Super-Aggravated Sexual Assault vs. Continuous Sexual Assault

super aggravated sexual assault

Super-aggravated sexual assault is a term that not everybody may be familiar with. Hopefully, you are not hearing it for the first time as the result of an accusation or a charge that you are facing.

If this is the case, it’s imperative that you understand the nature of the charges that you’re facing, as well as how super-aggravated sexual assault differs from continuous sexual assault.

Our team of experienced attorneys at Soyars & Morgan Law can help you understand the legal definition of these terms as well as how they apply to your unique situation.

What is a Continuous Sexual Assault of a child in Texas?

Years ago, Texas passed a law to punish ongoing abusive sexual relations with a child more harshly than isolated incidents.  

A continuous sexual assault of a child charge requires that the child be 14 years old or younger and at least two acts of sexual abuse occur at least 30 days apart. 

“Sexual Abuse” includes: 

  • Sexual assault 
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Indecency with a child by contact
  • Aggravated kidnapping with intent to violate or abuse the child sexually

Sexual abuse also encompasses burglary with intent to commit any of the above listed offenses against a child or sexual performance by a child.

What is Sexual Assault of a Child in Texas?

Sexual assault of a child in Texas punishes sex abuse against children age 14-16 when one of the following occur:

  1. Any penetration of child’s sexual organ or anus by any object
  2. Any penetration of a child’s mouth by a sex organ
  3. Any contact between child’s mouth and any other sex organ or anus
  4. Any contact between child’s sexual organ or anus and any other sexual organ, anus or mouth.

What is Aggravated Sexual Assault of a child in Texas?

Aggravated sexual assault of a child punishes sex abuse against children age 13 or younger when one of the following occur:

  1. Any penetration of child’s sexual organ or anus by any object
  2. Any penetration of a child’s mouth by a sex organ
  3. Any contact between child’s mouth and any other sex organ or anus
  4. Any contact between child’s sexual organ or anus and any other sexual organ, anus or mouth.

What is Super-Aggravated Sexual Assault in Texas?

Super-aggravated sexual assault of a child in Texas occurs when there is an aggravated sexual assault of a child under 6 OR if the child is under 14 years, the accused in addition to committing the aggravated sexual assault of that child: 

  1. Causes or threatens to cause serious bodily injury, death or kidnapping
  2. Uses a deadly weapon
  3. Acts in concert with others who also sexually assault the child
  4. Uses a drug to facilitate the sexual assault of the child.

 

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What is the punishment for a Continuous Sexual Assault of Child in Texas?

The punishment is very harsh for a continuous sexual assault of a child in Texas. The first offense has a minimum of 25 years to life and there is no opportunity for parole. The second offense is punished with a life sentence without parole.

In addition to the extremely harsh 25 year minimum, once released from prison, the convicted person will be required to register as a sex offender for life. These offenses are also stackable, so if the accused is also convicted of less serious sex crimes in addition to this crime, the court can stack the sentences and increase the accused’s prison sentence. 

What is the punishment for a Super Aggravated Sexual Assault of a child in Texas?

In Texas, super aggravated sexual assault of a child and continuous sexual assault of a child have the same harsh punishment ranges.

The first offense has a minimum of 25 years to life and there is no opportunity for parole.  The second offense is punished with a life sentence without parole. 

Upon release from prison, the accused is required to register as a sex offender for life. 

Similar to continuous sexual assault, the offenses for super aggravated sexual assault are also stackable. Therefore, if if the accused has been convicted of a less serious sex crime in addition to their super aggravated sexual assault crime, it is possible to increase the accused’s prison sentence by stacking the sentences.

Super-Aggravated Sexual Assault vs. Continuous Sexual Assault

Super-aggravated sexual assault and continuous sexual assault address different fact patterns.  

Sexual aggravated assault covers more specific situations involving one victim that are aggravated by the factors involved, while continuous sexual assault covers a broader pattern of sexual abuse conduct that could involve multiple victims or a single victim over a period of time. 

