Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child

California has zero-tolerance for violent crimes against children. Law enforcement, child protective services, and the prosecution will act quickly if a legitimate accusation is made. An offense like this on your criminal record will haunt you for the rest of your life. In addition to registering as a sex offender, you will also face difficulty with job prospects and housing opportunities. A criminal background check is a current standard for most jobs and housing rentals.

Attempting to dispute allegations of assault or battery on a child should not be done alone. Finding a professional defense attorney who understands the gravity of the situation can make all the difference. To further understand what this law entails, let’s review how California defines aggravated sexual assault on a child.

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Defining aggravated sexual assault of a child

California outlines what aggravated sexual assault of a child is under Penal Code 269. This statute explains that an individual is guilty of committing this crime if they:

  • Commit a certain crime with a minor, and
    • These particular crimes usually include one or more of the following offenses;
      • California PC 289, sexual penetration;
        • This crime is a felony and is described as forcible penetration with a foreign object, without the victim’s consent.
      • California PC 288.5, continuous sexual abuse of a child;
        • If the defendant committed three or more instances of sexual abuse of a child that took place in three months or longer, they are guilty of a felony.
      • California PC 288(a), lewd acts on a minor;
        • This law prohibits the improper touching of a child for sexual purposes.
      • California PC 287, oral copulation of a minor;
        • It is a crime to perform oral copulation with a minor, someone who is under the age of eighteen (18) years old.
      • California PC 286, sodomy of a minor;
        • The sexual contact or penetration between a penis and anus, when done against someone’s wishes or on a minor is a crime.
      • California PC 264.1, rape or sexual penetration in concert;
        • Also known as gang rape, this crime involves voluntarily acting in concert with another person to commit rape.
      • California PC 261, rape;
        • This is the crime of using force, threats of force, or fraud to have non-consensual sexual intercourse with another person.
  • The minor is under the age of fourteen (14), or
  • The minor is at least seven (7) or more years younger than the defendant.

Similar Offenses

Other charges that can be associated with PC 269 include:

California PC 273(d), child abuse;

You commit this crime if you impose corporal punishment on a child. This means you inflicted physical injury or cruel punishment on a child.

California PC 273(a), child endangerment;

It is a crime to willfully expose a child under eighteen (18) years of age to unjustifiable danger, pain, and/or suffering. Essentially, you commit this crime if you expose a child to an unreasonable risk of harm.

The Prosecution

Being convicted of PC 269 means the prosecution was able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt the facts of the crime. These factors are what is known as the elements of the crime which are:

  • The defendant committed a certain crime with a minor, and
  • The minor is younger than fourteen (14) years of age, or
  • The minor is at least seven (7) or more years younger than the defendant.

What offenses fall under “certain crimes?”

If the defendant committed any of the crimes listed below, and the alleged victim was a minor as defined under PC 269, then the prosecution will seek a conviction.

  • California PC 289, sexual penetration
  • California PC 288.5, continuous sexual abuse of a child
  • California PC 288(a), lewd acts on a minor
  • California PC 287, oral copulation
  • California PC 286, sodomy
  • California PC 264.1, rape or sexual penetration
  • California PC 261, rape

Who Can Face Charges

The following examples illustrate who can be charged with a PC 269 offense. Remember, any serious accusations involving children will produce a strong reaction from law enforcement, child and family services, and the prosecution.

Example 1

Ted would peep into his neighbors’ windows for his sexual gratification. His abhorrent behavior escalated when he found out the thirteen-year-old child, Simon, would be home alone for the evening. Once his parents drove away, Ted broke into the house and sexually assaulted the child by committing PC 286 on him.

Ted will face a PC 269 charge for committing a certain crime against a minor. The family’s home had outdoor surveillance, which revealed Ted was a prowler and clearly showed him breaking into the home. He will face PC 647(i) for peeking while loitering along with a PC 459 offense for unlawfully entering his neighbors home to commit a violent felony against a minor. 

Example 2

Jeff was 17-years-old when he was hired to babysit his neighbors’ daughters who were 7 and 9 years old. He began committing lewd acts with them and scaring them into submission, so they feared him too much to tell their parents. He babysat them once a month for a year and continued to sexually abuse them. When he turned 18-years-old and left for college, the girls were brave enough to come forward, telling their parents what he made them do.

Jeff could be charged with PC 288.5, continuous sexual abuse of a child. In this case, there were two victims. This crime is considered aggravated sexual assault of a child, and he will face a PC 269 offense. Not only was he seven or more years older than both victims, but both of them were also under the age of fourteen.

