A new law has recently been introduced to the California State Senate that would increase penalties for juveniles who sexually assault someone in a defenseless state. Since it is likely to pass as no senate member wants to be seen as soft on sex offenses, here is what you should know about the law courtesy of San Diego juvenile sex crimes lawyer Peter M. Liss.
The law is officially known as SB 838 but has been nicknamed “Audrie’s Law” after teenager Audrie Pott, who was the victim of a violent sexual assault while she was passed out after drinking too much. The three boys responsible not only raped the young girl, but also drew crude images of her and photographed the assault. They then shared the pictures online. After classmates teased her and bullied her for eight days, the 15 year old girl took her own life.
The three boys responsible for the attack were all convicted of two felony charges. Two of the boys received 30 day sentences that were to be served on weekends and the other boy was sentenced to 45 consecutive days incarceration. Since the boys are minors and the rape was not forceful, they were charged in juvenile court and San Diego juvenile sex offender attorney Peter M. Liss says it is possible they will not be made to register as sex offenders either.
In response to the high profile case and the light sentencing of the boys, Audrie’s Law aims to make penalties more severe for teens who sexually assault someone in a defenseless state, including unconsciousness or being developmentally disabled. The crime would also add an enhancement to any sexual assault in which the offender shares video, photos or other media of the incident with the intent to further harm the victim.
So what does this mean for juveniles accused of sex crimes in San Diego? Lawyers defending juvenile sex offenders who have not been accused of forced rape, sodomy, and oral copulation are currently tried in juvenile courts and the proceedings are not made public. This bill would add rape, sodomy and oral copulation committed on a defenseless victim to that list, meaning the three boys who raped Audrie would most likely have been charged in an adult court and have their names and photos available to the public. On top of that, the boys could also face an enhancement for sharing the photos of Audrie that would add an additional year imprisonment to their sentence.
If you are a juvenile accused of a sex crime, or the parent of one, San Diego juvenile attorney Peter M. Liss can help you fight these charges. Please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.
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