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Criminal Resource Manual 1985 Abusive Sexual Contact

1985

Abusive Sexual Contact

Section 2244 describes offenses involving sexual contact as defined in section 2246(3), rather than a sexual act. Subsection (a)(1) makes it an offense, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or a Federal prison, for someone to engage in, or cause, sexual contact with or by another person if to do so would violate section 2241 had the sexual contact been a sexual act. The maximum punishment is 10 years imprisonment and/or a fine under Title 18.
Subsection (a)(2) makes it an offense, for someone to engage in, or cause, sexual contact with or by another person if to do so would violate section 2242 had the sexual contact been a sexual act. The maximum punishment is three years imprisonment and/or a fine under Title 18.
For offenses under both subsections (a)(1) and (a)(2) of section 2244, there is no spousal immunity, and corroboration of the victim's testimony is not required. Lack of consent by the victim is not an element of the offense, and the prosecution need not introduce evidence of lack of consent. See H.R.Rep. No. 99-594, 99th Cong., 2d Sess. 18 (1986). Under subsection (c)(1), the defendant must establish by a preponderance of the evidence that he/she had a reasonable belief that the other person was at least 16.
Subsection (a)(3) makes it an offense for someone to engage in, or cause, sexual contact with or by another person if to do so would violate section 2243(a) had the sexual contact been a sexual act. The maximum punishment is imprisonment for two years and/or a fine under Title 18.
Section (a)(4) makes it an offense for someone to engage in, or cause, sexual contact with or by another person if to do so would violate section 2243(b) had the sexual contact been a sexual act. The maximum punishment is imprisonment for six months and/or a fine.
Subsection (b) makes it an offense for someone, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction or in a Federal prison, knowingly to engage in sexual contact with another person without that other person's permission. The maximum punishment is imprisonment for six months and/or a fine.
An individual convicted of an offense under this section involving a victim under the age of 12 can receive double the maximum statutory penalty under Section 2244(c).

[updated April 2000] [cited in USAM 9-75.200]

Updated February 19, 2015