Example 3

Nancy, who is 18-years-old notices her 12-year-old neighbor, Eddie has a crush on her. He constantly asks her to watch a late-night movie with him in his garage, as his parents let him stay up late. After weeks of laughing off his invites, she finally agrees. During the movie, they begin inappropriately touching each other and kissing. She asks him to commit PC 287 on her and he does. They are caught in the act when Eddie’s parents walk-in.

Nancy could be charged with aggravated sexual assault on a child because she had a minor who is under the age of fourteen, commit oral copulation on her. Remember, PC 287 is listed as a certain crime under PC 269.

The minor’s consent is irrelevant because they cannot legally give consent to sexual intercourse. Under California’s laws, the age of consent is 18-years-old. This means minors do not have the legal ability to give their consent to engage in such acts. Nancy tried to argue that Eddie agreed and she did not break any laws. However, Eddie was only 12-years-old and was not at the legal age of consent.

Legal Defense

Allegations for PC 269 are difficult to challenge without the help of a professional defense lawyer. A criminal defense attorney will be familiar with all the possible legal defenses used to dispute a charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Here are some common defenses used to fight this offense.

Are you guilty of a certain crime, as outlined under PC 269?

To be convicted of aggravated sexual assault on a child, you must have committed a certain crime as detailed under this law. If you are not guilty of a certain crime against a minor, you should not be charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child.

Example:

Tyler lost a bet. He had to run across the football field while naked once his team walked off the grass. Children were playing in the end zone, but that did not deter him from continuing his streaking while his friends cheered, recorded, and laughed at him. His foot slipped on some wet grass and he lost control, slamming into a 13-year-old girl. Both of them hit the ground and the little girl screamed and began crying.

Tyler was immediately arrested and charged with PC 269 for assaulting a minor while he was naked. However, his defense lawyer was able to challenge the offense. Thanks to the video evidence, it clearly showed his foot slipping and his uncontrollable movements that followed. An accidental assault should not rise to PC 269 as Tyler did not intend to commit any sexual assault on a minor. On the other hand, did not care about the underage children who were present during the event and still chose to streak across the field. The charges were reduced from aggravated sexual assault on a child to PC 314, indecent exposure.

The results of this case carry a big change in the likely consequences. The penalty differences go from a potential minimum of 15 years to life in prison to a possible six months in county jail.

Was the alleged victim a minor?

The definition of a minor is any child who is under the age of fourteen years old OR is at least seven years younger than the defendant. This means if the alleged victim was over fourteen years old but under the legal age of consent (18 years old), you can still be charged with PC 269.

Example:

Gary, who is 20-years-old, met Cherri at a college football game and assumed she was at least 18-years-old. He asked her out on a date and she agreed. They went to the drive-in movie theater and began getting intimate. Her cell phone would ring and she would ignore it. After they had sex, she answered her phone. He could hear Cherri’s mother yelling. She hung up and apologized, asking if he could drop her off at home. On the way back, he finally asked about her age. She told him she was 15-years-old. He dropped her off and stopped communicating with her after.

Cherri was upset that he was ignoring her and told her mom about the date and having intercourse with him. Her mom was angry and unable to believe her daughter willingly slept with him. She reported Gary for aggravated sexual assault on a minor, claiming he used fraud to convince her daughter to have sexual intercourse with him. Law enforcement responded quickly and arrested him.

To be guilty of PC 269, the alleged victim would have to be under the age of fourteen or at least seven years older. In this case, Gary was 5 years older than Cherri. If he was 7 or more years older, this offense might apply. His criminal defense lawyer was able to get the charges reduced from PC 269 to PC 261.5, statutory rape. Under this law, he would have faced misdemeanor penalties if he was only 3-years-older than Cherri. Because of the age difference, he would still face a wobbler. A PC 261.5 misdemeanor conviction carries up to one-year county jail and a felony ruling carries up to four years in state prison. Neither of these consequences is as high a felony as aggravated assault on a child would be.

Was it a false accusation or wrongful arrest?

Revenge and an initial believable story can make for a toxic outcome when it comes to false allegations. Sadly, these things do happen and are difficult to face down without a defense attorney to help.

Example:

Simone was afraid of losing custody of her kids to her ex-husband, Stan. In a fit of desperation, she convinced her eight-year-old daughter to lie and state her father committed sexual abuse on her. Each time the police officers questioned her, Simone was present and the daughter would tell this story. Stan was wrongfully arrested for PC 269.

Fortunately, his criminal defense lawyer was able to ask the daughter to be questioned without her mother present. The truth was revealed when the daughter stated she only wanted to make her mom happy and hopes she didn’t get her mom into any trouble. All charges were dropped.

Are you a victim of mistaken identity?

There are rare occasions where people are wrongfully arrested because they are mistaken for the actual criminal. This can result from being in the wrong place at the wrong time or from simple unfounded suspicions. 

