Sexual Activity by a Substitute Parent or Custodian
Sex offenses are some of the most serious accusations the government can bring against an individual. However, when allegations involve sexual activity with a minor, the situation is even more dire. Sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian is a very specific North Carolina sex crime that criminalizes sex acts between children and those assuming a parental role. Not only do these charges carry the possibility of lengthy jail sentences, but also mandatory sex offender registration. At the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC, we have a successful track in handling these challenging and high-stakes cases.What Are the Elements of Sexual Activity by a Substitute Parent or Custodian?
In any criminal case, the prosecution must establish every element of the offense beyond a reasonable doubt before a judge or jury can convict a defendant. North Carolina General Statutes § 14-27.31 provides two situations in which charges of sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian are appropriate.
- A person who assumed the role of a parental figure has vaginal sex or engages in sexual activity with a minor residing in the same home; or
- A person who has custody of a minor by virtue of their position with a charitable, governmental or private organization has vaginal sex or engages in sexual activity with a minor.
In either situation, sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian is graded as a Class E felony. Class E felonies offenses are punishable by up to 88 months in state prison.
Sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian is a very specific crime, which requires the prosecution to prove not only that a sexual act occurred but also that the defendant fit within the narrow class of people covered by the law. However, prosecutors routinely bring other similar charges. For example, in this type of prosecution, the government may also charge a defendant with any of the following, depending on the circumstances:
- Statutory rape,
- Forcible sex offense,
- Lewd and lascivious conduct
- Indecent liberties with a minor
- Indecent liberties with a minor, and
- Indecent exposure.
Because of this, it is essential that anyone facing charges of sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian speak with a qualified criminal defense attorney to develop a defense. It is imperative that a defense address as many of the charged offenses as possible. Otherwise, you could end up beating one charge but going down on several equally serious offenses.Defenses to Sex Crimes
In a prosecution for sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian, as is the case with many other North Carolina sex crimes involving children, the child’s consent is not relevant. Thus, having a minor’s consent to engage in sexual activity is not a defense. However, there are other defenses available. For example, one of the most commonly used defenses in any sex crime case is challenging the reliability or truthfulness of the alleged victim’s testimony. For example, young children can often be coached into regurgitating allegations placed in their minds by their loved ones. Children can also be mistaken or not have sufficient memory of the event to meet the prosecution’s burden.Are You Facing a North Carolina Sex Crime Prosecution?
If you were recently charged with sexual activity by a substitute parent or custodian or any other North Carolina sexual offense, reach out to the dedicated attorneys at the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC. At our Charlotte criminal defense law firm, we have decades of combined experience defending the rights of individuals facing serious crimes. When you bring the Olsinski Law Firm, PLLC onto your team, we will listen to your input and, together, come up with a strong defense. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation with a Charlotte sex crimes lawyer, give us a call at 704-405-2580. You can also reach our Concord criminal defense lawyers at 704-918-4747.