If you or a family member faces an accusation or charge involving an alleged sexual assault, you may be wondering how serious sexual assault charges and penalties really are. Well, ultimately that depends on the charge and whether it’s a state charge for Texas or a federal charge for a federal offense.
Take the current case of former Columbia University (New York) gynecologist Robert Hadden, age 62. According to a CNN report, Dr. Hadden has been charged with 6 counts of enticing and inducing dozens of victims to travel to his medical offices in New York and then subjecting them to unlawful sexual abuse from about 1993 to 2012.
The 6 federal charges involve 1 minor and 5 adults. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. If convicted on all 6 counts and given the maximum punishment, Dr. Hadden would face 120 years—in effect, life—in prison.
Federal law charges and penalties are in effect
These charges and penalties involve federal law since prosecutors assert that Dr. Hadden induced victims to travel interstate to engage in the illegal sexual activity.
Dr. Hadden was arrested Wednesday, Sept. 9 and was set to appear before a federal judge on that day. The unsealed indictment is in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
Among his alleged victims is Evelyn Yang, wife of former candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination Andrew Yang. CNN said she told the news service in January that she was sexually assaulted by Dr. Hadden.
Later, dozens more accusers came forward, and new evidence emerged indicating that Columbia University officials were warned of Dr. Hadden’s behavior as long ago as the mid-1990s. That could make the university liable in civil lawsuits.
Texas sexual assault penalties
As for state law, the penalties for sexual assault in Texas depend on the nature of the offense.
Depending on the offense, how much prison time is there for sexual assault in Texas?
A defendant could face 5 to 20 years in prison if convicted of sexual assault of an adult in Texas. If a child under 6 years old is involved, then the prison time for such sexual assault could rise to a minimum of 25 years and a maximum of 99 years.
Defendants with a previous conviction for violent sexual assault even could face life in prison without parole if they were convicted of a first-degree felony for sexual assault.
Texas sexual assault defenses
As you can see, such charges and penalties are serious. Persons who are accused or charged with sexual assault should immediately engage an experienced sex crime defense attorney to explore possible defenses available under Texas law.
One such defense involves establishing that the alleged victim gave consent. Or, if the charge is for aggravated sexual assault, a defense may involve disproving the “aggravated” element, which holds that weapons, violence or injuries were involved.
You may even face a false claim of sexual assault of a child, as Texan Greg Kelley did, as seen in the recent Showtime documentary series Outcry. Fortunately, Kelley was able to establish his innocence, but only after serving 3 years in prison and spending another 2 years on bond.
Another Texas assault charge, newly established, is indecent assault. It involves actions against a person without their consent and with the intent of sexual gratification or arousal of themselves or someone else. Penalties include prison time of up to 1 year and a fine of up to $4,000.
When to consult a Houston-area sex crime defense lawyer
Persons who face a sexual assault charge in Houston, The Woodlands, Conroe, Sugar Land or the rest of Harris County, Montgomery County or Fort Bend County can contact an award-winning criminal defense law firm for help. They can contact the New Davis Law Firm and arrange a confidential consultation with a Houston-area sex crime defense lawyer.