18 U.S.C. 2244 – Abusive Sexual Contact
The government employs many measures to prevent people who are detained or confined in federal facilities from suffering harm of a sexual nature. Thus, it is a crime to participate in sexual activity with people who are institutionalized or imprisoned, and to engage in any sexual contact with such individuals. A conviction for abusive sexual contact can irreparably alter a person’s liberty and reputation, and it is important for people accused of abusive sexual contact to understand the rights that they are afforded under the law. The Charlotte and Concord federal sex crime lawyers at the Olsinski Law Firm are adept at helping people accused of crimes protect their interests, and if you are charged with abusive sexual contact, we can advocate aggressively in your defense.The Crime of Abusive Sexual Contact Under Federal Law
Under federal law, a person can be charged with a crime for engaging in certain types of sexual contact with another individual. In other words, under 18 U.S. Code section 2244(a), it is illegal for a person to knowingly engage in sexual contact with someone else, if it would violate other federal laws had the contact been a sexual act. Sexual contact is defined as intentional touching of certain areas on another person, such as the genitals, breasts, inner thighs, or buttocks, either over or through the person’s clothes. The touching must be done with the intent to humiliate, harass, or abuse the person or to arouse or satisfy a desire of a sexual nature.
The laws to which section 2244(a) refers are sections 2241 (the provision regarding aggravated sexual abuse), 2242 (which refers to sexual abuse), and 2243 (which pertains to sexual abuse of a minor or ward). Notably, sections 2241, 2242, and 2243 all criminalize sexual conduct with an adult or child who is detained or imprisoned in federal prison or in an institution that holds people in custody pursuant to a contract with a federal department or agency.
Section 2244(b) makes it unlawful for anyone in a federal prison or a facility or institution where people are held in custody by the direction of a contract with the federal government to knowingly engage in sexual contact with another individual without that individual’s permission. In other words, a person can be convicted of abusive sexual contact even if it would not constitute a violation of another federal law if the contact was an act.Penalties for Abusive Sexual Contact
The penalties for a conviction under section 2244 vary depending on the underlying crime with which the defendant could have been charged if the sexual contact had been a sexual act. Specifically, if the touching would have violated section 2241(a) or (b), it is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, while if the contact would have led to a conviction under section 2241(c) had it been an act, it can result in life imprisonment. If the contact would have violated section 2242, the maximum penalty is three years in prison, while a violation of section 2243 can result in up to two years of imprisonment. In cases in which the alleged victim was under 12 years old, the penalty can be doubled. Finally, a person who is convicted under section 2244(b) could face a penalty of up to two years in prison.Contact an Experienced Attorney in Concord or Charlotte
A wide range of sexual activity is illegal if it occurs in a government-owned or federally funded institution or prison, including certain sexual contact. If you are charged with abusive sexual contact in violation of federal law, you should retain an attorney who will fight tirelessly on your behalf. The experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Olsinski Law Firm are proficient at defending people charged with federal sex crimes. We assist people charged with federal sex crimes in Concord and Charlotte and throughout Cabarrus and Mecklenburg Counties, including people in Huntersville, Mint Hill, Matthews, Cornelius, Davidson, Midland, Pineville, Harrisburg, Kannapolis, and Mount Pleasant. You can contact us to schedule a consultation through our online form or at our Charlotte office by calling 704-405-2580 or at our Concord office by calling 704-918-4747.