Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Assault Laws: What You Need to Know

Teen Dating Violence and Sexual Assault Laws

Teen Dating Violence

Has someone you love been accused of teen dating violence and now faces sexual assault charges?

Let’s review the case in Michigan that made headlines in December 2015 and early 2016. In March, two Pinckney area teens plead guilty to the sexual assault. Nicklaus Haggerty Lefebvre, 18, and Jacob Glenn Houck, 17, both admitted they had sexual contact with the girl. Houck admitted to giving the girl alcohol.

The charges the two young men face mean registration for a lifetime on Michigan’s Sex Offender Registry. Two more teens were arrested in connection with the assault. One was dismissed and the other, a 16 year old, will not have his records released to the public.

The victim is a girl known to Lefebvre, allegedly through Snapchat. She was just 15.

Statistics on Teen Dating Violence – Sexual Assault

According to the Michigan Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, between ⅓ and ⅔ of victims of sexual violence are ages 15 years old and under.

The National Violence Against Women Survey found that of the women who reported being raped at some time in their lives, 21.6% were under the age of 12 years old, 32.4% were 12-17 years old, and 29% were 18-24 years old when they were first raped.

That means that 54% of women who were raped were under the age of 18 at the time of their first rape. Furthermore, young women – between the ages of 16-24 are especially vulnerable to sexual assault by someone they know or are intimate with.

In addition, 13.3% of college women indicated that they had been forced to have sex in a dating situation. In a study of college women, more than 70% of rape or sexual assault victims knew their attackers, compared to about half of all violent crime victims.

Sexual Assault Laws

The Michigan penal code states that sexual assault is any form of unwanted sexual contact obtained without consent and/or obtained through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, or coercion. There are four degrees of sexual assault:

1st degree, which is a felony, is

  • Rape (penetration broadly defined) of a victim under 13
  • A victim 13-15 and related to the defendant or
  • The defendant has an authority position to the victim
  • Multiple actors are involved and force or coercion was used or the victim is incapacitated (physically helpless, mentally incapacitated, mentally defective)
  • Weapon involved
  • Personal injury + force/coercion
  • Personal injury + victim incapacitated (Unable to consent due to age, mental challenge or intoxication; date rape, drug, etc.)
  • Defendant is in the process of committing another felony

2nd degree, which is a felony:

  • Sexual contact (but no penetration) with genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock or breast, AND any of the circumstances listed for 1st degree criminal sexual assault

3rd degree, which is a felony

Sexual penetration (broadly defined) and any of the following:

  • Victim is 13-15 years old
  • There is use of force or coercion, or
  • Victim is incapacitated

4th degree, which is a misdemeanor

Defined as sexual contact (no penetration) and any of the following:

  • Force or coercion
  • Victim incapacity
  • Defendant works for the Department of Corrections and the victim is an inmate

Criminal Sexual Assault Penalties

Sexual assault charges can carry severe penalties. Lefebvre and Houck may end up with their names on the lifetime registry because of the nature of their crimes. Lefebvre plead guilty for 3 counts of 3rd degree sexual assault (because the victim was 15) and Houck for 1 count, plus a misdemeanor count for giving the girl alcohol.

While 1st degree CSC (criminal sexual assault) carries a penalty of life imprisonment and mandatory sex offender registration, 3rd degree CSC can carry a penalty of up to 15 years imprisonment, and mandatory sex offender registration.

Second degree CSC also can incur up to 15 years of prison time and mandatory sex offender registration, while 4th degree CSC can incur up to 2 years in prison and a $500 fine.

The Sentencing of Lefebvre and Houck

Lefebvre and Houck were both sentenced to 1 year in Livingston County Jail and 3 years probation for their crime, under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act. This gives the defendants a chance to have no public criminal record in return for successful completion of their probation. Unfortunately, they will both be labeled rapists for the rest of their lives.

Take Away

In conclusion, if you are or if someone you love has been accused of teen dating violence and now face charges for criminal sexual assault, it is imperative that an experienced criminal defense attorney be contacted for legal council. There is too much at stake. Please contact the David J. Kramer Law Firm, PLLC today.

248-348-7400 or 586-530-1000


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