In California, a sex crime is any illegal act of a sexual nature. One of the most serious crimes is rape. Rape involves sex through the use of force or fear, coercion and/or violence. The most common sex crimes include rape either by force or coercion, marital rape, statutory rape (rape of an under age person), child molestation, prostitution, sexual assault, lewd conduct, indecent exposure, pimping and pandering and some Internet crimes involving pornography. Sex crimes may be either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Prosecutors and judges take sex crimes very seriously and one of the consequences of a conviction is mandatory reporting, pursuant to Megan’s Law. Since the passage of Megan’s Law, the District Attorney’s Office has set up specific units to prosecute these crimes. Law enforcement agencies have established specific units to vigorously investigate and prosecute these individuals. Added resources have been allocated to assist law enforcement in their investigations. In addition to the consequences imposed by the Court, a person convicted of a sex crime risks losing his or her job and peer friendships. Due to Megan’s Law and mandatory reporting, the person’s home residence will be placed on the Internet for anyone to look up.
Statutory rape is defined as sexual intercourse by a person older then 18 with a female or male who is below the legal age of 18 years old but older then a child (usually 14 years old). Even if the underage person voluntarily and with full consent and knowledge has sexual intercourse with an adult, a crime has still occurred. The prosecution can charge a person with this crime, even if the underage person refuses to cooperate with the government. If the adult is a teacher or a priest, then there can be enhanced penalties.
Lewd conduct – Penal Code 647(a) PC covers a wide range of offenses; most have to do with sexual activity in public. These acts include receiving or giving oral sex in public, exposure of genitals in public and public masturbation. Rape is the act of using violence, threats, malice fear tactics, and/or force to have sexual intercourse with an unwilling participant. Sexual intercourse with a person, who is intoxicated, unconscious or asleep, and therefore unable to resist, is also rape. This also includes the use of date rape drugs.