Harrah’s Resort at Atlantic City, New Jersey is a destination with appeal for adults of all ages. Twenty-somethings with disposable income from their first job are as likely as retired individuals to seek out the bright lights, gambling, and many forms of entertainment provided at the many area casinos and shopping destinations. In short, Atlantic City has made a name for itself as an adult’s playground.
However, the atmosphere of a casino can lead to circumstances where mere acquaintances may perceive love and passion in the air. In some situations misperceived signals or one partner who regrets the encounter can lead to harsh criminal charges that can shred the accused reputation before a trial even begins. Furthermore the accused’s very freedom is put in jeopardy by allegations of this type. In short, the often sexualized atmosphere of a casino can lead to a situation where intentions and actions are misinterpreted. While sex crime charges may seem to spring out of nowhere, it is significantly more difficult to extricate oneself from this situation once allegations have been made and criminal charges have been filed.
Man Charged with Sexually Assaulting Acquaintance
While details are still incomplete about the exact circumstances surrounding the encounter, news reports have revealed that a 29 year-old man from Mercer County was visiting Harrah’s Resort and Casino in March. It is unclear if he traveled to the casino with the accuser or if he met the individual there, but at some point the man met up with a female acquaintance while at the casino. During the meeting, the female acquaintance alleged that the man went too far with his advances. The man was arrested on June 5, 2015, for the alleged sexual assault that occurred in March. The Prosecutor’s Office stated that the accused has been charged with first-degree aggravated sexual assault and second-degree sexual assault.
N.J.S.A. 2C:14-2 defines the law for aggravated sexual assault charges in New Jersey. As a first-degree crime, aggravated sexual assault is one of the most serious crimes. Under the law gender of the alleged attacker and alleged victim is irrelevant. What matters is the intent of the alleged perpetrator and whether sexual penetration occurred. Under the statute there are at least five broad scenarios where an aggravated sexual assault charge would be appropriate. They include:
- Sexual penetration of a minor older than 13 years, but less than 16 years of age where a familial or supervisory relationship existed
- Sexual penetration was committed during the commission of another felony like arson, robbery, or burglary.
- An armed individual used a verbal threat or gesture to achieve a sexual advantage and sexual penetration.
- The individual and others used force to restrain the victim and sexually penetrate the victim.
- The victim is helpless, mentally incapacitated, or otherwise able to give their consent
Sexual assault is still a serious crime, but it is a second –degree crime. Sexual assault can also occur in a variety of situations. For instance, second-degree sexual assault charges would be appropriate for an individual who makes sexual contact with a victim under age 13 when the individual is at least four years older than the victim. Therefore, sexual contact between a 17 year-old and a 12 year-old would be illegal and punishable per the statute.
What Are the Potential penalties for Sexual Assault in New Jersey?
Second-degree sexual assault charges can bring serious penalties. Crimes of the second-degree can carry a prison sentence of up to 10 years. Furthermore, individuals who are convicted on second-degree sexual assault charges do not become eligible for parole until they serve a minimum of five years in prison. As a first-degree crime, aggravated sexual assault charges can, upon conviction, be punished even more harshly. Those convicted of aggravated sexual assault can expect penalties of a minimum of 5 years and a maximum of 20 years.
Beyond a prison sentence, individuals convicted of second-degree sexual assault or aggravated sexual assault must register per Megan’s Law. Under the law, individuals convicted of sex crimes must, typically, register for t least 15 years with local law enforcement. The police then generally inform neighbors and other concerned individuals of your status.
Facing Sex Assault Charges in New Jersey?
Sexual Assault charges are extremely serious. If you are facing criminal sex charges you face not only the loss of your liberty, but also the punishment of registering and identifying yourself as a sex offender upon your release. The experienced criminal defense attorneys of the Law Offices of John J. Zarych have defended individuals charged with serious crimes in Cape May, Atlantic City, and beyond for decades. To schedule a free and confidential initial consultation, call our firm at (609) 616-4956 or contact us online.