A 34-year-old man has recently been convicted of committing sexual acts against children after having been arrested for these charges in 2010. Because he fled to Mexico, the case against him has had to wait until he could be extradited to the United States. The man has been convicted of several different charges, including rape, assault with intent to commit rape, burglary, child abuse, the aggravated assault of a child, lewd acts on a minor under the age of 14 (with the use of force and fear), and sexual acts against a minor under the age of 10 years.
All of these different violations of the law can seem confusing, so it is helpful to break some of them down to their separate elements. Here, we will discuss only two: lewd acts with a minor under the age of 14 and sexual acts against a minor under the age of 10. Generally speaking, California Penal Code 288 (“Lewd Acts with a Minor”) makes it illegal to purposefully touch a child’s intimate parts for the purposes of sexual gratification. This touching may be over or under clothing and it does not matter whether you actually became aroused, just that this was the purpose of the touching. If convicted of a violation of CA PC 288, you could spend up to 1 year in county jail or up to 8 years in state prison, depending on the facts of the case. If force or fear was used, as was in the case above, then the penalty goes up to 5 to 10 years in state prison. Additionally, if this is not the first such charge against you in your lifetime, you could end up with a sentence of 25 years to life.
Having sexual intercourse with a child under the age of 10, however, brings with it an entirely different set of penalties. When an individual has actual intercourse with such a young child, then CA Penal Code 288.7 is applied. This crime is always a felony and the sentences is 25 years to life if you are convicted.