Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the First and Second Degree

Tacoma Sexual Misconduct With a Minor in the First and Second Degree

The offense of sexual misconduct with a minor, as defined by Washington law, applies in situations where an individual is accused of abusing a position of trust or authority for sexual activity with someone under the age of eighteen. An accusation of this crime can have a severe impact on a defendant’s life and career, and can lead to public scorn regardless of the outcome of the case. A conviction can result not only in jail time, but mandatory registration as a sex offender. A Washington sex crimes attorney can help you understand your rights and can prepare a defense against the state’s charges.

The state may charge a person with sexual misconduct with a minor if they belong to one of three different categories, if the alleged victim is sixteen or seventeen years old, and if the defendant is at least five years older. The degree of the charged offense depends on the type of alleged sexual activity.

Defendant Has “Significant Relationship” with Minor

Washington law defines a “significant relationship” with a minor as one in which a person has a responsibility to educate, supervise, or care for children, either as a professional or volunteer. The state must prove that a person with a significant relationship abused a “supervisory position” in order to induce an alleged victim to engage in sexual activity with the defendant or another person.

Defendant is a School Employee

The offense also applies to a school employee who engages in sexual activity with an enrolled student, or who causes the student to engage in sexual activity with another student under the age of eighteen.

Defendant is a Foster Parent

A foster parent commits an offense if they either engage in sexual activity with a minor or cause another minor who is at least sixteen to do so. The statute does not specify that the alleged victim must be a minor in the foster parent’s care.

Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the First Degree

If a defendant engages in sexual intercourse with a minor, under any of the circumstances described above, the state may charge it as sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree. “Sexual intercourse” has its ordinary meaning and also includes penetration of a person’s genitals or anus with a foreign object. This offense is a class C felony, with a maximum possible prison sentence of five years.

Sexual Misconduct with a Minor in the Second Degree

If the alleged offense involves “sexual contact” rather than “sexual intercourse,” it is charged as sexual misconduct with a minor in the second degree. State law defines “sexual contact” as touching another person’s genitals or anus with the intent of “gratifying sexual desire.” This offense is a gross misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail.

If you have been charged with sexual misconduct with a minor in the Tacoma area, you need the help of an experienced Washington criminal defense lawyer. I have effectively defended clients against sex crimes charges throughout Washington since 1995, often by finding law enforcement errors and using that information to challenge the prosecution’s evidence. This has resulted in many significantly decreased sentences, acquittals, and even the complete dismissal of cases for our clients. To schedule a free and confidential consultation regarding your case, please contact us today online or at (888) 312-3093.