First degree child molestation charges in Rhode Island
Child molestation refers to sexual contact between a person age 14 or under. First Degree Child Molestation under Rhode Island law consists of any form of sexual penetration with a minor victim age 14 or younger.
Under Rhode Island Criminal law, First Degree Child Molestation may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-37-8.1.
Legal elements for second degree sexual assault
In order to be convicted of First Degree Child Molestation, there must exist strong evidence of the following three legal elements:
- that the accused engaged in sexual penetration with another person
- for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification
- at the time of the penetration, the victim was age 14 or younger
What is sexual penetration for first degree child molestation
Sexual penetration under Rhode Island criminal law regarding First Degree Child Molestation includes any intrusion, however slight, by any body part or object into the genital or anal opening of another, as well as oral sex and anal intercourse.
The length of time or extent of the penetration are immaterial to proving guilt. However, duration, frequency and extent may be considered aggravating factors when determining an appropriate sentence for convicted offenders.
Consent is not a defense to first degree child molestation
Force, resistance, or lack of consent is not required for this offense. Under Rhode Island law, age 16 is the age limit for a person to consensually engage in sexual penetration with an adult (i.e. over age 18).
Even if the victim factually consented or agreed to have sexual intercourse, the law provides that until a person reaches age 16, he or she does not have the mental capacity to legally offer consent.
Therefore, the mere fact that the intercourse occurred, regardless of the circumstances, is sufficient to be guilty of First Degree Child Molestation.
Potential punishment if convicted of first degree child molestation In Rhode Island
First Degree Sexual Assault is a capital felony under Rhode Island law. This means that upon a conviction of this sex offense, a defendant may be sentenced to a term in prison of not less than 25 years and up to life.
This penalty may be found at Rhode Island General Laws, Section 11-37-8.2. Because this is considered a sex crime, convicted offenders who are released from prison must comply with sex offender registration and counseling requirements.
The law has few crimes as serious and as punitive as First Degree Child Molestation. If you are charged with a sex assault offense, do not hire just any criminal lawyer. Hire one with deep experiences defending this unique and most serious type of crime.
Former federal prosecutor and award-winning criminal defense John L. Calcagni III is an experienced Rhode Island Child Molestation Lawyer. Call (401) 351-5100 to schedule your free consultation.