I was charged with sexual battery. What is that?
A person is guilty of sexual battery if the person, for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, engages in sexual contact with another person: (1) By force and against the will of the other person. In this article, I won’t be focusing on the second way a person could be charged with sexual battery (committing sexual battery against someone “who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless, and the person performing the act knows or should reasonably know that the other person is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.”). Sexual battery is a class A1 misdemeanor, which can be punished up to 150 days in jail. A sexual battery conviction requires the defendant to be in the Sex Offender Registry.
What does the prosecution have to show to prove I am guilty of sexual battery?
Let’s go more in-depth as to the elements of sexual battery. The prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the accused:
- for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse,
- engages in sexual contact
- with another person
- By force and against the will of the person.
1. “For the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse.”
For this element, the prosecution must prove the specific purpose. If the accused made statements about sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse, the prosecution may be able to prove this element, if the statements are not suppressed. ANYTHING YOU SAY CAN AND WILL BE USED AGAINST YOU. Please keep that in mind when speaking to the police.
If you did not make any statements, the prosecution will have a tougher time proving this element. In adult prosecutions of sexual battery, intent can be inferred from the act itself. See State v. Rhodes, 321 N.C.102, 105 (1987) (allowing defendant’s act of intercourse to support inference of purpose to arouse or gratify); State v. Connell, 127 N.C.App. 685, 690 (1997) (allowing evidence of defendant touching victim’s genitals and defendant’s later exculpatory statements to support inference that he intended to satisfy his sexual desires); State v. Jones, 89 N.C.App. 584, 598 (1988) (holding that evidence that defendant took victim to an isolated room and touched her genitals was sufficient to infer he acted for the purpose of arousing or gratifying his sexual desires).
2. “Engages in sexual contact.”
For this element, it must be sexual AND it must be contact. The legislature decided to define specifically what this means. The legislature defined “sexual contact” as:
(a) touching the sexual organ, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks of any person,
(b) a person touching another person with their own sexual organ, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks, or
(c) a person ejaculating, emitting, or placing semen, urine, or feces upon any part of another person.
Touching is defined as physical contact with another person, whether accomplished directly through the clothing of the person committing the offense, or through the clothing of the victim. Penetration is not required to be found guilty of sexual battery.
3. “With another person.”
Pretty self explanatory. It must be a person.
4. “By force and against the will of the other person.”
For this element, the prosecution must prove that the contact was without permission. Consent by the victim is a valid defense to this charge. Additionally, the prosecution must prove force. They can prove it through actual, physical force or constructive force.
Don’t roll over. Have someone advocate for you.
A conviction of sexual battery can have a life long effect on your life. Not only do you face jail time, you also have to participate in the Sex Offender Registry. The sex crime lawyers at Kurtz & Blum, PLLC will fight for you. We will challenge the weak points in their case and make sure we get the best result possible. Call Kurtz & Blum, PLLC now.