Child sexual abuse offenses in Tarrant County may involve any number of possible acts that could be considered harmful to a child, such as touching, fondling, intercourse, sodomy, penetration, sexual contact, lewd or lascivious exposure or behavior, child pornography, or child prostitution. Chapter 261 of the Texas Family Code establishes that child sexual abuse is defined as sexual conduct harmful to a child’s mental, physical, or emotional welfare, any failure to reasonably make an effort to prevent sexual conduct with a child, and/or compelling or encouraging a child to engage in sexual conduct.

If you were accused of child sexual abuse in the greater Tarrant County area, you could face serious penalties and repercussions. These may include a jail or prison sentences, a criminal record, inability to be accepted into certain educational programs, inability to apply for certain jobs, ineligibility to own or possess a firearm, ineligibility to receive certain types of governmental aid or assistance, public embarrassment and damage to your personal reputation, requirements to register as a sex offender, and/or very steep fines.

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Child Sexual Abuse Defense Lawyer in Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and Southlake, TX

Have you been arrested for child sexual abuse? Contact the Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy today at (817) 422-5350 for a consultation about your alleged offense in Southlake, Fort Worth, Arlington, Grapevine, Keller, and surrounding areas of Tarrant County, TX area.

Our firm knows how serious these kinds of criminal charges can be and we will work hard to make sure that you can overcome the obstacles you are now facing. Contact us so we can give your case a thorough review and discuss what you might be able to do in your case.

Child Sexual Abuse Charges in Texas

The Texas Penal Code states that any of the following offenses could result in charges and/or convictions for child sex abuse. Under Texas Penal Code § 22.011, an alleged offender may be charged with child sexual assault if they intentionally or knowingly:

  • Cause the child’s sex organ or anus to be penetrated;
  • Cause the child’s anus to contact the anus, sex organ or mouth of another person;
  • Cause the child’s mouth to be penetrated by another person’s sex organ;
  • Cause the child’s mouth to contact the sex organ or anus of another person; and/or
  • Cause the child’s sex organ to contact or penetrate the anus, sex organ or mouth of another person.

Texas Penal Code § 22.021 establishes that an individual may be charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child when they commit a sexual offense listed above and:

  • Administer gamma hydroxybutyrate (GHB) or ketamine to the child during the commission of the offense;
  • Attempt to cause the death of the child or cause the child serious bodily injury;
  • Cause the child to fear imminent serious bodily injury, death, or kidnapping;
  • Are an accomplice to a person causing the child serious bodily injury;
  • A child is under 14 years of age;
  • Threaten to cause serious bodily injury, death or kidnapping of any person; and/or
  • Use or show a deadly weapon during the commission of the offense.

Under Texas Penal Code § 21.11, an alleged offender may be charged with indecency with a child when they commit any of the following with a child who is under 17 years of age:

  • Causing a child to either engage in sexual contact or engage in sexual contact with a child;
  • With an intent to gratify or arouse the sexual desire of any individual, expose their anus or genitals while knowing a child is present; or
  • With the intent to gratify or arouse the sexual desires of any individual, cause a child to expose their anus or genitals.

Texas Penal Code § 43.26 makes it illegal to knowingly possess or intentionally view material that depicts a minor engaging in sexual conduct. The material may include photos, films, negatives, or other kinds of photographic reproductions.

People who promote or intend to promote child pornography can also be charged under this section of the Penal Code. Knowingly or intentionally promoting material showing a child participating in sexual activity is considered the promotion of child pornography.

Prosecutors often assume you intended to promote child pornography when you are found with six or more identical materials that feature a minor engaging in sexual activity. Possession with intent to promote will be more harshly punished than possession, and you can face enhanced penalties if convicted.

Child Sexual Abuse Penalties in Fort Worth, TX

An alleged offender who is convicted of a child sexual abuse offense can face any of the following penalties, defined under Chapter 12 of the Texas Penal Code.

Child sex assault offenses are generally punishable as second-degree felonies, which can result in fines of up to $10,000 and/or prison sentences of up to 20 years.

A child sex assault offense, however, will be punishable as a first-degree felony if a person was prohibited from either marrying or holding out as married to an alleged victim. This level of crime can also result in a prison sentence of up to 99 years or life in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

Aggravated child sex assault offenses are generally punishable as first-degree felonies, which may result in fines of up to $10,000 and/or prison sentences of up to 99 years or life in prison.

An indecency with a child crime will be punishable as a third-degree felony if an alleged offender either exposes their genitals when a child is present or causes a child’s genitals to be exposed. This crime will be punishable by a fine up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

An indecency with a child offense becomes punishable as a second-degree felony if an alleged offender causes a child to engage in sexual contact or engages in sexual contact with the child. This crime is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and/or a prison sentence of up to 20 years.

Penalties for either possession or promotion of child pornography also should not be ignored. A first offense will be a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

When you have been previously convicted for possession of child pornography, a court will be less forgiving. It is a second-degree felony if you are facing your second conviction. 

You could face a prison sentence of up to 20 years and a fine of up to $10,000.

It is a first-degree felony if it is shown at trial that you were convicted of the crime two or more times. A first-degree felony will be punishable by:

  • Up to 99 years or life in prison
  • A fine of up to $10,000

As previously mentioned, promotion or possession with intent to promote is often more heavily penalized than regular possession offenses. The crime is usually a second-degree felony, but if a court finds you were previously convicted, then your charges can be elevated to first-degree felony charges.

Tarrant County Child Sexual Abuse Resources

Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) – When and How to Report Child Abuse — View an entire DFPS website dedicated to understanding and reporting child abuse. The page discusses the law, reporting what you know about the child, and reporting what you know about the event. You can also find discussion about the difference between abuse and neglect.

Recognizing and Reporting Child Sexual Abuse: A Training for Caregivers — DFPS offers this website to let people earn credit and receive certificates of completion. You must complete a knowledge check and registration form at the end of this training. To obtain your certification you will need a valid email address, your child placing agency’s or residential operation’s legal name (provided by your operation), and your child place agency’s or residential operation’s identification number (provided by your operation).

Find A Tarrant County Defense Attorney for Child Sexual Abuse Charges | Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy

If you have been charged with child sexual abuse in Fort Worth or a surrounding area of Tarrant County, you do not want to be answering the criminal charges on your own. Make sure that you have a lawyer appearing with you in court so you can have the best chance possible of fighting the charges and achieving a much more favorable outcome for your case.

The Law Offices of Richard C. McConathy is aware of the significant toll these types of criminal charges take on alleged offenders and how even being accused can cause significant problems in a person’s life. Call (817) 422-5350 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation that will let us explain to you what we can do for you and how we might be able to help you restore your good name.

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