Custodial Sexual Misconduct Defense

“Custodial sexual misconduct” under Washington law is a serious offense that can carry very harsh penalties. A charge of custodial sexual misconduct, even before a trial or conviction, can ruin a person’s career in law enforcement or corrections. Defending against such accusations requires an experienced and skilled sex crimes defense attorney with knowledge of the Washington criminal code and court system. I have represented defendants in custodial sexual misconduct cases and similar matters for over 15 years in Tacoma, Lakewood, and around the state of Washington.

What is Custodial Sexual Misconduct?

The offense of “custodial sexual misconduct” applies to certain types of sexual activity between an officer or employee of a law enforcement agency or correctional facility and a person who is in the custody of law enforcement or residing in a correctional facility. The age of the alleged victim is not relevant to the definition of the offense. The statute describes two scenarios in which prosecutors may charge a person with custodial sexual misconduct:

1. The alleged perpetrator is an employee or contractor of a correctional agency, such as a jail, prison, or work release facility, both adult and juvenile. The alleged victim is a resident of the correctional facility, or is subject to correctional supervision, such as probation. The alleged offense occurs when the two engage in sexual activity, and the alleged perpetrator either has, or the alleged victim believe that the alleged perpetrator has the ability to influence or modify the person’s terms of supervision or incarceration. For example, an employee of a correctional facility offers to improve a person’s conditions of confinement in exchange for sex.

2. The alleged perpetrator is a law enforcement officer, and the alleged victim is in law enforcement custody.

If you have been accused or face charges of custodial sexual misconduct, an experienced custodial sexual abuse attorney in Tacoma can help protect your rights. I am an aggressive, thorough, and innovative advocate, and I will do everything legally possible to defend you in all stages of legal proceedings.

First- and Second-Degree Offenses

If the alleged perpetrator and victim engage in “sexual intercourse,” this is charged as custodial sexual misconduct in the first degree. “Sexual intercourse” has the generally-accepted definition, but also includes penetration by other objects and oral sexual contact. First-degree custodial sexual misconduct is a class C felony under Washington law, punishable by up to five years in prison and/or a maximum fine of $10,000.

A second-degree offense involves “sexual contact” between the alleged perpetrator and victim. Washington’s criminal code defines this as touching of a person’s “sexual or intimate parts” in order to gratify the “sexual desire” of a person, which could include one of the two parties or someone else. It is a gross misdemeanor, which carries a maximum one-year term in county jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Defenses to Custodial Sexual Misconduct

Washington’s criminal code does not allow a defendant to claim the consent of an alleged victim as a defense to prosecution. A defendant may claim, as an affirmative defense, that the sexual activity in question resulted from “forcible compulsion” by the alleged victim.

If you have been charged with custodial sexual misconduct in Tacoma or elsewhere in western Washington, an experienced sex crimes attorney can help. When your freedom is at stake, you cannot afford to delay. I have protected the rights of defendants in criminal cases throughout Washington. Prosecutions in cases like these often turn on the credibility and reliability of the witnesses. I have obtained substantially reduced sentences, acquittals, and dismissals for clients in cases like these. Contact us today online or at (253) 201-0406 for a free and confidential consultation.