Example:

Tammy, who was only 14-years-old was sexually assaulted on her way home from school. She did not get a good look at the perpetrator, as he was wearing a mask and hoodie. She did notice he had blue eyes and tattoos on both his hands. Scared and suspicious of every male that came near her, she accused Ben, her neighbor. He had blue eyes and the same hoodie as her attacker. Ben claimed he was at home during the attack but there was no one to corroborate his story. He was arrested and charged with PC 269.

As the case unfolded, his criminal defense lawyer was able to take a closer look at the details of the report. They took note of Tammys’ original description of the attacker and brought it to the attention of the courts. Ben had no tattoos on his hands. Tammy retracted her statements, as she specifically remembered the hand-tats of her assaulter. All charges were dropped as this was an obvious case of mistaken identity.

Penalties for PC 269

If convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child, you face a:

Felony;

A minimum sentence of fifteen (15) years to life in state prison, and

Lifetime registration as a sex offender.

Enhanced Penalties

Depending on the details of your case, the likelihood of facing consecutive prison terms is high. This outcome is based on several factors:

  • The defendant assaulted the victim more than once,
  • The defendant had more than one victim, or
  • The defendant sexually exploited the minor in a manner other than described above.
      • Offenses that will increase overall incarceration terms include;
        • PC 647(i) and 647(j), peeping tom laws
        • PC 314, aggravated indecent exposure
        • PC 311, child pornography
        • PC 243.4, sexual battery on a minor
        • PC 209, aggravated kidnapping

These charges and the offenses related to them will carry felony consequences. If these crimes are committed in addition to a PC 269 conviction, you will face longer county jail or state prison sentences.

For example, Bob was convicted of aggravated assault on a child. This crime carries a minimum of fifteen-years-to-life in prison. The details of the case, however, explain fear tactics were used to kidnap the child before committing the assault. Aggravated kidnapping carries a life sentence in state prison. Bob will face life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Penalties for Similiar Offenses

California PC 289, sexual penetration of a minor;

Felony;

6, 8, or 10 years in prison if the victim was 14 years old or older.

8, 10, or 12 years in prison if the victim was under 14 years old.

Required to register as a tier 1, tier 2, or tier 3 sex offender (depending on the details of your case)

California PC 288.5, continuous sexual abuse of a child;

Felony;

As long as sixteen (16) years in state prison,

A strike under California’s Three-Strikes Law, and

Lifetime requirement to register as a sex offender.

California PC 288(a), lewd acts on a minor;

Felony;

3, 6, or 8 years in state prison, or

Felony (formal) probation, and

Up to ten thousand dollars in fines.

Lifetime registration as a sex offender.

California PC 287, oral copulation of a minor;

Felony;

16 months, 2 or 3 years if the victim is under sixteen (16) years old.

3, 6, or 8 years if the victim is under fourteen (14) years old.

Sex offender registration requirement.

California PC 286, sodomy;

Misdemeanor;

One year in county jail, and/or

A one thousand dollar fine.

Felony;

16 months, 2 or 3 years in state prison, and/or

Maximum fines of up to ten thousand dollars.

California PC 264.1, rape or sexual penetration (in concert) of a minor;

Felony;

11 years in county jail if the victim (minor) was between 14 and 18 years old.

14 years in county jail if the minor was under 14 years of age.

California PC 261, rape;

Felony;

A state prison sentence of eight (8) years, or

Formal (felony) probation, and

Lifetime registration as a sex offender.

California PC 273(d), child abuse;

Misdemeanor;

As long as one year in county jail,

Fines of up to six thousand dollars, and/or

Summary (informal) probation.

Felony;

A potential county jail sentence of 2, 4, or 6 years,

Fines as high as six thousand dollars, and/or

Formal (felony) probation.

California PC 273(a), child endangerment;

Misdemeanor;

As long as six months in the county jail, and/or

Up to one thousand dollars in fines.

Or Judge-approved informal (misdemeanor) probation.

Felony;

A state prison sentence of 2, 4, or 6 years, and/or

Fines as high as ten thousand dollars.

Or a minimum four-years of formal probation.

Who Can Help

If you or someone you love is facing an offense mentioned above and are located in San Diego, Los Angeles, or Orange County, contact the Law Offices of Anna R. Yum. As a highly recommended criminal defense lawyer, Attorney Yum understands how critical every step is in challenging shocking or violent allegations.

Have more questions or would like more information? We welcome all inquiries and would like to help you. It can be overwhelming attempting to dispute these accusations without help. Finding legal representation as soon as you are able can help ease that burden. For a no-obligation, free consultation simply call us at 619-233-4433. You can also contact us using our online contact form.

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