When and adult engages in sexual behavior with a child, it is typically termed child molestation. OCGA 16-6-4(c) describes aggravated child molestation as committing the offense of child molestation which physically injures the child or involves an act of sodomy.
Sexual behavior is typically described in the law as committing any immoral or indecent acts with or on the child. What is considered immoral or indecent is a matter for the jury to decide and is not spelled out specifically in the law. However, the law does say that acts which seek to provide sexual gratification for the adult of the child will be considered immoral or indecent.
The injury to the child required to establish aggravated child molestation is very minimal. There does not have to be a visible injury or a medically diagnosable injury to the child. The child simply testifying that the sexual contact was painful has been found to be enough to establish physical injury for the purposes of the aggravated child molestation statute.
There is no requirement of force or penetration to establish grounds for a count of aggravated child molestation. The law considers any child below the age of sixteen incapable of consenting to any sexual act regardless of whether force is alleged to have been involved.
Sodomy is performing or submitting to any sexual act involving the sex organs of one party and the mouth or anus of another.
This charge carries a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty-five years in prison and life on probation. This sentenced is referred to in the law as a split sentence. This is the minimum amount of time required by law that a judge must sentence a person to if they are convicted of aggravated child molestation. Even if the judge wants to give the person less time in prison, it would not be allowed under the law. The maximum sentence for this charge is life in prison.
If the alleged victim in this case is at least thirteen years of age but under sixteen and the accused person is under eighteen years of age but no more than four years older than the alleged victim and the act alleged involves an act of sodomy, then the defendant is eligible for misdemeanor treatment.
Being charged with aggravated child molestation carries much lengthier sentencing requirements than a charge of child molestation. Typically, child molestation charges are levied against a person who is accused of touching a child with their hands or doing something sexual (such as masturbating) in the presence of a child. However, behavior that is alleged to have progressed beyond touching or performing a sexual act in the presence of a child is considered more serious. If allegations involve the mouth and sexual organs or anus, the accused person will likely be faced with charges of aggravated child molestation.
If you or a loved one is ever faced with allegations of aggravated child molestation, seek the counsel of an experienced attorney, like a Decatur criminal lawyer, prior to making any statements to law enforcement.
Credit to our contributors from Andrew R. Lynch, P.C. for their insight into aggravated child molestation.