Sex Crimes – Personal Responsibility for Criminal Behavior

Why do people commit crimes? Answer, because they want to. Criminal behavior is the expression of deviance within all of us. Basically, criminals are us, and we are them. Some do minor things, like run a stop sign, cheat on their taxes, or take property from their employer. Others do serious acts of criminal behavior that cause death, trauma and destruction. The criminal underworld is composed of all kinds of people. Like you and me, they come from all walks of life. And, they are not much different than the rest of so called “law abiding” citizens. Criminals are males, females, young, old, single, married, etc. Of special interest to law enforcement is the area referred to as sex crimes. In this regard, again the criminological question arises about the nature of sex crimes and the reason for their commission. Often, the various media, politicians and some in law enforcement assert a causal connection between such crimes and adult oriented entertainment. In reality, there is no scientific data to support such a connection. But, what is the “want to” within the rubric the human psyche? Or, instead of the “want to”, the so called “desire, urging, yearning,” and so forth often heard from so many criminals. That’s an age old question that may defy conventional explanation.

Many studies have tried over the years to draw a direct correlation. Basically, there is none. Keep in mind, people act in criminal ways because that is their preference. We need to alert to spurious notions about such behavior. Criminals serving long terms in prison, or facing execution, have sometimes indicated a connection exists. But, you have to wonder about their motivation. After all, criminals will tell you whatever you want to know. Making stuff up and lying about their intentions is generic to the criminal. Their opinions on matters of criminal behavior should be taken a suspicious. In short, behavior is not a notion of some simply mirroring behavior they viewed in a magazine, video or on television. Criminal behavior is more than “monkey see – monkey do”. Just like other crimes, sex crimes are acts of opportunity, personal motive, individual gain versus risk and ability. These criminal acts stem from premeditation and the individual pursuit of power and control over other people. Crimes involving a sexual dimension represent innate motives of personal expression. In fact, in some countries, the dramatic increase in adult materials has shown a corresponding decrease in sex crimes.

Some researchers have pointed out that criminals would probably lose interest in doing something that was made legal by society. Rape, for example, is not motivated by sex. Instead, sex is a weapon, but the motive relates to power, anger, aggression and violence. Crimes boil down to issues of gain, opportunity and ability. As such, criminal acts of a sexual nature concern potency, power and perception on the part of the perpetrator. Criminals are people who refuse to obey the law and act in a responsible manner. In order to obtain the personal gain, the criminal pursues the exhibition of his or her fantasy world. This might include playing con games with potential victims. He or she may capitalize upon exceptional interpersonal communication skills. Criminals may assert a façade of decency in order to snare their objective. Using various skills, they may find intimidation often works.

Like a bully, the criminal seeks out those who appear vulnerable. They learn early how to manipulate others. Domination and taking something raises the excitement level to heightened degrees. Sex crimes become an expression of anti-social behavior. According to some researchers, criminals who commit sex crimes show a significant resistance to changing their “deviant behavior patterns”. In spite of various treatment approaches, success rates with such criminals remains extremely low. And, on top of that, there is little definitive evidence that shows treatment reduces repeat behavior. But, before they are caught, why do they commit such acts? A host of reasons have been suggested. Is it genetic, hormonal, or social? What is the gain they received from the commission of heinous acts of brutality?

Criminal behavior demonstrates the offender’s ability to carry out his or her need to fulfill a fantasy. The inner workings of an individual’s psyche can defy the imagination. Freedom of choice is at the core of criminal behavior. The criminal’s motives become an extension of their personality. At a crime scene, this is the signature by which the criminal defines his or her actions. Behaviors are motivated by internal desires that stem from the fantasy life of the individual. The passion or power behind the motivation to commit an act of deviance or criminal behavior relates to basic desires of control, dominance, anger, revenge and displays of perceived inadequacy. As such, our crime control strategies and tactics must consider what really motivates the criminal. The who, what, where, why and how, provides the basis for the continuum by which solve the puzzle of criminal behavior.

Manipulation, domination, power and control become expressions of the complex internal thinking by which perpetrators act out sexual proclivities. Everyone has sexual motivations. Not everyone carries them into the reality of injuring another person. These inclinations are most likely associated with behavioral learning processes, social interaction, personality and psycho-physical dynamics. The personality is the strongest factor. This is important from a criminological perspective. Yet, in spite of the overall interaction of the person’s makeup, the decision-making processes are important. People do things out of their own desire to do them. Desire, opportunity and ability become influential aspects in deciding on a course of action. That course of action may hurt or kill another person. Human sexual behavior is connected to the psychological state of the individual.

