Monday, February 29, 2016

Age gap in child sex abuse law leaves victims unprotected |

But this case never went to court because of the gap in current state laws. If there is no penetration, an abuser can only be charged with felony indecency with a child, if the child is 16 years old or younger.

Sexual assault of a child is a felony crime under Texas law when the victim is 17 years old, or younger. But for all other kinds of sexual abuse, the law only covers victims up to age 16, not 17.

Since she was already 17 at the time of the alleged abuse, the only possible charge authorities could charge the pastor was misdemeanor assault, the investigator noted in his report, which has a statute of limitation of two years to report the alleged crime. Indecency with a child has no time limit for a victim to come forward.
"Victims like me can't come out five years later and get the kind of justice that we deserve and that we need to heal and move on," said the young woman.

The idea that there are cases falling through the cracks is being addressed by a local law maker.

"People who are a victim of this sort of crime, my heart goes out to them,” said State Representative Tony Dale, R-Cedar Park, who has worked to pass laws to help sexual assault victims.

"A lot of these folks that are victims of this kind of crime don't report it right away. And we've got to give them more time than just two years, especially for kids that are 17 years old," said Dale.

The pastor declined an interview, but emailed us saying the police report contains: "...grossly exaggerated allegations against [him]. [She] was a guest in [his] home as have dozens been over 20-plus years. She progressively manipulated opportunities... to benefit her, much like she is doing now through her most recent claims."

Age gap in child sex abuse law leaves victims unprotected |

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