Sexual Crimes & Texas’ Criminal Justice System

Offenses involving Sexual assaults and other crimes of a sexual nature are harshly prosecuted under the Texas legal system. The crime is committed when a person deliberately has non-consensual sex with another. Most of the sex offenders are males; it’s usually hard to hear of females being involved in sexual assaults.

Depending on the evidence presented by the prosecution sexual assault can be a first degree or second-degree felony. In the Texas legal system, sexual assault is in most cases considered a second-degree felony which attracts a jail sentence of 2 to 20 years. A person can be eligible for parole only after serving half of their sentences.

The Definition of Sexual Consent

Sex Crimes & Texas Law

The issue of mutual consent is critical in the conviction of a sexual crime such as rape. In Texas law, the age of consent is 17 years. Prosecutors of sexual crimes must provide sufficient evidence to the court, that the accused individual intentionally forced the penetration of their sexual organ into another without the consent of the other individual which may also be oral or anal sex acts.

Two scenarios can be considered here under the Texas law:

  • One, A person can’t be charged for sexual assault of a child, If they have consensual sex, and one of them is younger than 17 years but at least 14 years and their age difference is at most 3 years.
  • The second, it is considered a sexual assault of a child, despite the sex being consensual, when one is at least 14 years, and the older person is more than 3 years older.

Sex Crimes & Aggravating Factors

Sex offenders may employ various ways to deliberately force sex to a non-consenting party.

The defendant can use physical force or violence to overpower his victim. They can use drugs, chemicals, alcohol or any controlled substances on a victim to impair their judgment. They may take advantage when the victim is unconscious or is in a mental state where they are incapable of resisting or unaware of what is happening. A person in higher authority may deliberately use his power to intimidate the victim into non-consensually engaging in sex.

Statistics from The National Center for Victims of Crime and Crime Victims Research and Treatment Center regarding sexual assault cases in Texas state approximates that over 226,000 children and 104,000 adults have been victims of rape annually.Universities and colleges are a hotbed of sexual crime cases.

This is because of the risky behavior students engage in particularly under the influence of alcohol and drugs prevalent in the institutions. Many female students have reported being raped. Recent data in Texas state shows that Baylor University leads among the 18 largest universities in the state in reported sexual-assault related crimes. Unfortunately, many sex crime cases go unreported and the victims suffer in silence.

Hopefully, Non-profit organizations have sprung up to fight sexual violence. For example, the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault(TAASA) aims to prevent, create public awareness and eliminate sexual violence in Texas. Particularly, In the largest cities such as Houston that has a high number of registered sex offenders. Many other organizations are also advocating for sexual violence victims and act as a voice to fight and ensure justice is served.