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Oral Sex with a Minor and Sentencing

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So, you think that having oral sex is somehow less significant than having vaginal sex?

By Attorney Elisabeth Pasqualini, Criminal Law Division Leader, Harrisburg, PA

First, it is not my intention to condone or approve of having vaginal sex with a minor. It is my intention to explain the vast disparities in sentencing under the PA Law. The objectives of the Law should be similar- to punish those equally that engage in similar sexual activities with minors. However, this does not appear to coincide with the sentencing code in PA.

If you thought having oral sex with an underage partner was better (legally) than engaging in penal/vaginal sex, guess again.  In Pennsylvania, the punishment for engaging in oral sex (giving or receiving) with a minor involves a 10 year mandatory prison sentence. (Sex where the victim is 16 years old or less and the accused is 4 or more years older).  That means that a person convicted of this crime must receive a sentence of 10 to 20 years in a state correctional institute unless a district attorney agrees otherwise. A sentencing judge has no discretion in these cases. For example, a 20 year old with no prior criminal history who engaged in oral sex with a perfectly willing 15 year old is looking at a prison sentence of 10 to 20 years and can expect on average to do approximately 80% of the 20 years. Additionally, the 20 year old would face life registration requirements under Megan's Law.

By contrast, if that same 20 year old were instead convicted of having consensual vaginal sex with the 15 year old, that person is looking at a guideline range of sentence where the minimum sentence is somewhere between 6 to 16 months. This means that the 20 year could and would very likely receive a sentence of 6 to 11 months in a county work release center and a period of parole thereafter. The 20 year would not be required to register under Megan's Law.

If you have been charged with engaging in a sex act with an underage victim, call a professional before you speak to the police.  The police may tell you they just want to help you and want the full account.  They don't.  They want the full account to use to convict you.  Call Shaffer & Engle Law Offices, LLC toll free or email us.

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