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Articles Posted in Lewd and Lascivious Acts

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To touch a child for the purposes of sexual gratification is often referred to as “lewd and lascivious conduct.” Under California Penal Code Section 288, this crime can be prosecuted as either a felony or misdemeanor. Generally, lewd and lascivious conduct charges occur when the victim is under 14 years of age.

Lewd and lascivious conduct with a minor is a serious crime with serious consequences. If you are convicted of lascivious acts with a child under PC 288(a), you face three, six, or eight years in state prison and a fine of $10,000. But there are also some additional penalties you could face if you are convicted of this crime.

Additional Consequences of Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor (PC 288)

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Because lewd and lascivious acts with a minor is a serious offense, there are a number of repercussions that you could face beyond a jail sentence and fines. These consequences include:

  • A felony charge can result in a strike on your criminal record under California’s Three Strikes Law
  • You may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life under PC 290
  • You may have your picture and information posted for the public to see on the Megan’s Law website
  • An additional five years in state prison may be added to any existing sentence if it is shown that the victim suffered great bodily injury

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When it comes to soliciting minors for sex, California law is strict and comprehensive. Many people think that you must engage in a sexual act with a minor (someone under 18 years old) in order to commit a crime. Not true.

You can be charged and convicted if you arrange a meeting with a minor – or simply believe a person to be a minor – if your actions were “motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children,” for the “purpose of exposing your genitals or rectal area, having the child expose his or her genitals or rectal area, or engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior” (Penal Code section 288.4).

Using the Internet for Sexual Encounters

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In today’s fast-paced and technology-driven world, the Internet is being used to “hook up” with a sex partner. Either through a “casual encounter” ad posted on sites such as Craigslist, in online chat rooms and sex/dating websites, or through social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Myspace.

Child predators use these online locations as well to hunt for underage victims. Anyone who’s watched Dateline NBC’s television show “To Catch A Predator” knows about police sting operations set up to catch those who use the Internet to arrange for sexual encounters with people they think are underage teenagers and children under the age of 14. Once the suspect gets to the arranged meeting location, it’s too late. He or she will be arrested.

You Only Have to Believe the Victim was a Minor

In a recent California Court of Appeal case, People v. Hanna (2013), the defendant claimed:

  • Court error for failing to instruct the jury on mistake of fact regarding the victim’s true age;
  • Prosecutorial misconduct;
  • No instruction on entrapment; and
  • Cumulative error which requires the court to reverse his convictions.

He lost on every challenge and was sentenced to three years, four months in prison and lifetime sex offender registration.

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In Orange County, just like in every other county in California, a charge of lewd acts in public can result in serious consequences. While this charge is considered a misdemeanor, one of the possible consequences could result in you having to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. You could also face up to six months in county jail.

Our skilled criminal defense attorneys at Wallin & Klarich have been successfully defending our clients who have been accused of lewd conduct PC 647(a) for over 30 years. We know how to defend you against these serious charges.

Defenses to Lewd Acts in Public in Orange County

In many cases, our experienced lewd acts attorneys have been able to have the charges dismissed. In other cases, our criminal lawyers have been able to have the charges reduced to a non-sexual offense. In those cases, our clients were able to avoid sex offender registration under California Penal Code Section 290.

To be found guilty of committing a lewd act in public, the prosecution must prove all of the following:

  • You willfully engaged in the touching of your own or another person’s genitals, buttocks or female breast;
  • You did so with the intent to sexually arouse or gratify yourself or another person, or to annoy or offend another person;
  • At the time you engaged in the conduct, you were in a public place or a place open to the public, or to public view;
  • At the time you engaged in the conduct, someone else who might have been offended was present; AND
  • You knew or reasonably should have known that another person who might have been offended by your conduct was present.

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lewd acts with minor attorneyThe crime of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor is one of the most serious crimes you could be convicted of in California. Not only do you face severe criminal penalties if you are convicted of this crime, you will also have a negative stigma following you for the rest of your life. This poor public stigma — sometimes referred to as a “scarlet letter” — of being accused of a sexual act with a minor will result from having to register as a sex offender for life.

