Sex crimes, especially sex crimes committed against children, are viewed by the court and general public as especially heinous, reflected by the severe criminal penalties these offenses mandate.
This past month in East Texas’s Anderson County, Stephyn Prine, a 64-year old man from Slocum in Anderson County, was found guilty of sexual abuse of a child and continuous sexual abuse of a child. He was sentenced to 99 years for the continuous sexual abuse charge and 20 for the sexual abuse charge – a combined total of 119 years in prison without the possibility of parole.
Prine was accused of sexually assaulting a family member in the middle of the night for at least one year from when she turned 13 to just after she turned 14. When the victim confessed about the sexual assault to a family member, Prine confronted her and was heard by witnesses saying, “You know you wanted it. You know you liked it.”
Other witnesses said his behavior toward the child – showering her with excessive attention and gifts – wasn’t normal.
The jury watched a video statement and listened to a written statement that Prine gave to the police shortly after the abuse was reported. In one of the statements, Prine says, “If I was forcing her to do anything she didn’t want to do, someone would have heard me,” without any prior discussion of what the victim had reported.
Perhaps not helping his either, Prine also testified in his own defense. When asked specifically whether he had committed sexual assault against the victim, he replied, “not that I know of.”
Prine’s behavior is not typical. Most defendants charged with a child sex offense immediately grasp the gravity of their situation. That’s why, if you’ve been accused of a sex crime, it’s imperative to act quickly and reach out to an experienced Texas sex crimes defense lawyer who understands the law at both the state and federal level and can craft the best defense strategy for a successful outcome.
Let’s look at the law concerning sex crimes here in Texas and some common defense your skilled attorney might utilize.
Sexual Offenses in Texas
There are a number of sexual offenses you can be accused of in our state. Here are a few of the most common ones involving minors:
Sexual assault of a child is a second-degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison.
Aggravated sexual assault of a child is a first-degree felony punishable by 5 to 99 years in prison or life.
Continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children is a first-degree felony punishable by imprisonment for life, or for any term of not more than 99 years or less than 25 years.
Indecency with a child can be a second-degree felony punishable by 2 to 20 years in prison or a third-degree felony punishable by 2 to 10 years in prison.
Defending Sexual Allegations
A qualified lawyer will start defending your case before it even goes to trial. Many of these cases come down to the alleged victim’s account of events. So if you can successfully dispute the victim’s claim, your case might be dismissed or an equitable jury verdict returned.
If you are charged, there are a number of defense strategies a knowledgeable attorney can possibly use for your case, including:
The victim consented;
You were married to the victim at the time;
You were not more than 3 years older than the victim;
You didn’t use duress, threats, or force; or
Lack of intent or knowledge.
In order to determine the best defense strategy for you, a lawyer will need to listen to the details of the case to know how best to proceed. Reach out to an attorney today to get started on fighting your charges.