For some, crime has a sensual nature. Criminal behavior expresses a seductive attraction for committing crimes. For those who choose to commit crimes, the apparent rewards for such actions are more pleasurable than the apparent risks. The process involves weighing the gain minus the pain. This plausible benefit over the risks delivers a positive reinforcement for the perpetrator. Criminality becomes a hedonistic approach to life’s experiences. Human efforts are aimed at maximizing the rewards and minimizing the potential penalties. To the criminal, crime is a way by which sexuality becomes expressive. Fantasies inside are released to the external reality. The motivation is stimulated by the satisfaction of criminal behavior.

In many acts of violence, criminals seek out victims to express issues of power and control. These elements relate to domination, enslavement and supremacy. In addition, there is a cause/effect connection in acting core fantasies within the individual’s ideation. Sexuality, while not necessarily the weapon, becomes the “vehicle” by which violence and death are inflicted. Offenders may demonstrate similarities among different acts of criminal behavior. At the same, there may also be differences in the behaviors expressed by the criminal behavior. “Signatures” unique to the individual criminal may be left behind at the crime scene. The challenge is understanding what the message means. Such efforts fall on the investigative resources available to foster crime solution.

Sex crimes are perpetrated by people intent on carrying out their personal fantasies. Sexually offensive behaviors that violate established legal constraints emanate from the fantasy life of the perpetrator. Fantasies are the basis, or templates, by which the criminal will implement his or her plans. Criminals mentally sketch out, or otherwise rehearse how they intend to commit certain acts. In this planning process, the criminal will consider his or her motives, means and opportunities, given their individual skill levels. Within their mental calculations, they contemplate what it will be like to actually do the crime. This mental “role play” seldom satisfies the real fantasy going on in their thinking processes.

So, planning is essential to their motives and intentions to inflict their desires upon others. If caught, the criminal can be expected to assert all manner of defenses, rationalization or excuses. He or she will try to be very persuasive in minimizing the criminal behavior. Victims and the crimes are sometimes referred to as “things” or “objects” in order to devalue the significant of what the criminal did. And, further investigation will often reveal there were other victims prior to the perpetrator being caught. Power and control, using sex as a weapon, are key elements in the ideation of the criminal. Overall, the criminal does not empathize with the condition, position or importance of the victim. In the mind of the criminal, only he or she is important. Dominating and blaming the victim is essential to the acting out of the fantasy. Criminals will defend themselves by saying the victim “wanted it”. Every effort will be made to deflect, deceive and avoid the truth.

Criminal behavior, in particular sex crimes, is directed toward the ends justifying the means. To the criminal, he or she strives to get what they want by whatever means possible. Excuses will be plentiful. Especially when they get caught. They will begin building the basis of a justifiable defense. In time, they will be so convincing that they will become the victim. The true victim will be forgotten, in the public’s rush to be sympathetically gullible. Yet, desire, opportunity, ability and vulnerable victims remain central to the ingredients of criminal behavior. The challenge for society and the criminal justice system will be understanding the games criminals play. Human sexuality is at the core of criminal behavior inclinations. In order to ensure a high level of public safety, criminals must be held accountable and punished to fullest extent of the law. There can be no exceptions, regardless of socio-economic or political status.

Jessica’s Law and Minimum Sentencing

State and federal lawmakers have taken steps in recent years to increase the penalties and provide harsher punishment for individuals who are found guilty of statutory rape of a minor. Persons may face statutory rape charges if they have sexual contact with a minor, even if the contact was not forced. The laws against such actions exist to protect minors from the predatory actions of adults, and persons may face serious criminal penalties for their actions because the law views minors as “unable to give legal consent”.

In order to strengthen the punishment for statutory rape and to deter others from engaging in illegal acts, many states have established mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for those who are found guilty of statutory rape. The guidelines typically require that an individual be incarcerated for a specified length of time, regardless of his or her prior criminal history or the circumstances surrounding the case.

