Fighting for Justice for Victims of Sexual Abuse & Assault
In Maryland, sexual abuse is a criminal offense. Victims of abuse are encouraged to seek medical care and speak with an experienced sexual abuse injury lawyer for help.
At Ashcraft & Gerel, we have extensive experience helping victims of sexual abuse and assault navigate the legal system. We provide representation in civil suits, which are different and separate from any criminal proceedings associated with your case. In a civil suit, the victim may seek compensation for his or her damages, such as medical expenses for treatment of injuries, pain and suffering, emotional trauma, loss of income/wages, and more.
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How Sexual Offenses Are Categorized in Maryland
The state breaks down sexual offenses into different levels: rape and sexual assault. In both instances, the state bases the criminal penalties assessed to each offense by the aggravating factors associated with it. Rape is separated into two degrees (first and second degree) while there are four degrees of sexual assault (assaults ranging from first through fourth degrees).
Rape is considered illegal conduct in Maryland and is broken down into the following categories:
- First DegreeRape: To participate in sexual intercourse forcefully without a person’s (male or female) approval using force, a weapon, strangulation, threats of death, kidnapping, infliction of serious injury, or with the assistance of another person, like in the instance of committing burglary.
- Second Degree Rape: To participate in vaginal intercourse with another person a) without consent by force or the use of a threat, b) with a person that is physically or mentally unable to give consent (i.e., unconscious, inebriated, or under the influence of drugs) while being aware of the individual’s condition, or c) participating in a sexual act with a victim younger than 14 years old while the defendant is more than 4 years older.
Meanwhile, the various degrees of sexual assault are as follows:
- First Degree: Engaging in a sex act (anal or oral sex, where an object or area of a person’s body penetrates the anus or genitals of another for sexual pleasure, not including vaginal sex) using threats, force, or without permission with the use of a weapon, suffocation or causing the victim physical injuries, or threatening the victim with death, severe physical injury, disfigurement, or with the aid of another while committing a burglary.
- Second Degree: Participating in a sex act with another person by a) force or without his or her permission, b) with a person physically or mentally unable to give consent (i.e. unconscious, inebriated, or under the influence of drugs) knowing the person’s condition, or c) participating in a sexual act with a victim younger than 14 years old while the defendant is more than 4 years older.
- Third Degree: Participating in any of the following:
- Sexual contact (purposely touching of the defendant or victim’s genitals, anal area, or other private parts for sexual pleasure or abuse of another person in any of these instances: without permission, while using a weapon, strangulation, or seriously harming the victim, threatening the victim with death, serious harm, or kidnapping, or done with the assistance of another; when the victim is mentally or physically unable to give consent (i.e., unconscious or inebriated), and the defendant is aware of the condition; or when the victim is 14 years or younger and the defendant is a minimum of 4 years older
- Participating in a sexual act (anal or oral sex) or vaginal sex with a 14 or 15-year-old victim by a defendant 21 years old or older (statutory rape)
- Fourth Degree: Any of the instances below:
- Participating in sexual contact without the other person’s permission
- Participating in a sex act or vaginal sex with a 14 or 15-year-old when the defendant is a minimum of 4 years older
- Participating in a sex act, sexual contact, or vaginal sex with a child under the age of 18 who is a student (enrolled in school) where the defendant is an authority figure (i.e., coach, counselor, teacher, principal at least 21 years old in the employment of the school and was in a supervisory position over the student)
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Penalties for Sexual Abuse in Baltimore, Maryland
In Baltimore, Maryland, the punishments for committing any of the above crimes are:
- First Degree Rape: Typically, a lifetime in prison is the maximum sentence given for attempting or committing this crime. If the victim is the subject of a kidnapping and is under the age of 16 and the defendant has a prior conviction for a first-degree rape or sexual offense, or if the victim is 13 or younger and the defendant is over 18, then a lifetime prison sentence without the possibility of parole is the maximum sentence allowed.Important: The prison sentence is 25 years, mandatory, if the defendant is over 18 and the child is under 13 years old. The court is unable to suspend any portion of the 25-year sentence, and the defendant is not eligible for parole.
- Second Degree Rape: Usually, the penalty can be up to 20 years in prison, and that also includes an attempt at second-degree rape. In the case the of a defendant 18 years of age or older raping a child under the age of 13, the minimal sentence is 15 years with a maximum sentence of life in prison.
- First Degree Sexual Offense: Typically, committing or attempting to commit this crime means spending a lifetime in prison. But, if the defendant has been convicted of first-degree rape or a sexual offense before, rapes a kidnapped underage child (generally under the age of 16), or is over the age of 18 and the victim is under 13 years old, then a maximum sentence is life without the chance of parole.Important: The mandatory 25-year minimum prison term will apply here if the defendant is over 18 and the victim is under the age of 13. The court is unable to suspend the 25-year sentence, and the defendant is not eligible for parole.
