When most people hear the phrase “sex crime,” they think about rape, forcible rape in particular. But in Arizona, as well as the other states, there are a host of sex crimes the appear, at least on the surface, to be less destructive and violent. On the other hand, the victims of these “lesser” sex crimes are often young people who may bear lasting emotional scars from their ordeal. That assumes, of course, that the person accused of the offense has actually committed it, and has no valid defenses.
Our attention was drawn to the sex crime issue because of a rash of recent news stories between the last week in March and the first half of April of this year. None that we saw involved allegations of forcible rape, but they do point out that there are a number of other sex crimes that can be charged, most of which are felonies. Here are just of few of the recent reports:
- In late March, a 20-year old man was arrested and charged with having a “sexual relationship” with a girl under the age of 18. The law governing “statutory rape” (A.R.S. 13-1405), makes it a crime to have intercourse or oral sexual contact with a person under 18 years of age. There are, however, gradations of the offense based upon the age of the victim. There are also defenses, including, in some cases, where the defendant could not reasonably be expected to know the victim’s age.
- A manager at the Arizona Department of Economic Security is facing child molestation charges involving six alleged victims. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
- A Phoenix woman is facing multiple counts of sex-related crimes. She is accused of showing pornographic videos to underage boys, and of having sex with one of them. Reports say the woman admits to having sex with the boy, but she denies the pornography charges. She claims she was showing the materials to adults and the minors just happened to be in the vicinity.
- A man was allegedly seen exposing himself at a Walmart in Phoenix. When he left the store, he was tasered by the cops, but reportedly broke free and raced back into the store. Interestingly, the article we read says he was charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest, but no sex-related charges were mentioned.
We mention these incidents because they demonstrate the wide variety of possible sex charges on the books. We also want to point out that there are defenses to these cases, and that anyone charged with a sex crime – as in any other criminal case – is entitled to a presumption of innocence.
The Feldman Law Firm PLLC
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Phoenix, AZ 85004