California Penal Code 288 states that it is illegal for you to engage in any lewd or lascivious act with a minor. Lewd and lascivious acts refer to acts that are indecent or sexual in an offensive way. A charge for lewd and lascivious acts with a minor is also commonly referred to as child molestation.
Prosecution for Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor
In order for you to be convicted for committing a lewd or lascivious act upon a minor under California Penal Code 288, the prosecution must prove the following:
(1) You willfully and lewdly touched any part of a child’s body, or you willfully caused the child to touch your body, or the body of someone else;
(2) You committed the act with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying your lust, passions, or sexual desires, or the lust, passions, or sexual desires of the child; and
(3) The child was under the age of 14 at the time of the act.
If you are convicted of using force, violence, duress, or fear to commit the lewd or lascivious act you can be sentenced pursuant to California Penal Code section 288(b). If you are found to have used force, violence, duress or fear to commit the act you face a harsher sentence than you would if you had not committed the act with such tactics.
In addition, according the California Penal Code 288(c) you can be charged with child molestation if the minor was 14 or 15 years old, so long as you were 10 years older than the minor at the time of the touching.
According to California Penal Code 288.5 you can also be charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child if you engaged in three or more acts of child molestation within a three month period of time. In order to charge you with continuous sexual abuse of a child the prosecution must also show that you lived in the same home or had recurring access to the minor and that the minor was under the age of 14.
Defenses to Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor
(1) You did not touch the alleged victim or ask the alleged victim to touch you (In effect, the victim is either lying or confused)
(2) The touching was accidental
(3) The minor was 14 or 15 years old and you were not 10 years older than the minor at the time of the offense
(4) You did not use force or fear to commit the act
(5) You did not intend to commit a lewd or lascivious act upon the minor
(6) You did not touch the minor with the specific intent to arouse yourself or the minor
Even though the sentence varies depending on what offense under California Penal Code 288 you are charged with, any conviction under California Penal Code 288 will require that you register as sex offender for life.