The Campaign For DA

10.23.2007

It's Halloween . . .


. . . so it is time for the Sheriff's annual publishing of Registered Sex Offenders in the local paper. A pdf version of it is available now.

The sexual offender list really bugs me. Some defendants, based upon the facts, simply don't deserve it. But even if he/she pleads to a deferred adjudication probation (which means they weren't found guilty) they still have to register as a sex offender - oftentimes for life and long after their probation has ended. And the crazy part was that the registration law was retroactive. There were many, many people who pled in the 1980s and earlier, successfully completed their probation, only to find out that a new law required them to register for the rest of their lives.

Edit: Someone below ask me to explain what the various charges mean in the press release. Let me try to do that by describing what normally is meant by the various offenses when they involve crimes against children. Disclaimer: I'm not saying this is what happened with any of the individuals listed in the Sheriff's press release.

- Aggravated Sexual Assault: Generally, this means some type of sexual contact with a person younger than 14 years of age. Consent isn't an issue, and it basically includes any kind of sex act involving "below the belt" of either the defendant or the child (but the statute is very specific regarding what acts are prohibited). See Texas Penal Code § 22.021
- Sexual Assault: This is exactly like Aggravated Sexual Assault but with the victim being older. Specifically, the victim must be older than 14 but less than 17. See Texas Penal Code § 22.011
- Indecency With A Child By Contact: This generally means the touching with the hand of the "private parts", including breasts, of a person under 17 years of age. The touching must not be accidental but with the intent to "arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person." See Texas Penal Code §21.11
-Indecency With A Child By Exposure: This normally means the defendant exposed his "private parts" to a person under 17. Once again, the exposure must be done with the same "arouse or gratify" intent as mentioned above.

Concerning consensual sex among teenagers, there is a defense to the last three crimes if the defendant "was not more than three years older than the victim" (so long as the defendant was not already a sex offender.) That defense does not apply to Aggravated Sexual Assault.