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Defining sex crimes in Pennsylvania

There are a number of crimes that constitute sex crimes per Pennsylvania law. Three of them are rape, sexual assault and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

Sexual assault is defined as the act of engaging in sexual intercourse without your partner's consent. It is a second-degree felony. It is to be differentiated from rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

Rape is a more serious crime. Rape occurs if a person forces another to engage in sexual intercourse by threatening the victim in a way that they would be unable to prevent resistance. If a person engages in sexual intercourse with someone who is unconscious, this is also rape. Similarly if a person is unknowingly given drugs or alcohol as a means of preventing resistance, and becomes impaired, sexual intercourse with that person is considered rape. Sexual intercourse with someone with a mental disability, which prevents them from being able to consent, is also considered rape. Rape is a first-degree felony.

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse is intercourse per the anus through force or threat. It is also considered a first-degree felony.

These are only three types of sex crimes; there are more. However, all sex crimes are serious and carry heavy penalties, including the possibility of incarceration. In fact, mere accusations of sex crimes can be enough to tarnish a person's reputation and possibly affect their job and standing in their community. That is why it is important for those accused of sex crimes to put forth a strong legal defense in their favor. Seeking legal help may be a good step to take.

Source: Statutes of Pennsylvania, "Chapter 31 SEXUAL OFFENSES," accessed on Nov. 3, 2014

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