Washington DC Child Sex Abuse Laws

As most people are aware, it is illegal for an adult to engage in sexual activity with a minor. However, many people do not fully understand the laws and how they relate to the sexual exploitation of minors. Child sex abuse continues to be a serious problem nationwide, and Washington DC child sex abuse laws are aimed at stopping predators and helping victims.

Adults who engage in consensual or nonconsensual sexual activity with minors will face a myriad of serious legal consequences including jail time, fines, post-release supervision, and other forms of restitution. If you are suspicious of a sexual misconduct subjected to a minor, call an experienced attorney to learn about your options.

The Code of the District of Columbia

Washington DC child sex abuse laws are aimed at preventing adults from engaging in sexual activity with underage individuals. Chapter 30 of the Code of the District of Columbia outlines the various sex abuse laws and their accompanying penalties, and acts are placed in varying “degree” categories. Individuals who engage in illegal sexual activities with minors will face one or more of the following charges:

  • First-degree child sexual abuse (can result in life imprisonment)
  • Second-degree child sexual abuse (up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine)
  • First-degree sexual abuse of a minor (up to 15 years in prison and a fine of $37,500)
  • Second-degree sexual abuse of a minor (up to 7.5 years in prison and a fine of $25,000)
  • Enticing a child or minor (up to five years in prison)

There are also laws prohibiting adults from engaging in sexual activity with minors in an educational or institutional setting.

Statutory Rape

In the District of Columbia, the age of consent in 16 years old. This means that individuals who are at least 16 years old have a right to engage in consensual sexual activities. Conversely, individuals who are 15 years of age and younger do not, even if they provide verbal or written consent. Adults who participate in sexual activity with teenagers under the age of 16 will be charged with statutory rape, which can result in a first or second-degree felony conviction. Those charged with first-degree statutory rape will can face a sentence of life in prison.

Adults charged with a second-degree felony will face a prison sentence of up to 10 years in jail and a fine of $100,000. The District does have laws allowing certain minors to consent to sexual activity with partners who are less than four years older than themselves.

Misdemeanor Sexual Offenses

Adults can also be charged with engaging in sexually suggestive conduct with a minor. This is a misdemeanor charge, and those convicted will face shorter prison sentences than those convicted of felony child sex abuse. Any adult who engages in the following acts will face a misdemeanor child sex abuse charge:

  • Touching a child inside their clothing
  • Touching a child anywhere near their breast, buttocks, or genitalia
  • Having a child touch their own genitalia

A conviction can result in up to 180 days in jail and a legal fine.

Find Out More About Washington DC Child Sex Abuse Laws

It is illegal for any adult to engage in sexual activity with a person under the age of 16, even if it is consensual. The law states that minors do not have the emotional or intellectual capacity to consent to sexual activity, and if a person suspects an adult of sexually exploiting a minor they should contact law enforcement. Learn more about Washington DC child sex abuse laws from an attorney today.