In Kentucky, being charged with any type of sexual offense is a serious matter. Being found guilty of those charges can mean prison time and, in nearly every instance of conviction for a sexual offense, requires the offender to register on both the Kentucky and National Sexual Predator Registries, something every potential employer can see during routine background checks.
If you or your loved one has been charged with a sex crime in Kentucky, work on your defense should begin immediately. Calling a competent Kentucky sexual offense attorney like Dan Carman is the first step you should take. They will review the charges and the facts of the case and build the best defense possible for you or your loved one.
What Are Sexual Offenses?
Sexual offenses are generally defined as a class of sexual conduct prohibited by law. Chapter 510 of the Kentucky Revised Statutes lists rape, sodomy, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, indecent exposure, and “unlawful use of electronic means originating or received within the Commonwealth to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities,” as sexual offenses that, depending on several factors, including the age of the person who was subjected to the offense, the person’s ability to consent, and the number of times the offense occurred in a certain time period, will be treated as either a misdemeanor or a felony.
Rape – Rape is defined by degrees in KRS Chapter 510. Rape in the first degree, as spelled out in KRS 510.040, is the act of engaging in sexual intercourse with someone by forcible compulsion (physical force or threat of physical force), or engaging in sexual intercourse with someone who is incapable of consent because they are physically helpless or less than 12 years old.
Rape in the second degree is the act of engaging in sexual intercourse by a person 18 years old or more with someone less than 14 years old, or with someone who is mentally incapacitated.
Rape in the third degree is the act of engaging in sexual intercourse with someone who is incapable of consent because they have an intellectual disability; engaging in the act with someone less than 16 when the accused rapist is 21 years old or older; engaging in the act with someone less than 18 when the accused rapist is 21 or older and providing a foster family home for the younger person; engaging in the act with a minor under 18 years old when the accused rapist is a person in a position of authority or special trust who comes in contact with the minor as a result of that position; or engaging in the act with someone known to be incarcerated, supervised, evaluated, or treated by the Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice, a detention facility, or entity under contract with either department or a detention facility when the accused rapist is a jailer, employer, contractor, vendor, or volunteer of either department, a detention facility, or entity under contract.
Sodomy – Sodomy is an act of deviate sexual intercourse, as defined in KRS 510.010(1), and is delineated by first, second, and third degrees, similar to the degrees of rape. Additionally, a charge of sodomy in the fourth degree results when someone is accused of engaging in deviate sexual intercourse with another person of the same sex.
Sexual abuse – Sexual abuse involves sexual contact, defined in KRS 510.010(7) as “any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person done for the purpose of gratifying the sexual desire of either party.”
Similar to the crime of rape, there are three degrees of sexual abuse, with first degree sexual abuse treated as a Class D felony, unless the victim is less than 12 years old, in which case it is treated as a Class C felony; second degree sexual abuse is treated as a Class A misdemeanor; and third degree sexual abuse is treated as a Class B misdemeanor.
Sexual misconduct – KRS 510.140 states that a person is guilty of sexual misconduct when they engage in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with someone without that person’s consent.
Indecent exposure – Under KRS 510.148, a person who “intentionally exposes his genitals under circumstances in which he knows or should know that his conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to a person under the age of 18 years” is guilty of indecent exposure in the first degree. The first offense of indecent exposure in the first degree is treated as a Class B misdemeanor; any subsequent offense after three offenses committed within three years of a prior conviction is treated as a Class D felony.
A person who exposes his genitals to someone 18 years old or older is guilty of indecent exposure in the second degree. This crime is treated as a Class B misdemeanor.
Unlawful use of electronic means. . . to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities – KRS 510.155, which was first enacted in 2005, makes it unlawful for someone to “knowingly use a communications system, including computers, computer networks, computer bulletin boards, cellular telephones, or any other electronic means” to procure or promote the use of a minor—or a peace officer posing as a minor—to commit rape, sodomy, or sexual abuse in the first degree, or to violate KRS 529.100, related to human trafficking, KRS 530.064(1)(a), related to unlawful transactions with a minor in the first degree, or KRS 531, related to sexual exploitation of minors.
Violations of KS 510.155, which are applicable to electronic communications originating within or received within the Commonwealth, are treated as Class D felonies.
What Are the Penalties for Sexual Offenses?
Punishment for sexual offense convictions can range from not more than 90 days behind bars up to more than 20 years or even life, depending on the crime and on the age of the victim. For example, sexual abuse in the third degree is treated as a Class B misdemeanor, and a person found guilty of this crime generally faces no more than 90 days’ imprisonment, while a guilty verdict for rape in the first degree, which is treated as either a Class B or Class A felony (depending on whether the victim is less than 12 and on whether they were seriously physically injured) will result in a prison term of 10 to 20 years up to 50 years or life.
Kentucky Sex Offender Registry
The Kentucky Sex Offender Registration Act requires any person 18 or older at the time of the offense—or any youthful offender who has committed a sex crime or criminal offense against a victim who is a minor—and sexually violent predators to register on or before their release with the probation and parole office in the county where they intend to live after their release from prison.
Lifetime registration is required for persons who have one or more prior convictions for crimes including those against a victim who is a minor, who have one or more prior sex crime convictions, who were convicted of first degree rape or sodomy, or who are sexually violent predators. Persons convicted of other crimes related to sexual offenses are required to register for 10 years following release from confinement or discharge from the requirements of early release, whichever period is longer.
Failing to register or knowingly providing false, misleading, or incomplete information is treated as a felony in Kentucky.
Information on the registry is maintained by the Kentucky State Police, and is accessible to anyone who wishes to perform a search of the registry. This means neighbors can go to the website and search the registry when a new neighbor moves in. The registry is also routinely used by potential employers when they perform background checks on job applicants.
Have You or a Loved One Been Accused of a Sexual Offense?
If you or your loved one were charged with a sexual offense in Kentucky, you need to act immediately by contacting a dedicated Lexington sexual offense lawyer like Dan Carman. Being found guilty of any sexual offense can have serious consequences for you or your loved one and your family. Not only is it possible that the family breadwinner may spend time in prison, but registration as a sex offender after release may mean continued financial hardship for the family.
Call Dan Carman today at (859) 838-1415 or fill out the online contact form so he can begin work with you on defense against these very serious charges.