“You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it … Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
These are words spoken by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump about women while recording a segment for “Access Hollywood” in 2005, as seen in a previously unreleased video obtained by the Washington Post.
Trump insists that this was “locker room” talk, and that he has never acted in the way he described in these tapes. However, what could happen to him if he did in fact take the actions of groping and making unwanted sexual advances toward women? Could he be criminally charged with sexual battery under California Penal Code Section 243.4?
Sexual Battery in California (PC 243.4)
Under California Penal Code Section 243.4, sexual battery is defined as the touching of an intimate part of another person against his or her will for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. An “intimate part” is typically defined as the buttocks, groin, anus, or sexual organ of a person.
In order for the prosecution to convict you of this sexual offense, it needs only to prove the following elements:
- You touched an intimate part of the victim
- You committed this touching against the victim’s will, and
- You did this touching for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse
This crime carries serious consequences. It is a wobbler offense, meaning it can be charged either as a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the circumstances of the case.
A misdemeanor is punishable by up to six months in county jail and a fine of up to $2,000. A felony conviction carries a sentence of 2, 3 or 4 years in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000. You could also be required to register as sex offender under California Penal Code Section 290 if you are convicted of either misdemeanor or felony sexual battery.
Should Donald Trump Be Charged with Sexual Battery?
So, now that we have a better understanding of sexual battery laws, should Donald Trump be prosecuted for this crime? Well, there is one key thing absent for California prosecutors to be able to bring criminal charges on Trump. That key element is a victim.
So far, the only thing uncovered regarding Trump’s admitted actions are his words alone. These general statements by Trump are not enough to prosecute him for a crime. However, there have been rumors that some women may come forward in the coming days to identify themselves as alleged victims of Trump’s admitted conduct. If these women come forward with allegations that comports with Trump’s own words, it is possible he could be prosecuted for a serious sex crime in California.
The conduct would have to have taken place in the state of California for a prosecutor to be able to file charges in this state. In addition, there is a statute of limitations that means any alleged incidents must have taken place relatively recently in order for charges to be filed (the amount of time depends on the circumstances of the case).
The bottom line is that Trump’s words could in fact describe criminal acts that are very serious and should not be dismissed as “locker room talk.”
Speak to Attorney Paul Wallin About Sexual Battery Laws
Paul Wallin is one of the most highly respected attorneys in Southern California. He founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981, and has been successfully representing clients for more than 35 years. Attorney Wallin has made numerous television appearances, including on Fox News, NBC and MSNBC. He has acted as a commentator on various high profile cases, such as the Michael Jackson and O.J. Simpson cases.
With offices in Orange County, San Bernardino, Riverside, Los Angeles, West Covina, Torrance, Victorville and San Diego, our criminal lawyers at Wallin & Klarich are available near you no matter where you work or live.
If you would like to speak to Attorney Wallin regarding sexual battery laws and how they relate to Donald Trump’s recent comments, contact Wallin & Klarich at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 so we can begin discussing your case. We will be there when you call.