SEX OFFENSES

TEXAS PENAL CODE
TITLE 5. OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON
CHAPTER 21. SEXUAL OFFENSES

The following is a brief explanation of Chapter 21 of the Texas Penal Code regarding Sex Offenses. This is not to be construed as legal advice for any particular case. See also the full text of the Chapter 21 – Sex Offenses.

*NOTE – Section 21.15 regarding Improper Photography (i.e. Upskirting) was amended in 2015.  The summary of the amended law is below.

What is CONTINUOUS SEXUAL ABUSE OF A CHILD?

Chapter 21 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of CONTINUOUS SEXUAL ABUSE OF YOUNG CHILD OR CHILDREN in Texas.
Under Section 21.02, CONTINUOUS SEXUAL ABUSE OF YOUNG CHILD OR CHILDREN in Texas is committed by engaging in eight circumstances that qualify as sexual abuse. CONTINUOUS SEXUAL ABUSE OF YOUNG CHILD OR CHILDREN is:

  1. Committing any of the following acts,
  2. two or more times,
  3. against a child under age 14,
  4. by a person age 17 or older,
  5. over a period that is 30 days or longer.
    a. Kidnapping a child to abuse or violate that person sexually.
    b. An adult engaging in sexual contact with a child or causing a child to engage in sexual contact.
    c. Having vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse with a victim without their consent or having any type of intercourse with a child with or without their consent. Causing another person to have vaginal, oral, or anal intercourse with a victim without their consent or causing another person to have any type of intercourse with a child with or without their consent.
    d. Committing a sexual assault that is aggravated. Certain circumstances make a sexual assault more serious and the term aggravated is applied. The following situations qualify as aggravated assaults.
    i. Causing injury to the victim during the sexual assault.
    ii. Threatening harm or death to the victim or using a weapon in order to get the victim to comply sexually.
    iii. Kidnapping the victim to perform the sexual assault.
    iv. Working with another person to commit the sexual assault.
    v. Drugging the person to commit the sexual assault.
    vi. Sexually assaulting a child, an elderly person, or a disabled person.
    e. Entering a home or entering a building during a time it is closed to the public with the intent to sexually assault a person inside the structure.
    f. Causing a child to perform any type of sexual act or a parent or guardian permitting a child to perform any type of sexual act.
    g. intentionally transporting, enticing, recruiting, harboring or otherwise causing another person under the age of 18 to be touched or abused sexually, to be involved in any manner of prostitution, to participate in any type of sexual conduct, to possess or promote child pornography, or work in a job that is harmful to the child. A person who gains from these types of activities also commits sexual abuse.
    h. Forcing a child under age eighteen to work as a prostitute, even if the offender believed the child to be age eighteen or older.

The offender may have a defense against this charge based on elements summarized as follows:

  • Was the he difference between the offender’s age and the victim’s age small enough?
  • Did the offender commit the offense without using force?
  • Was the offender free of reportable convictions and not a registered sex offender for life?

CONTINUOUS SEXUAL ABUSE OF YOUNG CHILD OR CHILDREN is an enhanced First-Degree Felony. The punishment ranges from imprisonment of at least 25 years up to 99 years, or a life sentence, and up to a $10,000 fine.

What is PUBLIC LEWDNESS?

Chapter 21 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of PUBLIC LEWDNESS in Texas.

Under Section 21.07, PUBLIC LEWDNESS is defined in four separate ways, as follows:

  1. PUBLIC LEWDNESS is committed by intentionally engaging in vaginal sex in a public place or recklessly allowing another person to see the act, even if it is not done in a public place, but the offenders know their conduct is offensive to others who view the conduct.
  2. PUBLIC LEWDNESS is committed by intentionally engaging in oral or anal sex, or using an object to penetrate another person’s vagina or anus in a public place or recklessly allowing another person to see the act, even if it is not done in a public place, but the offenders know their conduct is offensive to others who view the conduct.
  3. PUBLIC LEWDNESS is committed by intentionally touching the breasts, genitals, or anus of another person in a public place or recklessly allowing another to see the act, even if it is not done in a public place, but the offenders know their conduct is offensive to others who view conduct.
  4. PUBLIC LEWDNESS is committed by intentionally engaging in sexual activity with an animal in a public place or recklessly allowing another person to see the act, even if it is not done in a public place, but the offender knows his conduct is offensive to others who view conduct.

PUBLIC LEWDNESS is a class A misdemeanor.  The punishment range is 0-365 days in the county jail and up to a $4,000 fine.

What is INDECENT EXPOSURE?

Chapter 21 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of INDECENT EXPOSURE in Texas.

