West Chester Criminal Defense Attorney Michael J. Skinner Examines Sexual Offenses and Penalties in Pennsylvania Among Recent Sex Abuse Allegations

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West Chester criminal defense lawyer Michael J. Skinner analyzes the recent sex abuse scandal at Penn State and the penalties an alleged offender could face if convicted of serious sexual offenses in Pennsylvania, such as rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.

If Sandusky is convicted of all 40 counts of the various sexual offenses he has been charged with in Pennsylvania, a judge would have the option to run each count consecutively or run them concurrently, said Skinner, a West Chester criminal lawyer.

Penn State’s former football coach, Jerry Sandusky, was accused in November 2011 of sexually assaulting numerous boys over a 15-year period while employed at The Second Mile, a charitable organization for young people Sandusky founded. The 40 criminal charges brought forth by eight men involved allegations of forcible oral and anal sex.

Amid the recent sex abuse allegations at Penn State, West Chester criminal defense attorney Mike J. Skinner discusses the differences between the possible sexual offenses an alleged offender accused of these types of offenses can be charged with, including rape and involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and the penalties an alleged sex offender in Pennsylvania could face if convicted.

According to Michael J. Skinner, a rape defense attorney in West Chester, “It would appear to most people that an individual accused of forcible oral and anal sex should be charged with rape, but rape is not always the most plausible offense in Pennsylvania that would apply in this type of situation.” Skinner continued, “The most plausible offense may be involuntary deviate sexual intercourse or IDSI, which is a felony of the first degree offense. Rape is also classified as a felony of the first degree in Pennsylvania.”

Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes section 3121 of Title 18 defines rape as sexual intercourse between the alleged offender and the complainant by force or threat of force, the complainant is unconscious, substantially impaired, or mentally incapable of consenting to sex. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse is defined under section 3123 of Title 18 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes as involuntary deviate sexual intercourse between the alleged offender and the complainant by force or threat of force, the complainant is unconscious, substantially impaired, or mentally incapable of consenting to sex, or the complaint is under the age of 16 and the offender is at least 4 years older than the complainant. Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse includes sexual intercourse, in addition to oral sex, anal sex and sexual intercourse with any animal.

“An alleged offender who is male is typically charged with rape in Pennsylvania if the alleged victim is female. Additionally, this offense specifically covers sexual intercourse, not anal or oral sex, or penetration with other objects,” stated Skinner, a West Chester sex crimes defense lawyer. “Rape offenses are not as broad as IDSI; however, both of these offenses generally overlap and an alleged offender can often be charged with either or both sex crimes. For sentencing purposes, however, there can be significant differences between these the two offenses,” explained Skinner.

To date, Sandusky has been charged with:

  •     Seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, which each count can result in up to 20 years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine;
  •     One count of aggravated indecent assault, which is punishable as a second-degree felony, and can result in up to ten years in prison and/or a $25,000 fine;
  •     Four counts of first-degree felony unlawful contact with a minor, each count punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine up to $25,000;
  •     Four counts of third-degree felony endangering the welfare of a child, each count punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a fine up to $15,000;
  •     Four counts of third-degree felony unlawful contact with a minor, each count punishable by up to seven years in prison and/or a fine up to $15,000;
  •     Four counts of first-degree misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child, which each count can result in up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000;
  •     Eight counts of corruption of minors, each count punishable as a first-degree misdemeanor offense, and can result in a prison sentence up to five years and/or a fine up to $10,000 for each count;
  •     One count of third-degree felony indecent assault, which can result in up to seven years in prison and/or a fine up to $15,000;
  •     Two counts of first-degree misdemeanor indecent assault, which each count can result in up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000;
  •     Four counts of second-degree misdemeanor indecent assault, which each count can result in up to five years in prison and/or a fine up to $10,000; and
  •     One count of attempt to commit indecent assault, which is punishable by up to two years in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

“If Sandusky is convicted of all 40 counts of the various sexual offenses he has been charged with in Pennsylvania, a judge would have the option to run each count consecutively, i.e. one after another, or run them concurrently, which means at the same time. In addition, if Sandusky is convicted of numerous offenses for acts with the same victim, the convictions could possibly merge into the same sentence, which would result in a shorter prison term,” said Skinner.

Michael J. Skinner of the Skinner Law Firm is a West Chester criminal defense attorney who represents individuals that have been charged with sexual offenses throughout Chester County, Pennsylvania and the surrounding areas in Delaware County, Lancaster County and Montgomery County.

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