Over the past couple years it has been more clear than ever that sexual assault is not an uncommon crime, but it doesn’t mean that victims suffer any less. Part of the reason why many choose not to speak out against these crimes is because they don’t have a strong enough sense of what the laws are regarding sexual misconduct in South Carolina, or because they are afraid that they have waited too long to report what has happened to them. While some crimes do carry a statute of limitations, in South Carolina, sexual conduct crimes are not among them, At Ryan Montgomery Law we offer a safe place to come forward at start the legal process toward justice.
How Sexual Misconduct is Categorized and Defined in SC
Not all misconduct is the same, nor does is carry the same penalties. In South Carolina, these crimes are categorized as follows
Criminal sexual conduct (1st, 2nd and 3rd degree), Spousal sexual battery, and Statutory rape. In order to determine which crime(s) are applicable in your case it is important to define each of these.
Criminal Sexual Conduct
- First Degree – First degree criminal sexual misconduct is the most serious offense, and in the criminal system carries a sentence of up to thirty years. It signified by the presence of circumstances that either forcibly confine the victim through kidnapping, trafficking, or administering a controlled substance and taking advantage of that person’s compromised state. Using tactics such as extortion, or targeting a person with simultaneous crimes such as robbery, burglary, or housebreaking also put the crime into this category.
- Second Degree – up to 20 years and uses aggravated coercion to accomplish sexual battery
- Third Degree- When aggravating circumstances are not found, the charge offered is third degree criminal sexual conduct, which carries a sentence of up to 10 years. This may happen when the victim is known to be helpless either physically or mentally, and it does not apply if the victim is a legal spouse, unless they are separated or if the victim is a spouse who is under age.
Spousal Sexual Battery
Spousal sexual battery involves sexual misconduct through aggravated force by one spouse against the other. It is the one case where prompt reporting makes a difference. the charge cannot be applied if it is not reported within 30 days of the offense.
Statutory rape is also categorized as being in first, second, or third degrees. The most serious offenses involve victims that are children under age 11, or under 16 if the accused is a known sex offender. A second degree offence is applied when victims are between 11-14, and may also include 15-year-olds when the perpetrator is a family member or in a custodial or authoritative role. It does not apply to consensual relationships if both parties are at least 14 years old.
Why a Civil Suit Helps Bring Justice
Criminal cases for sexual assault and misconduct are important to pursue because they bring justice for society and to some extent for the victim, but they don’t directly address the injuries caused by these offenses the way that civil cases do. Sexual assault can result in a host of injuries and expenses including unwanted pregnancies, PTSD, immediate and ongoing medical treatment, mental health care expenses and more.
At Ryan Montgomery Attorney at Law, LLC we recognize that sexual assault can take a toll on a person that can last a long time, if not the remainder of the victims life. That’s why we work so hard to seek justice for our clients who have suffered. If you have been violated, whether recently or many years in the past, we are here to help. These crimes have no statute of limitations in South Carolina. Contact our Greenville, SC location at 864-643-2048 to arrange a free case review.