Sexual battery refers to any form of unwanted or non-consensual touching or sexual contact, but without involving sexual intercourse or penetration, which is the basis of a rape case. In a number of states, sexual battery is defined as criminal sexual contact which can be committed in many different ways, including patting a person’s buttocks, grabbing or fondling a woman’s breast, forcing a kiss on the mouth, touching the victim’s genital area, or the offender forcing his/her victim to touch an intimate part of his/her body; these acts are committed by an offender for the purpose of arousing or sexually gratifying himself/herself.
The most common victims of sexual battery can be an offender’s relative, classmate, neighbor, acquaintance, co-worker, friend, dating partner, or spouse. As explained in the Horst Law website, while this offense is a Class E felony that has a mandatory minimum prison sentence of a single year, the charge can be elevated to an aggravated form if it is alleged that the defendant committed the offense while using a weapon as a means of force or coercion, caused bodily harm, engaged in the offense with the help of another person, or if the victim is less than 13 years old.
Sexual battery, in some states, is considered a capital felony if the offender is 17 years old or above and if the victim, who is below 12 years old, suffers injuries on his/her sexual organ. Capital felony is punishable with life imprisonment or death.
In any type of sex crime, lack of consent is a decisive component. Sexual conduct is only considered a crime if contact is not consented to; this includes contacts made on a person who may be incapable of consent or whose mental capacity to consent is diminished. Those deemed as incapable of consent include minors, who are below are 14, regardless of their capacity to understand the act or their ability to refuse. Additionally, sexual contact with any of the following people is a crime due to their lack of capacity to knowingly consent:
• A developmentally disabled person;
• A person who is mentally ill; and
• A person who may be drugged, drunk, or unconscious.