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Child Molestation
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How Does California Define Child Molestation Under PC 288_

The California Penal Code 288 defines the crime of lewd and lascivious acts with a child. This is commonly called child molestation and is more broadly defined as any sexual act or touching of a child that is under the age of 14. 

A lewd act can best be defined as either: 

  • Touching a child for sexual purposes.
  • Causing a child to touch him or herself or a third person for a sexual purpose.

This applies to anyone that’s under the age of 16, but because most charges that result in prosecution involve children that are under 14, the crime is often called: 

  • Lewd acts with a child under 14.
  • Lewd acts upon a minor.
  • Acts of lewd and lascivious conduct. 

This section of the law makes it a crime for any caretaker to commit a lewd act through force or threat against a person that’s dependent on them. It also includes people with disabilities and dependent elders. 

What Is Considered To Be Lewd Acts with a Minor? 

Typically, criminal prosecutions for lewd acts with minors include accusations that a child was fondled or touched on a sexual organ or that an act of child molestation happened. With that said, someone can be charged with lewd acts even if: 

  • The touching did not occur on a sexual organ.
  • The touching was done while the child was fully clothed (rather than naked).
  • The child was the one doing the touching (after being urged by the accused). 

It’s important to note that what makes the act a crime is the intention of the accused to arouse him or herself, the child, or a third person. It’s not required for actual arousal to occur; the intention is more than sufficient. 

Examples of Lewd Acts on a Child

If it’s still unclear to you what exactly constitutes a lewd act on a child, let’s take a look at several examples of such behavior that could be charged:

  • John takes and places the hand of his 10-year-old step-son on the crotch of his pants.
  • Emma, a 10th-grade teacher, gropes the breasts of a student through her clothes.
  • Frank kisses the thighs of a child she is looking after to cause himself sexual arousal. 

All of these acts are considered lewd acts on a child and a form of child molestation, so they are seen as a crime in California as per Penal Code 288

Regardless of the classification of the offense, it is important that you seek the assistance of competent legal counsel to help you best understand your legal defense while identifying an outcome that best minimizes your risk. We here at the H Law group patiently await your call.

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