The common perception about sexual crimes and those who commit them are that they are committed by adult men mostly against women and sometimes against children. However, the perpetrators of sexual abuse are sometimes children committing offenses against other children.
Almost 1 in 3 perpetrators of child sex abuse are below the age of 18. Some are hesitant to report this type of sexual assault occurring between two persons below the age of 18. In addition, in some cases it can be difficult to evaluate and determine the abuser.
Peer-on-peer sexual abuse between minors occurs without the victim’s consent, without physical, mental, or age equality, or resulting from coercion emotionally or physically. These cases often peak in minors between the ages of 12 and 14. At this time in the life of an adolescent, any sexual tendency or activity cannot be relegated to kids playing doctor or any such excuse, particularly when the ramifications of such activity or serious.
Criminal charges against a minor for peer-on-peer sexual abuse
California law includes the following when it comes to filing criminal charges for sexual assault involving two minors, or at least the minor is the victim:
- If a minor is over the age of 14 and sexually abuses a younger minor child, the offender may be charged with a felony in accordance with Penal Code Section 288(a). If the offender is charged as an adult, the ensuing penalties may include a lengthy prison sentence, a maximum fine of $10,000, formal supervised probation, one strike per the states Three Strike laws, and required registration as a sex offender.
- Minors who are aged 14 to 17 may be charged with a misdemeanor for consensual, voluntary sexual activity. This misdemeanor is categorized as intercourse or lascivious or lewd acts with a child and subject to disposition in a juvenile court. In addition, under Penal Code Section 311, sexting is also punishable and categorized as possessing, producing, or distributing child pornography.
- Minors who are determined delinquent for child-on-child sexual abuse may be assigned detention or home probation until the age of 25, based on the evaluated risk to the public and the severity of the offense. Finally, a minor charged with a sex offense may be subject to lifetime sex offender registration pursuant to California’s Sex Offender Registration Act (Penal Code section 290).
If a child is below the age of 14 years of age and is suspected of committing sexual abuse against another child, the state of California will not conduct criminal proceedings against the offender.
Who can be held liable for peer-on-peer sexual abuse?
If the abuse occurred at school, in daycare, at a youth group, or while under the supervision of an adult, that adult and/or the organization itself may be held liable. The same is true if your child was abused at a private residence; the owners of that residence – most likely parents or legal guardians – may be held liable for your child’s injuries in a civil court.
If one of your children has suffered such abuse, Taylor & Ring is here to help. Our Los Angeles child sexual assault attorneys are committed to helping you achieve the justice and compensation you deserve for your injuries. To set up a consultation about your case, call us today at 310.776.6390 or complete our contact form.
Serving clients throughout the Greater Los Angeles and Southern California area, we represent victims in a variety of civil litigation cases. If you or a loved one has been injured, turn to an experienced Los Angeles personal injury or sexual assault lawyer.
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