However, these harsh consequences do not have to affect you forever. You need to speak with an experienced criminal defense immediately if you are being charged with lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under California Penal Code Section 288.

Consequences of Lewd and Lascivious Acts with a Minor (PC 288)

From your initial contact with police to your first appearance in front of a judge, being charged with a crime of lewd and lascivious acts with a minor in California can be a very intimidating and overwhelming experience. You must be sure to have a criminal defense attorney who is well-versed with the laws involving sex crimes, who knows the nuances and specialized rules involved in plea bargaining these types of cases, and who knows the ins and outs of handling a sex crime trial, which can be very daunting compared to other crimes.

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The attorneys at Wallin & Klarich find it shocking that people would question the NCAA’s ability to sanction Penn State for the coward “look the other way” conduct of many people in their athletic department. The inaction by so many led directly to innocent children being molested. A Lewd and lascivious act on a child is a very serious offense, and in this case, Sandusky’s inappropriate behavior with children will leave scars for many of the victims for the rest of their lives.

The NCAA imposes sanctions when members of the athletic program violate “recruiting rules” and purchase sneakers for players. Additionally, when athletic boosters take out possible recruits to dinner, the NCAA imposes sanctions.

Then, how can it be questioned when the NCAA imposes sanctions on Penn State for ignoring years of lewd and lascivious acts with children by a member of their football staff?

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If in fact Joe Paterno was advised of sexual activity between Sandusky and minors — which in California law would fall under PC 288 Lewd and Lascivious Acts with Child — he had a legal obligation to report them to the police and social workers. IF he failed to do so and he had been in California, he could have been prosecuted for a crime. I have to assume there is a similar law in Pennsylvania. If it turns out to be true that Paterno knew about the allegations and failed to report them, then it could be argued his inaction lead to many boys being molested, which certainly will leave them with long term psychological scars for years to come. If that is the case, it would only seem justified that his statue be removed from the campus.

His success as a football coach should never “overshadow” the fact (if found out be true) that his inaction would have lead to such horrible consequences to so many young boys.

However, the evidence is not all in, and this must be left to the people at Penn State who will have to make the decision after they review all of the facts. All we know is what is written in this news report and of course there is much more evidence we are not aware of yet.

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It has been reported that Anthony Serrano, 45, who has been in charge of the Santa Ana Boxing Club for the past 10 years was arrested on Sunday after police received a complaint involving a 15-year-old boy, who is in the boxing program accusing Mr. Serrano of Lewd and Lascivious acts with a minor in Orange County.

The victim was described by police as being a promising young boxer. Serrano allegedly kissed the boy in public at tournaments, as well as at the club, and molested him as many as 50 times over the past year.

“There were several incidents of fondling, as well as physical groping and kissing,” said Santa Ana Police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna.

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With the LA Unified School District under fire for the recent child molestation scandal involving two different teachers at the same elementary school, down the road in Orange County, another case of alleged inappropriate behavior between a student and a teacher has flown a bit under the radar. A high school teacher in Anaheim Hills has been accused of lewd and lascivious acts with a 14 year old student.

Details surrounding the case are unclear, but initial police reports suggest that Joshua Evans developed a relationship with one of his students through text messages and a game played via cell phones. That relationship eventually led to Evans and the student meeting at a second student’s house, where Evans allegedly hugged the student and kissed her on the mouth.

The sex crimes attorneys at Wallin and Klarich have handled dozens of cases like this where a student exaggerates a story to get a teacher in trouble. Whether or not that is the case in this situation remains to be seen, but what we do know is that because the girl is between the ages of 14 and 15, and there is more than a 10 year discrepancy in age between Evans and the girl, he can be charged with either a felony or a misdemeanor. If convicted, he faces up to 3 years in state prison and would have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

About Wallin & Klarich

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Wallin & Klarich was established in 1981. Over the past 32 years, our law firm has helped tens of thousands of families in their time of legal need. Regardless of whether our clients faced criminal or DUI charges, the loss of their driving privilege, or wanted to clean up their criminal record, we have been there to help them.