What Does the Prosecution Have to Prove to Convict of Sexual Molestation?
Sexual molestation is considered a very serious crime in California. If you are charged with child molestation under California Penal Code Section 288, you face severe consequences.
A conviction of lewd or lascivious acts involving a minor under 14 years of age is a felony offense that carries a sentence of up to eight years in prison and expensive fines. In addition, you will likely be required to register as a sex offender pursuant to California Penal Code Section 290.
In order to understand the charges you are facing, you must know more about how the law defines sexual molestation in California. Let’s dive into the crime of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor.
Defining Sexual Molestation in California – PC 288(a)
California Penal Code Section 288(a) provides that any person who willfully and lewdly commits any lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body… of a child who is under the age of 14 years, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of that person or the child, is guilty of a felony.
Legal speak is typically very complicated, but what this essentially means is that it is a crime to perform a lewd or lascivious act on a child under the age of 14. A “lewd or lascivious act” is defined as any touching you made on any part of a child’s body or any touching that you forced the child to make on your body, as long as your intention was sexual gratification or arousal for yourself or the alleged victim.
In order to convict you of a crime under PC 288, the prosecution must prove all of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:
- You willfully touched any part of a child’s body, either on the bare skin or through the clothing; OR
- You willfully caused a child to touch his or her own body, your body, or the body of someone else, either on the bare skin or through the clothing; AND
- You committed the act with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of yourself or the child; AND
- The child was under the age of 14 years at the time of the act
This law is very complicated, and many people believe myths regarding the elements of this crime. Here are some facts that you need to know about child molestation:
- The touching need not be done in a lewd or sexual manner
- Actually arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions or sexual desires of yourself or the alleged victim is not required. As long as sexual gratification was your intent, you could be convicted of this crime.
- It is not a defense that the alleged victim consented to the act. This crime is committed against minors under the age of 14. Minors cannot legally consent in California, which means consent is not a valid legal defense to PC 288 charges.
Speak to an Experienced Sexual Molestation Attorney Today
If you are accused of sexual molestation involving a child, you are facing harsh penalties that will impact you for the rest of your life. That is why you should not hesitate to contact an experienced sexual molestation attorney immediately if you or someone you love has been accused of violating PC 288.
At Wallin & Klarich, our skilled criminal defense lawyers have been successfully defending clients facing sexual molestation charges for more than 40 years. We’ve helped thousands of clients in their time of legal need, and we can help you now.
With offices in Orange County, Riverside, San Bernardino, Victorville, West Covina, Torrance, Los Angeles and San Diego, our skilled child molestation lawyers are available to help you no matter where you work or live.
Contact our law firm today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation regarding your case. We will be there when you call.