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Sexual Abuse of a Child: The Crimes and Laws in Texas

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Child Sexual Abuse Laws in Texas

In the state of Texas, minors and children are considered a protected class of citizens. This means that, under the law, any crimes that specifically target or victimize minors and children are considered especially serious. As such, the penalties for these kinds of crimes can be extremely severe.

This is especially true for crimes of a sexual nature. For example, an adult who commits sexual assault against another adult can face very severe legal punishments. However, an adult who commits a sexually-based offenses against a minor child can face much more harsh legal punishments if convicted.

What Constitutes Child Sexual Abuse?

Texas laws specify a number of different offenses that can be considered sexual abuse in cases involving minors and children. It is not necessary to engage in actual physical contact to be charged with a count of child sexual abuse. Under Texas law, it is possible to face prosecution and conviction for attempting to engage in any type of sexual behavior with a child.

The following list comprises some of the most commonly prosecuted offenses involving children in Texas:

  • Child Molestation/Sexual Assault of a Child

This crime occurs when an adult aged 18 or older engages in sexual contact with a minor or child. This kind of contact can include sexual intercourse, sexual touching or groping or any contact that is intended to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person. In Texas, minors under the age of 17 cannot legally consent to any type of sexual contact. Therefore, claiming that a child consented to sexual activity is not a legal defense to prosecution under this charge.

  • Child Enticement

This crime involves using some means of communication to lure or persuade a child to meet for sexual purposes. These days, these kinds of charges are often filed after an adult has been discovered to be exchanging emails or text messages with a minor. Sending lewd, lascivious or sexually based electronic messages can lead to charges of child enticement. In many cases, law enforcement will set up sting operations with actors posing as minors to catch potential predators in the act. Claiming that the messages were part of a fantasy or claiming that the proposed meeting never actually occurred are not valid legal defenses to this charge.

  • Child Pornography and Sexting

Any person who exchanges images or videos of minors engaging in sexual activity may be charged with manufacturing, possessing or distributing child pornography. This includes exchanging text messages containing nude or sexual images of minors. In some cases, a minor who takes an image of themselves and exchanges it with others may face charges of producing or distributing child pornography.

Legal Consequences

A person who is convicted of a sex crime involving children in Texas can face a very long list of punishments. In addition to jail or prison time, the consequences for this kind of conviction can alter the course of a person’s entire life. Some of the punishments include:

  • Incarceration in jail or prison
  • High fines
  • Mandatory lifetime registration as a sex offender
  • Loss of custodial rights or privileges
  • Loss of right to own or possess firearms
  • Loss of privilege to use the Internet or electronic communications
  • Loss of job or career
  • Loss of ability to work in certain employment fields
  • A mandatory ban from spending time near children or minors

Getting convicted of a sexual crime involving children is a very severe situation. Finding legal representation quickly when these charges are filed is the best strategy.

Legal Defenses

Hiring an experienced defense attorney is the best way to handle charges of child sex crimes. An attorney may be able to create a strong legal defense and may even be able to have the charges reduced or dropped entirely. Some attorneys may be able to work out a plea arrangement with the court to exchange a guilty plea for reduced charges.


If you or someone you know is being charged with a crime related to sexual abuse of a child, it’s important to get legal help as quickly as possible. Attorney Brett Podolsky has the experience and knowledge needed to help protect your rights. Contact his office today at (713) 227-0087.

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