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1982

Aggravated Sexual Abuse

Section 2241 sets forth three offenses. All involve a "sexual act" as defined in section 2246(2). Subsection (a) makes it an offense for someone, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, (1) to use force against another person and thereby cause that person to engage in a sexual act, or (2) to cause another person to engage in a sexual act by means of threats express or implied or placing that person in fear that any person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping. Thus, it would be an offense, for example, for A to cause B to engage in a sexual act (with A or with someone else) by threatening to kill B's child. The maximum penalty for an offense under subsection (a) is life imprisonment and/or a fine under Title 18.Subsection (b) makes it an offense (1) knowingly to render another person unconscious and thereby engage in a sexual act with that person, or (2) knowingly to administer a drug, intoxicant or other similar substance to another person, thereby (A) substantially impairing that other person's ability to appraise or control conduct and (B) engaging in a sexual act with that other person. The subsection requires that the drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance be administered by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or permission of the person to whom the drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance is administered. The maximum penalty for a violation of subsection (b) is life imprisonment and/or a fine under Title 18.Subsection (c) makes it an offense knowingly: to cross a state line with the intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who is less than 12 years old; to engage in a sexual act with a person less than 12 years old in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or a federal prison; or under the circumstances of Subsections (a) and (b) to engage in a sexual act with another person who has attained the age of 12 but has not attained the age of 16 years and is at least 4 years younger than that person, or to attempt to do so. The maximum penalty is life imprisonment and/or a fine under Title 18. If the defendant has prior violation of subsection (c) or has a state offense that would have been an offense under either such provision had the offense occurred in a federal prison, unless the death penalty is imposed, shall be sentenced to life in prison. Subsection (d) provides that, in a prosecution under subsection (c), the government need not prove that the defendant knew that the victim was less than 12 years old. Thus, there is strict liability as to the age of a victim.

For all of the offenses set forth in section 2241, 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. 14, 15 (1986).

[cited in USAM 9-75.200]