The story of Harvey Weinstein's alleged decades-long abuse of young Hollywood starlets has shaken the nation and opened a door for alleged victims of sexual assault and abuse to share their stories and seek support for the wrongs they perceive to have been committed against them. From commentaries on experiences of inappropriate comments and touching to allegations of rape, the alleged conduct that counts as sexual assault and abuse may seek far-reaching and confusing. In an effort to offer readers of this Iowa City criminal defense legal blog some information on this important criminal law topic this post will provide an overview of Iowa's laws on sexual abuse.
In Iowa, sexual abuse happens when a person commits a sex act on another person through force, coercion, or otherwise against the alleged victim's will. If a person is affected by medications or drugs and cannot consent to the sex act then sexual abuse may be alleged. Children cannot consent to sex acts, nor can individuals with diminished mental capacities. Penalties for convictions on sexual abuse charges can include imprisonment for short durations of time up to life in prison and significant fines.
Sexual abuse cases are driven by the facts in each and every case. As such, now two cases of sexual abuse may resolve in exactly the same way because each will be driven by the circumstances present at the time the alleged crime occurred.
Because facts and evidence can be imperative for an alleged sexual abuse perpetrator's case it is important that individuals seek the counsel of criminal defense attorneys to ensure that their rights are protected. In fact, some sexual abuse defendants may have opportunities to employ sexual abuse defenses to their cases that can, in some cases, eliminate the serious charges that have been lodged against them.