If someone in your family faces an investigation or charge of sexual assault of a child, you may be wondering how serious the penalties for that crime are in Texas.
This question certainly applies to a Conroe man who recently was arrested by officers of Conroe Independent School District Police and charged with 3 counts of second-degree felony sexual assault of a child.
He was later released on a $30,000 bond, according to court and Montgomery County jail records, as reported by The Courier of Montgomery County.
In 2015, the man was a Conroe High School substitute teacher who allegedly had a sexual relationship with a student, then 16. (In Texas, the age of consent for sex is 17, and a 16-year-old is considered to be a child, or minor.) He then resigned from Conroe ISD and was a teacher for Aldine ISD in northern Harris County from 2016-2020.
In April 2021, the man reportedly admitted to 1 sexual encounter with the student, when speaking to a Conroe ISD Police investigator. He has denied the girl’s claim of more than 1 such encounter.
This case is part of a growing trend of Texas teachers being accused of having sex with students.
Prison time may be 20 years
As for Texas penalties for second degree felony sexual assault of a child, they include a sentence of at least 2 years and as many as 20 years in prison, as well as a fine of up to $10,000. A convicted person also must register as a sex offender when released from prison.
Instead of prison, a person with no previous criminal history may be eligible for deferred adjudication, which is a probationary period of community supervision lasting from 2 to 10 years.
More prison time for sexual assault
There can be even more prison time for sexual assault in Texas.
A second-degree charge can be elevated to a first-degree charge if the sexual assault was against a minor or anyone who could not give consent, perhaps due to being intoxicated or unconscious. In that case, the penalty could be jail time of 5 years to 99 years.
Texas law also allows a charge of statutory sexual assault to be raised to a first-degree felony if the defendant was married at the time of the alleged assault.
In addition, the Texas penalties in cases involving children can vary depending on the age of a child.
If the person is under 17 years old, then a defense of consensual sex is not allowed since a child younger than 17 is not considered wise enough to make a choice in that matter.
Again, the age of consent in Texas is 17. Sex with a child under 17, even if allegedly consensual, is considered statutory rape and is a sexual assault. (Under Texas law, what is commonly referred to as “rape” is instead labeled “sexual assault.”)
Also keep in mind that, according to the Texas Penal Code on assaultive offenses, a defendant’s claim of not knowing the age of a child is not allowed as a valid defense for a charge of sexual assault of a child.
Texas penalties can be even more harsh when a sex crime is aggravated assault (which involves violence) or continuous assault of a child. Also, if a sexual assault involves a child under 6 years old, the penalty can be a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of 99 years in prison.
Get a Houston-area sex crime defense lawyer
If someone in your family faces such a charge, you should get the best Houston-area sex crime defense lawyer you can find. That search can begin—and end—with the award-winning Neal Davis Law Firm.
Contact us today to arrange a confidential consultation with an experienced sexual assault defense attorney for Houston, Conroe, The Woodlands, Sugar Land or elsewhere in Harris County, Montgomery County or Fort Bend County.
With the possible penalties for sexual assault being so high in Texas, you need a knowledgeable sex crime defense attorney to fight for your legal rights.