Under Section 21.08, INDECENT EXPOSURE is committed by an offender exposing his or her genitals or anus to create arousal, or by recklessly allowing another person to see his or her genitals or anus when the offender knows the conduct is offensive to the other person.

INDECENT EXPOSURE is a Class B misdemeanor.  The punishment range is 0-180 days in county jail, and up to a $2,000 fine.

What is INDECENCY WITH A CHILD?

Chapter 21 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of INDECENCY WITH A CHILD in Texas.

Under Section 21.11, INDECENCY WITH A CHILD is defined in two separate ways as follows:

  1. INDECENCY WITH A CHILD is committed by an adult engaging in sexual contact with a child or causing a child to engage in sexual contact with another. Sexual contact is a person touching the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person, including touching through clothing.
  2. INDECENCY WITH A CHILD is committed by an adult knowingly exposing his genitals or anus to a child with an intent to create arousal, or causing the child to expose his or her genitals or anus when the adult has an intent to create arousal.

INDECENCY of the first type is a second-degree felony. INDECENCY of the second type is a third-degree felony.

The offender may have a defense against this charge based on elements that are summarized as follows:

  • Was the he difference between the offender’s age and the victim’s age small enough and were the two parties of the opposite sex?
  • Did the offender commit the offense without using force?
  • Was the offender free of reportable convictions and not a registered sex offender for life?

The offender may have a defense against this charge based on being married to the child at the time of the offense.

What is IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATOR AND STUDENT?

Chapter 21 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATOR AND STUDENT in Texas.

Under Section 21.12, IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATOR AND STUDENT is defined in three separate ways as follows:

  1. IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATOR AND STUDENT applies to an employee of a public or private school serving students through the twelfth grade. The employee commits the offense by sexually touching a student or engaging in vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a student enrolled at the school where the employee works.
  2. IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATOR AND STUDENT applies to governing and administrative employees of a public or private school district serving students through the twelfth grade. The employee commits the offense by sexually contacting a student or engaging in vaginal, oral, or anal sex with a student enrolled at a school within the district where the employee works or with a student participating in an event sponsored by the district where the employee works.
  3. IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATOR AND STUDENT applies to an employee of a public or private school serving students through the twelfth grade. The employee commits the offense by having online contact of a sexual nature with a student enrolled at the school where the employee works, with a student enrolled in the district where the employee works, or with a student participating in an event sponsored by the school district where the employee works. Having this type of online sexual contact is an offense regardless of the student’s age.

IMPROPER RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN EDUCATOR AND STUDENT is a second-degree felony.  The punishment range is 2-20 years in Prison and up to a $10,000 fine.

The offender may have a defense against this charge based on being married to the child at the time of the offense.

The offender may have a defense against this charge based on the difference between the offender’s age and the victim’s age being small enough and the parties’ relationship began before the offender became an employee of the school or district.

What is IMPROPER PHOTOGRAPHY OR VISUAL RECORDING?

Section 21.15 IMPROPER PHOTOGRAPHY (aka Upskirting) was held unconstitutional and repealed. Section 21.15 is now INVASIVE VISUAL RECORDING. See the summary below and the text of the new statute INVASIVE VISUAL RECORDING (Texas new Upskirting law) here.

What is INVASIVE VISUAL RECORDING?

Chapter 21 of the Texas Penal Code governs the crime of INVASIVE VISUAL RECORDING in Texas.

Under Section 21.15, INVASIVE VISUAL RECORDING is defined in three separate ways as follows:

  1. INVASIVE VISUAL RECORDING is committed by photographing, videotaping, recording, broadcasting, or transmitting a visual image of the private parts of another person’s body without the other person’s consent and with intent to invade the privacy of the other person. This applies if the other person has a reasonable expectation that their private parts are not viewable by others.
  2. INVASIVE VISUAL RECORDING is committed by photographing, videotaping, recording, broadcasting, or transmitting a visual image of another person while he or she is in a bathroom or changing room without the other person’s consent and with intent to invade the privacy of the other person.
  3. INVASIVE VISUAL RECORDING is committed by knowingly promoting or sharing a photo, recording, broadcast, or transmission of a visual image of another person that was taken without that person’s consent and with the intent to invade the person’s privacy. This applies to visual images of (1) the private parts of another person’s body if the other person has a reasonable expectation that their private parts are not viewable by others and (2) a person while he or she is in a bathroom or changing room.

INVASIVE VISUAL RECORDING is a state jail felony.  The punishment range is 180 days – 2 years in a State Jail Facility and up to a $10,000 fine.

FORT WORTH

Primary Location
209 W. 8th St
Fort Worth, TX 76102
817.993.9249

KELLER

*By Appointment Only
204 S. Main St #195
Keller, Texas 76248
817.482.6770

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