Carl David Ceder - Attorney and Counselor at Law

Indecency with a Child – Texas

Any time a child is involved and is the alleged victim for any sexual-related offense, the State of Texas will treat this type of offense with the utmost seriousness. One such alleged offense is a crime is indecency with a child. Due to the nature of these types of charge, punishment can include much harsher penalties, prison time, fines and being required to register as a sex offender.

There are two types of indecency with a child in Texas:

  •  Indecency with a child by contact;
  • Indecency with a child by exposure

Laws of Texas for indecency with a child

When it comes to indecency with a child, these types of cases are the ones that are quite sensitive. This is why there is a lot of effort required to solve them. The sexual accusation can be a devastating event in the life of any person. However, when the case is related to a child, it is much worse. All these kind of acts are against the laws and the person has to face a lot of serious consequences if these charges are proved on them. Laws of Texas have clearly stated all the details about the indecency with a child and its punishments.

The details of indecency with a child come under the Texas penal code 21.11 which is divided into two categories:

Exposure:

As per the sections of the law, a person will be considered as responsible for the offense if they take part in the following for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal. These conditions are explained as follows:

  • Cause a child to expose their sexual parts.
  • To expose their own anus or genitals in the presence of a child.

In both the above-mentioned situations, a person will be considered as an offender. Moreover, this offense will be considered as a third-degree felony. The punishment will be given according to the severity of the offense.

Contact:

The next form of showing indecency with a child is in the form of sexual contact. The details are explained under section a (1) in the law of Texas. A person will be considered as an offender if he or she comes in a sexualcontact with a child. The child will be the one who is under the age of 17 years. The act will then engage a child in the sexual contact. Following are the points included in this sexual contact:

  • Causing a child to touch private parts i.e. breast, genitals or anus of the person.
  • Touching the private parts of the child such as breast, genitals or anus. It can be done wither with clothes on or off.

Indecency with a Child by Contact

As stated in section 21.11 of the Texas Penal Code, indecency with a Child by Contact is defined as follows:
(a) A person commits an offense if, with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex and regardless of whether the person knows the age of the child at the time of the offense, the person:
(1) engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact.

“Sexual contact” is defined by the following acts if committed with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:  (1) any touching by a person, including touching through clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child; or (2) any touching of any part of the body of a child, including touching through clothing, with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a person.

Indecency with a Child by Exposure

This offense can occur when an individual exposes any part of the genitals in the presence of a child or causes the child to reveal his or her genitals with the intention of creating arousal or gratifying sexual desire. As stated in section 21.11 of the Texas Penal Code, Indecency with a Child by Exposure is defined as follows:
(a) A person commits an offense if, with a child younger than 17 years of age, whether the child is of the same or opposite sex and regardless of whether the person knows the age of the child at the time of the offense, the person:
(2) with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:  (A) exposes the person’s anus or any part of the person’s genitals, knowing the child is present; or (B) causes the child to expose the child’s anus or any part of the child’s genitals.

Difference between “contact” and “exposure” in relation to indecency with a child

There is a difference between indecency with a child by contact and exposure. According to the Texas court of criminal appeals, it rules that “exposure” is not “necessarily subsumed” within “sexual contact”. To add credence to the ruling of the Texas court of criminal appeals, Texas highest criminal court has ruled that “sexual contact” may be accomplished by way of “any touching by a person, including touching through clothing…” and thus, it rules that it is possible to commit indecency with a child by contact without necessarily committing indecency with a child by exposure.
The same law also states the possibility of a person committing indecency with a child by exposure without necessarily committing indecency with a child by contact. This is because a person can commit the required exposure without ever engaging in contact. In effect to the above, Section 21.11 of the Texas Penal Code created two different types of child indecency offense.

PUNISHMENT UNDER TEXAS LAW

The punishment for the indecency with a child is clearly stated in the laws of Texas. The offender will have to remain imprisoned for a longer period of time by the judge or the jury. However, it must also be noted here that a person has to experience exceeded punishment on the basis of bad criminal history. Other factors may also contribute to the increase and decrease of punishment. If a person does not have any kind of criminal history or record, they will have to face the following consequences:

A person convicted of indecency with a child, either by contact or by exposure, with a possible sentence of:

  • Indecency with a child by sexual contact: second-degree felony, with a range of punishment of no less than 2 years a maximum of 20 years in prison; and a maximum fine of $10,000.
  • Indecency with a child by exposure: third-degree felony with a range of punishment of no less than 2 years a maximum of 10 years in prison; and a maximum fine of $10,000.

Individuals with prior felony convictions and a registered sex offender have a harsher punishment as a repeat offender. Invariably, an individual convicted of indecency with a child by exposure classified as a third-degree felony could be facing:

  • A prison sentence of 2 to 20 years after a prior sentence;
  • 25 years to 99 years or life imprisonment if you have gone to prison two separate times for 2 felonies.

Automatic Life sentence if you an individual has a previous conviction for:

  • Sexual performance of a child
  • Sexual assault
  • Aggravated sexual assault
  • Child sex trafficking
  • Indecency with a child (contact or exposure)
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child

POSSIBLE DEFENSES
Under section 21.11(b) of the Texas Penal Code, there is an “affirmative defense” based on age. This is part of the Texas “Romeo and Juliet” laws that allow for some flexibility even if the alleged victim is below the age of consent. First, this allows for an age difference less than three years between the parties who are of the opposite sex and that there was no duress, force, or threat involved in the sexual activity and the defendant is not a registered sex offender. Second, if the accused the actor was the spouse (they were married) of the child at the time of the offense. 

Contact Us Now

You can contact The Law Offices of Carl David Ceder for assistance at 214.702.CARL(2275) or at 469.2000.DWI(394). You can also e-mail Carl directly, at Carl@CederLaw.com; or to the office for general inquiries at Info@DFWDefenders.com. Phones should be answered 24 hours a day/7 days a week for immediate and prompt assistance. E-mail messages will try to be responded to with 24-48 hours, depending on whether Carl and his team is in trial and/or is busy working on a case for a contested hearing.