Because of delays in reporting sexual abuse experienced by children and the secretive nature of those offenses, sexual abuse can occur over a longer period of time before it is discovered.  Continuous sexual assault allows prosecutors to rely on two or more different types of sexual abuse against one or more children over a period of time.

It also does not require jurors to agree on the particular acts or dates of the alleged offenses, only that the defendant committed at least two acts of sexual abuse during a period of at least 30 days.

Super aggravated assault only requires one incident.  Super aggravated assault is the same as an aggravated sexual assault with one additional aggravating factor.

The victim must either be under 6 years old OR if the child is under 14 years, the accused in addition to committing the aggravated sexual assault of that child (1) causes or threatens to cause serious bodily injury, death or kidnapping, (2) uses a deadly weapon, (3) acts in concert with others who also sexually assault the child, or (4) uses a drug to facilitate the sexual assault of the child.

Sex offenders may seek to gain compliance of the child victim by threatening to harm the child or someone the child loves. This additional level of threat to gain the child’s compliance, can serve as an additional aggravating factor to convert an “aggravated sexual assault of a child” offense into a “super-aggravated sexual assault of a child” offense.

Which is worse – Super-Aggravated Sexual Assault or Continuous Sexual Assault?

In Texas, super-aggravated sexual assault is considered worse than continuous sexual assault of a child, even though the two offenses seem to carry the same punishment range initially. 

The difference is not in the first conviction, but in any subsequent convictions for the same offense.  Under Texas enhancement laws a second conviction for super-aggravated sexual assault is a capital felony punishable by the death penalty or life without parole. 

A second conviction for continuous sexual assault, though, is only a life sentence with no possibility of parole.

What should I do if I am accused of sexual assault of a child?

If you have been accused of sexually abusing a child, contact an experienced Board-Certified criminal defense attorney immediately. Accusations of sexual assault of a child are serious and even denials of the conduct are generally not enough to prevent prosecution. 

So, if you become aware that you are the target of a sexual assault allegations, you need to understand that you will not be able to talk your way out of it.  You will need a knowledgeable, experienced attorney to help you successfully navigate the situation.

All too often our society is already prepared to convict someone accused of sexually assaulting a child, before they have ever heard any of the actual evidence in the case.  If this statement seems harsh, you are right!  The stigma of sex offense allegations is considered worse than the general stigma of being accused of any other crime. 

Therefore, you will need to be prepared to employ an attorney to speak on your behalf so that statements you make cannot later be used against you. Even benign statements can have a devastating impact on a sex crime case.

How expensive is it to defend against an accusation of child sexual abuse?

Be prepared for the expense of your defense. Why, you ask? Because even murderers tend to get more sympathy than someone accused of a sex crime against a child. And, the punishments for child sex offenders if you are convicted are often harsher than all other types of crimes with exception of capital murder.  

So, putting in resources to build your defense will be a priority. In addition to legal fees, there will also be fees to retain DNA and/or forensic experts, transcripts, and investigators.  

If you can afford to retain an attorney, this will be your best option. Board-certified, award-winning trial attorneys do not tend to hang out on the court appointment list. 

So, while you may be forced because of your financial resources to go with a court appointed attorney, you should make every effort to consider retaining an attorney that you have vetted and hand-picked for the facts of your particular case. 

What if I don’t have money for everything?

If you only have funds to retain an attorney, but not for all the additional expenses, your retained attorney may still be able to get additional funding from the court if you qualify to cover the additional expert/investigator expenses. 

The fact of the matter is that you will need to make it a priority to retain the best attorney possible to defend you. Even if that is just for the initial stages of the case…hiring an experienced local board-certified criminal defense attorney will often make a tremendous difference in your case outcome.

Our legal team at Soyars & Morgan Law is versed in sexual assault cases and well-prepared to offer the best defense in San Antonio against super aggravated sexual assault or continuous sexual assault cases.

For a free case evaluation, you may contact us through our online form or call us at (210) 390-0000).

Call (210) 390-0000 or email us
now to schedule your free consultation!