- Second DegreeSexual Offense: Typically, the sentence is a maximum of 20 years of incarceration (this includes attempts of second-degree rape). If the defendant is over 18 years old and the victim is under the age of 13, the minimum prison sentence is 15 years with a maximum of life in prison.
- Third Degree Sexual Offenses: A felony conviction and a sentence of no more than 10 years in prison.
- Fourth Degree Sexual Offense: Usually, this is a misdemeanor with a sentence of no more than one year in prison and a fine not to exceed $1,000. If the defendant has a prior conviction for a sex crime, the punishment is three years in prison and a fine up to $1,000.
Note: A conviction for any of these sex-related crimes requires registration as a sex offender in Baltimore, Maryland for anywhere from 15 years to a maximum of a lifetime, depending on the severity of the crime. Any person having to register as a sex offender will have limited choices as to where they can live and work in the state.
The laws in Baltimore, Maryland are subject to change frequently; it is imperative you do your own research or contact our sex abuse lawyers for the most accurate information. If you believe you have been the victim of sexual abuse, you need to contact the local authorities in your area. An experienced sexual abuse lawyer will be able to discuss your case with you and assist you in getting the help you need to start the healing process.
Registered Sex Offenders in Baltimore, Maryland
The sex offender registry is a database of information about convicted sex offenders in Baltimore, Maryland and all over the country. It enables law enforcement to track and monitor the movements of anyone that has a conviction of a sexual nature in communities. You have access to the registry’s information via the sex offender website. All states have their own registry system as to who must register, the information they must include, and who will be able to access the information. Usually, this information varies by jurisdiction, so you will need to learn the laws of your city and state.
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Who Is Required to Register as a Sex Offender in Maryland?
Generally, any person that has received a conviction for a specific sex offense and those with convictions for sex offenses against children must register with law enforcement in the city and town where they reside. Registration is mandatory upon immediate release in the community with updates each year (sometimes more often) each time he or she moves. A failure to register is usually a criminal offense.
Upon registering, a sex offender (convicted of specific offenses) has to provide their name, date of birth, Social Security number, home address, vehicle information, picture, fingerprints, DNA sample, information about offense, and any other information deemed necessary by law enforcement. It is important to note that not all information relating to a sex offender in your area is available to you. Depending on where you live, some offenders may have to register with law enforcement but may be able to keep you from viewing their information while others may be able to petition to have their name taken off the registry completely.
What Sex Offender Information Is Accessible?
Information available to the public in Baltimore, Maryland relating to sex offenders will often vary by specific location.
In most cases the public will be able to access:
- Offender’s name and any aliases he or she may use
- Offender’s current address
Additionally, the sex offender database can contain information about the offender’s physical appearance (i.e., height, weight, etc.), date of birth, and other information, like the dates of offense and which statutes they violated.
There is also a national sex offender registry used by law enforcement that is not available to the public. The U.S. Attorney and the FBI are responsible for keeping it up to date, and it tracks and transmits sex offender data nationwide.
Maryland Sex Offense Laws vs. Federal Laws
The majority of sexual conduct offenses are under the jurisdiction of state laws, but there are some instances when federal laws come into play. Federal sexual offenses usually take place in areas under the territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in federal prisons. There are many other crimes in which offenders go across international or state borders to commit sexual offenses.
Some examples of federal sexual offenses are:
- Purchasing or selling children
- Activities dealing with the sexual exploitation of minors, including receiving and distributing images in books, magazines, videotapes, movies, and periodicals
- Producing sexually explicit images of minors for import into the U.S.
- Transporting a person in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of prostitution or other illegal sex acts
- Transporting minors in interstate or foreign commerce for the purpose of engaging in criminal sexual acts
- Interstate or foreign travel for the purpose of engaging in sex acts with a juvenile
- Use of interstate facilities to send information about a person under the age of 16 for the purpose of enticing, encouraging, or soliciting the minor to participate in a sex act that can be charged as a criminal offense
Are You a Victim of Sexual Abuse in Baltimore, Maryland?
Do you live in the Baltimore, Maryland area and think you or someone close to you has been a victim of sexual assault or abuse? You should consult a Baltimore sexual abuse injury lawyer to discuss your sexual abuse claim. There is no reason for you to suffer in silence when there is assistance available. If you are a victim of a violent sexual attack, you may be able to pursue your attacker using the legal system.
An experienced sexual abuse lawyer will be able to discuss the facts of your case with you to determine if you have a case for prosecution in a court of law. If you have been a victim, let a sexual abuse lawyer help you to get the justice you deserve. Take steps to keep your attacker from hurting someone else.
Contact the attorneys at Ashcraft & Gerel, LLP for help with your personal injury claim in Baltimore. We have the experience to help you work for the justice you deserve. Let us sit down with you and go over the details of your case to get the resolution and restitution to which you are entitled.