Florida was one of the first states to adopt mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for persons who are found guilty of sexual crimes against children, and many states, including Massachusetts have adopted versions of “Jessica’s Law”. In Massachusetts in particular, mandatory minimum sentencing for statutory rape includes 10-year minimum sentences if:

  • The child is under 12 years of age and the defendant is more than 5 years older
  • The defendant is more than 10 years older and the child is between the ages of 12-16
  • If the defendant is considered to be a “mandatory reporter” in the state of Massachusetts

If you have been charged with a serious sex-related crime like statutory rape of a child, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. Sex crimes can carry harsh criminal penalties like incarceration, fines, and probation. In addition, individuals may be required to register in a state database for sex-offenders and may find it difficult to find housing and employment.

For assistance with a case involving statutory rape or other type of sex-related crime, it is important to consider an experienced Massachusetts sex crimes attorney. For more information on sex crimes and your legal options, visit the website of the Massachusetts sex crimes attorney James Powderly.

Understanding Megan’s Law – Sex Offender Registration and Internet Database

California has seen many changes in sex crime laws and sex offender registration over the past decade. Those facing sex crime charges in California are subject to more penalties and pressures above and beyond a courtroom trial, prison time, or fines. Depending on the case and the consequences of the sex crime conviction, an individual may be required by Megan’s Law to register as a sex offender. California’s Megan’s Law was enacted in 1996 to allow local law enforcement agencies to inform the public about sex offender registrants found to be posing a threat to the public. As of recent years, the public has access to the location, names, and photographs of  “certain” sex offenders in their community on the Internet.

Such personal and public disclosure is determined by the type of sex crime a person was required to register under. Not every registered sex offender is required to be on this Internet website. In fact, about twenty-five percent of registered sex offenders are excluded from public disclosure by law. Based on the sex crime, the information required to be disclosed on the website falls into the categories of zip code, conditional home address, and home address.

Internet Sex Offender Regulations

It is important to note that Megan’s Law is meant to protect families and children – not as an additional means to punish the sex offender. Nevertheless, it can be a devastating experience for a person to face the shame and embarrassment that comes along with registering as a sex offender and having personal information about them on the Internet, especially after fulfilling the legal prison sentence, fine, or any other appointed punishment.

In addition, it is against the law to misuse the available offender information on the Internet to harass or commit any crime against the offender. In fact, if someone uses the data on the website to commit a felony against the offender, a prison term of at least five years can ensue. If a misdemeanor is committed against the offender by using the website’s information, fines from $10,000 up to $50,000 can result. Those who are required to register as a sex offender on the Internet face fines up to $1000, imprisonment in a county jail up to six months, or both, if they fail to enter their information on the website (Pen. Code, § 290.46, (h)(2).

Standards for Exclusion from the Internet Website

Determining if a sex offender registrant qualifies for exclusion from the Internet website is up to the Sex Offender Tracking Program. You can apply for exclusion by completing and submitting a form to the California Department of Justice. Registered sex offenders who receive exclusion from the website must still register as sex offenders. That is why if you have been arrested for a sex crime in California, you need a top California criminal defense attorney who can help you appeal your sentence, prevent sex crime registration, or reduce your conviction from a felony to a misdemeanor.

Registrants whose sex offenses are for the following offenses may apply for exclusion:

Registrants whose sex offenses are for the following offenses may apply for exclusion:

· Any offense which did not involve penetration or oral copulation in which the victim was a child, sibling of the offender, grandchild, stepchild, and for which the offender successfully completed or is successfully completing probation

· Sexually battery by restraint (Penal Code § 243.4, (a))

· Misdemeanor child molestation (Penal Code § 647.6, or former section 647a)

Sexual Assault Attoneys: Defending You Against Sex Crime Charges

Though the public may abandon and persecute sexual assault suspects before a conviction is ever reached, sexual assault attorneys believe that all individuals, regardless of the crime they may have been charged with, are entitled to their legal rights, as outlined in the U.S. Constitution. This includes due process of the law, a fair and speedy trial overseen by a jury of peers, and exemption from cruel and unusual punishment.

What are sexual assault crimes?
Sexual assault generally refers to any crime when an individual uses actual or threatened force to coerce another person into non-consensual sexual activity. These crimes can range from sexual harassment to sexual groping to assault/battery to attempted rape. Sexual assault accusations can also result in federal sexual abuse charges.

