Defining sexual assault

Many in Wheeling may hear the term "sexual assault" and automatically equate it to rape. Yet after looking into the details of individual cases, you may find that the assault that is alleged to have occurred did not involve intercourse. This may raise your concerns as to what sort of conduct qualifies as sexual assault, and whether or not you could potentially be accused of it without ever having intended to do it. Many of those that have come to us here at the Scott C. Brown Law Office after having been accused of this crime are indeed unaware of the conduct that netted the accusations. 

One important point to remember that West Virginia classifies sexual offenses into several distinct categories. According to Section 61-8B-1 of the West Virginia Code, these are: 

  • Contact: Intentional touching of the breasts, buttocks, anus or any part of a person's sexual organs (either directly or through clothing), or touching another person with any part of a person's sex organs 
  • Intrusion: Any act involving penetration of the female sex organ or a person's anus by any object for another's sexual gratification or for the purpose or humiliating or degrading the person being penetrated
  • Intercourse: Penetration of the female sex organ by the male sex organ or contact of a person's sex organ with the mouth or anus of another

Incidents of sexual assault typically involve intercourse or intrusion, while incidents involving contact are usually termed to be sexual abuse. It is assumed that these offenses are done with the lack of consent of the person being acted against. Arguing that you had consent (or reasonably believed that you had consent) is vital in answering accusations of assault. 

More information on answering charges of sexual assault can be found throughout our site. 

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