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Sexual abuse of a child is a crime that is emotional for the family. It can result in the child unable to bear children in the future. In simple terms, continuous sexual abuse is assault on a child under the age of 14 with at least two acts taking place within three months. Continuous sexual abuse is one of the most serious crimes that one can face aside from murder. It can be punishable by 25 to 99 years in prison without the possibility of parole. In order to prove that the abuse has taken place, evidence needs to be provided to the court that it has occurred for a time of longer than three months.
There are a few components to charging a person with continuous sexual abuse of a child. The person has to knowingly and intentionally abuse the child. There has to be at least two acts committed among a list of assault and sexual acts. Among these acts are indecency by contacting the child on the genitals or anus, aggravated kidnapping with an intent to violate and sexual performance of a child. The victim has to be under the age of 14 at the time the act took place.
When the person is brought to trial, the jury does not have to agree that the same acts took place in order to charge the person with the crime. However, there needs to be a unanimous decision on at least three of the acts. There can also be allegations that more than one victim has been involved. Once the person has been charged with the sexual abuse and sentenced, there is no chance for early release. This is how the sexual abuse charge differs from most other aggravated offenses as with typical crimes, the person could be eligible for parole after serving half the time in prison.
If the person is convicted a second time for the same charge, then the sentence is life in prison. The person cannot receive any type of probation since the minimum sentence is 25 years and probation is only offered on sentences that are 10 years or less. Community supervision is not allowed in this kind of criminal case.
When thinking about who could be abused, while boys tend to be put in the public eye, girls are often abused more often than boys. Children who are disabled are more likely to be abused than those who are not disabled. Most of the people who sexually abuse children are males and are often related to the child or have some acquaintance with the child. There are a few signs that one can pay attention to if sexual abuse is suspected. The child will often seem withdrawn and might wince from pain. Mood swings are often noticed, and the child might have thoughts about bodily harm.
An attorney can help victims of sexual child abuse by bringing evidence in front of a judge. Any pictures or reports from a doctor or hospital should be presented to the attorney as evidence.