to follow.

Obscene

adj., adv. a highly subjective reference to material or acts that display or describe sexual activity in a manner appealing only to “prurient interest,” with no legitimate artistic, literary or scientific purpose. Pictures, writings, film or public acts which are found to be obscene are not protected by the free speech guarantee of the First Amendment. However, the courts have had difficulty making a clear non-subjective definition since “one person’s obscenity is another person’s art,” or, as one Supreme Court Justice stated, “I can’t define it, but I know it when I see it.”

Date Rape

n. forcible sexual intercourse by a male acquaintance of a woman, during a voluntary social engagement in which the woman did not intend to submit to the sexual advances and resisted the acts by verbal refusals, denials or pleas to stop, and/or physical resistance. The fact that the parties knew each other or that the woman willingly accompanied the man are not legal defenses to a charge of rape, although one Pennsylvania decision ruled that there had to be some actual physical resistance.

Statutory Rape

n. sexual intercourse with a female below the legal age of consent but above the age of a child, even if the female gave her consent, did not resist and/or mutually participated. In all but three states the age of consent is 18, and the age above which the female is no longer a child varies, although 14 is common. The theory of statutory rape is that the girl is incapable of giving consent, although marriage with a parent’s consent is possible in many states at ages as low as 14. Intercourse with a female child (below 14 or whatever the state law provides) is rape, which is a felony. Increasingly statutory rape is not charged when there is clear consent by the female, particularly when the girl will not cooperate in a prosecution. Controversy continues over what constitutes “resistance” or “consent,” particularly when some men insist a woman who said “no” really meant “yes.”

Lewd and Lascivious

adj., adv. references to conduct which includes people living together who are known not to be married, entertainment which aims at arousing the libido or primarily sexual sensation, open solicitation for prostitution or indecent exposure of genitalia (which is itself a crime). Due to the tendency of judges to be overly careful in writing about moral and/or sexual matters the definitions have been cloaked in old-fashioned modesty. Today the term usually applies to pornography, prostitution and indecent acts.

Indecent Exposure

n. the crime of displaying one’s genitalia to one or more other people in a public place, usually with the apparent intent to shock the unsuspecting viewer and give the exposer a sexual charge.

Prostitution

n. the profession of performing sexual acts for money. Prostitution is a crime throughout the United States, except for a few counties in the state of Nevada, where it is allowed in licensed houses of prostitution. Soliciting acts of prostitution is also a crime, called pandering or simply, soliciting. Pandering on behalf of a prostitute is called pimping.

Pander

1) v. to solicit customers for a prostitute. 2) n. a pimp, who procures customers for a prostitute or lures a woman into prostitution, all for his own profit. 3) v. catering to special interests without any principles, such as a politician who says to whatever group he/she is addressing just what they want to hear to win their support, contributions or favors.

Pimp

n. a person who procures a prostitute for customers or vice versa, sharing the profits of the person’s activities. Supposedly he provides protection for the prostitutes, but quite often he will threaten, brutalize, rape, cheat and induce drug addiction of the prostitutes. A pimp commits the crime of pandering.

Prostitute

n. a person who receives payment for sexual intercourse or other sexual acts, generally as a regular occupation. Although usually a prostitute refers to a woman offering sexual favors to men, male prostitutes may perform homosexual acts for money or receive payment from women for sexual services. A woman prostitute who is sent on a “date” to the hotel room or residence of a male customer is commonly referred to as a “call girl.”

Sex Offender

n. generic term for all persons convicted of crimes involving sex, including rape, molestation, sexual harassment and pornography production or distribution. In most states convicted sex offenders are supposed to report to local police authorities, but many do not.

Sexual Harassment

n. unwanted sexual approaches (including touching, feeling, groping) and/or repeated unpleasant, degrading and/or sexist remarks directed toward an employee with the implied suggestion that the target’s employment status, promotion or favorable treatment depend upon a positive response and/or “cooperation.” Sexual harassment is a private nuisance, unfair labor practice or, in some states, a civil wrong (tort) which may be the basis for a lawsuit against the individual who made the advances and against the employer who did not take steps to halt the harassment. A legal secretary recently won an award of more than $3 million against a prominent law firm in California for not controlling a partner notorious for his sexual harassment of female employees.


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H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
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