What constitutes sexual assault?
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Sexual assault can be defined as any type of "assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent" (Wikipedia). This could include a wide variety of inappropriate contact, as it is covers some of the most severe types of offenses, in addition to the most minor. It is also the most commonly prosecuted type of sex crime, since many types of sex crime fall under this broad category of criminal offense.
Unlawful acts that may be included under the charge of sexual assault include:
- Rape/forced penetration
- Child molestation
- Torture in a sexual manner
- Inappropriate sexual contact/groping
- Forced kissing
- Sexual harassment
- Domestic violence
These acts, all of which include inappropriate sexual conduct of some form, are punishable under the law. Even instances of forcefully kissing another or inappropriately groping someone without their consent can be defined as a sexual assault-and can therefore be punished through the means of the legal system. The use of manipulation, coercion, or verbal and/or physical threats in order to engage in sexual acts is also considered sexual assault.
"Gross Sexual Assault"
Gross sexual assault is a term that is used to define a range of unlawful sexual acts. It can include anything from engaging in sexual acts with a person that is mentally disabled-who is therefore unable to consent or object-to engaging in sexual acts with a person that has not yet reached the age of consent-which is 16 in the state of Maine. Depending on the type of assault that was committed, one might be charged with a serious classification of crime. In some instances, a conviction of gross sexual assault is a class A felony and is punishable by up to 40 years in prison and a $50,000 fine-not to mention the consequences of being labeled a "sex offender" for the duration of an individual's life.
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