Somerset County Sex Crime Attorney Provides Vigorous Defense

Somerset advocate vigorously fights potentially damaging charges

The consequences of being convicted of a sex crime are severe. They can include long-term incarceration, loss of reputation and registration as a sex offender — possibly for the rest of your life. If you’ve been charged with a sex crime in the Somerset, Pennsylvania area, Matthew R. Zatko, Attorney at Law is ready to provide experienced and decisive defense. From the outset, I will protect your rights and reputation as I work tirelessly to achieve the best resolution possible.

What crimes are considered sex crimes in Pennsylvania?

A sex crime is conduct of a sexual nature with another person without that person’s consent. It includes not only sexual intercourse but also touching, exposing or even filming private body parts.

Pennsylvania recognizes several different sex crimes, including:

  • Rape — Sexual intercourse accomplished through force or threat of force or upon an unconscious, impaired or mentally disabled victim is a felony of the first degree. Victimizing your date or spouse this way is still rape.
  • Statutory sexual assault — Sex with a minor is a felony of the first degree when the offender engages in sexual intercourse with a complainant under the age of 16 years and that person is 11 or more years older than the complainant and they are not married to each other.
  • Indecent assault — This crime consists of the nonconsensual touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire. Depending on the circumstances, indecent assault can be a misdemeanor of the first or second degree or a felony of the third degree.
  • Indecent exposure — This offense is committed by exposing one’s genitals in a public place or in a place where a nonconsenting person is present. Exposure to someone aged 16 or over is a misdemeanor of the second degree, while exposure to someone younger is a misdemeanor of the first degree.
  • Unlawful dissemination of an intimate image — Sharing a nude or sexually explicit image of a current or former lover with the intention to harass, annoy or alarm that person is a misdemeanor of the first degree when the person depicted is a minor and a misdemeanor of the second degree when that person is an adult.
  • Child pornography — Depicting, producing, distributing, acquiring or viewing explicit images of children is a felony under both state and federal law. The FBI has resources dedicated to zealously rooting out and prosecuting these crimes.

Charges of rape, statutory sexual assault, incest and sexual abuse of children must be prosecuted within 12 years. Most other sex crimes have a two-year statute of limitations.

What are the consequences of conviction?

Sex offenses vary in degree of punishment based on the act committed and the age and other characteristics of the victim.

A felony of the first degree is punishable by up to 20 years in prison and a $25,000 fine, while a misdemeanor of the second degree may result in a two-year sentence and $5,000 fine. In addition, Megan’s Law requires convicted sex offenders, including juveniles, to register with the Pennsylvania State Police. The registry is available to the public on the internet. Depending on the sex offense and the date of conviction, the registration might last 10, 15 or 25 years or a lifetime.

The most severe penalties are reserved for sexually violent predators (SVPs), who are diagnosed with a mental or personality disorder that increases the likelihood they will commit more violent sex crimes in the future. SVPs are also required to register for life. Failing to register or providing inaccurate information is a crime.

Fortunately, an arrest doesn’t need to result in conviction. If you’re accused of a sex crime, we will assert every defense available.

Human trafficking offenses

The Pennsylvania Code prohibits the sexual exploitation of individuals held against their will. Human trafficking — defined as facilitating another person’s involuntary servitude — is a felony of the first degree if the victim is a minor and a felony of the second degree if the victim is an adult. Engaging in sexual conduct with a victim of involuntary servitude is a felony of the second degree. When human trafficking crosses state lines, it becomes a federal offense, so the FBI and the U.S. Department of Justice have jurisdiction. The attorney you choose to defend you must be up to the task. I will conduct a thorough investigation and zealous prosecution of all charges.

Contact an aggressive trial lawyer for sex crime defense in Somerset

A conviction for a sex crime carries severe consequences well into the future. For aggressive defense representation, trust Matthew R. Zatko, Attorney at Law. Call 814-443-1631 or contact me online to schedule a consultation. I serve clients throughout Somerset County, Bedford County, Cambria County, and Indiana County.