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Nonconsensual Groping: Is it a Sex Crime?

Monday Nov 7th, on Sex Crimes |

Recent news stories of alleged incidents of groping by presidential candidate Donald Trump have inundated TV, radio and other media outlets. According to the New York Times, numerous women in New York, as well as several women in other locations, have indicated that Trump “groped” them without their permission. Some news reports have described the accusations as claims that Trump committed “sexual assault.” However, the term sexual assault has a specific definition under the law and it is important to understand when and if unwanted touching could ever be considered criminal behavior.

If you are accused of non-consensual touching or “groping” someone, you could potentially face legal consequences, and those consequences could result in jail time, depending upon the charges. That said, you are encouraged to speak with a New York City federal sex crime defense attorney as soon as possible to obtain assistance with responding to allegations of groping.

When is Non-Consensual Groping Considered a Sex Crime?

There are three different categories of sex crimes in New York involving adult women. The different categories include indecent contact offenses; crimes involving unwanted exposure; and crimes involving sexual penetration.

Groping involves neither exposure nor penetration. However, groping could potentially be classified as an indecent contact offense. More specifically, unwanted groping that occurs in New York could result in misdemeanor charges of “forcible touching” under state law.

Forcible touching is defined as forcibly touching the intimate parts of another person, either to gratify the sexual desire of the person who is doing the touching or to degrade or abuse the person who is being touched.

Forcible touching can be a difficult crime for prosecutors to secure a conviction for because defendants can and do often argue that a reasonable mistake was made about whether the alleged victim wanted to be touched or not.

Criminal cases involving forcible touching are rare, according to the New York Times, and when such cases are prosecuted, they usually involve a situation where the defendant groped someone randomly on the streets. The circumstances in which the alleged groping occurred could have a big impact on whether a defendant is convicted of the offense or not.

If a defendant is convicted, forcible touching is considered a Class A misdemeanor within the state of New York. This means that there is a maximum penalty of a $1,000 fine, up to a year of imprisonment, and as long as three years of probation for the offense. 

The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC Can Help

If you are accused of groping someone, you need to take the accusations seriously. At The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC, our federal sex crime defense lawyers can provide you with assistance in responding to charges, all while maintaining the ultimate goal of trying to avoid a conviction for offensive unwanted touching.  Our attorneys can also provide assistance to those accused of other, more serious sex offenses at the federal or state level. Every accusation of a sexually-based offenses can damage your reputation, as well as result in legal consequences, so you need to act quickly in obtaining legal help. Contact us today.

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