Why should I hire a sexual crime lawyer?
It can prove to be extremely difficult to “start over” once a person has been convicted of sexual activity. The consequences for sexual assaults can be life altering, and include jail time, probation limitations, and mandatory registration as a sex offender.

By summoning the strength to confront those who wronged you and file a claim against them for damages, you will be taking a major step towards moving on with your life. There may be instances in which the alleged victim appears to be consenting, but in actuality may not be, can create a gray area when a case is being tried. This ambiguity can result in a case dismissal before the charges are ever brought to court. Therefore, for the best chance of obtaining a successful case resolution, you need a lawyer with an exhaustive understanding of the legal system.

Hire an aggressive and qualified sexual assault attorney
Not all sexual assault attorneys are alike. In many instances the outcome of your case may hinge more on having the right sexual crime lawyer rather than the case law in your favor. Ask these questions:

1. Does your attorney have experience in this type of case?
2. Has your lawyer been to trial in a sexual crime case?
3. Is your lawyer fully informed of each and every step involved in the legal process?

You can answer these questions by checking the attorney’s website, which often lists the attorney’s experience, education, and speaking engagements. You can also ask the questions over the phone. A skilled attorney will aggressively defend the rights of individuals accused of any sex crime, including child molestation, and they provide effective representation to those accused of assault and battery, drug offenses, and federal and state crimes.

If you or someone you know is facing potential sexual assaults charges, it is critical that you work with a defense team that has specific experience and proven results in these types of cases. Don’t let just anyone try your case; consult someone you can trust. Because of severe sentencing guidelines and the requirement to register as a sex offender, it is critical that you aggressively fight this charge. To have the best chance of obtaining a case dismissal, sentence reduction, or acquittal, you or a loved one needs a sexual assault lawyer who will aggressively defend you in court.

Offenses Requiring Sex Offender Registration

Florida took the first step in 1997 to make a list of sex offenders available on the internet as well as making that information also available by telephone hotline for people who do not have the internet. It is a requirement in Florida for those convicted of a sex crime to register and report between two and four times per year, to the Sheriff’s Office. Florida’s requirements include more than just an address to register as sex offenders are required to also report any instant message names and numbers, and email addresses to the Sheriff’s Office. A sex offender’s birth month is what is used to determine which months he/she will be required to report in. If they fail to report, submit to all restrictions or provide all information requested will have penalties that classify as felonies. Sex based crimes in Florida are divided into two categories, Sexual Offender and Sexual Predator.

Sexual Predators

Florida law states that all sex offenders are not always considered to be sexual predators, and that for this to happen, the offender must appear in court before a judge who considers the evidence and makes the designation. Even someone who was convicted of sex based crimes, this does not automatically mean they are a sexual predator. There are five different ways in Florida for someone to be classified a sexual predator. These include first time convictions of: lewd and lascivious behavior in front of someone under the age of 16, kidnapping, buying or selling child pornography, false imprisonment, or sexual battery. You should be aware that this applies even if the conviction occurred in another jurisdiction or state besides Florida.

Another way you can be designated a sexual predator is if you commit one of the above mentioned offenses and especially if you were found guilty of having committed other sexual offenses in the past. Past sexual offenses that can get you a designation of sexual predator include: sexual battery, kidnapping, unlawful sexual activity with a minor, false imprisonment, having a child perform sexually, luring or enticing a child or getting someone under 18 for prostitution. Lastly, anyone can be designated a sexual predator if they are determined to be a sexually violent predator at a civil commitment hearing.

Sexual Offenders

he courts in Florida provide three ways to designate someone a sexual offender. The first way includes if you attempt to commit or commit: luring or enticing a child, kidnapping a minor, sexual battery, false imprisonment of a minor, getting someone under 18 for prostitution unlawful sexual acts with a minor, sexual misconduct, selling or buying minors for sex trafficking, or computer pornography. The second way says if you have a conviction that occurred in another state or jurisdiction, you can be considered a sex offender in Florida. If a person has been designated a sexual offender in a different jurisdiction or state, Florida laws will also designate that person as such and they will be required to register their status. The third way says that under Florida laws, if someone attempts to commit or commits lewd and lascivious molestation, sexual battery or lewd or lascivious battery on someone 14 or older, they can be designated a sexual offender in Florida.