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The Rhode Island Sexual Assault Attorneys John E. MacDonald has twenty plus years of experience helping clients who are facing criminal prosecution for sex crimes. Attorney John MacDonald is a former public defender from the Rhode Island Department of the Public Defender and has extensive trial experience with violent crime defense.
Allegations of sexual assault can be the most frightening charges an individual can face for many reasons. First, the punishment for sexual assault crimes in Rhode Island can be extreme. Punishment for some sex offenses can be as high as life imprisonment and it is not uncommon for convicted sex offenders to receive punishments in excess of twenty years. Not only can the sentences for sex crimes be significantly higher than most other criminal offenses, but conviction often requires a life time requirement of registration as a sex offender.
Sex Crimes Defense Attorney John E. MacDonald will vigorously fight for your rights. His extensive experience with these types of charges and history of success in high-level trial cases will give you the best chance for a successful outcome to your case. He handles cases in the following areas:
If you have been charged, arrested, or investigated for any of these crimes it is vital that you contact a Providence Rhode Island Sexual Assault Lawyer that will aggressively defend your rights and protect you as soon as possible.
Call our Sex Crimes and Sexual Assault Attorneys at The Law Office of John E. MacDonald, Inc at 401-421-1440 or EMAIL
Just some of the results achieved by the attorneys at The Law Office of John E. MacDonald, Inc.:
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More frightening, perhaps, is the fact that false and/or mistaken allegations are not unusual. Many studies have found that a significant number of allegations of sexual assault are intentionally false, motivated by personal animosity, or arise as a response to a mistaken identity. A 1996 a Department of Justice Report found that of approximately 10,000 sexual assault cases analyzed with DNA evidence over the previous seven years, 2,000 excluded the primary suspect, and another 2,000 were inconclusive. The report also notes that these findings mirror a National Institute of Justice survey of private laboratories, and suggests that there exists “some strong, underlying systemic problems that generate erroneous accusations and convictions.” Some law enforcement studies have found that as many as ½ of allegations of sexual assault are false.
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In addition, when children are involved, false statements, mistake and manipulation by adults, coupled with the public’s understandable urge to protect the young and helpless, can often lead to situations where individuals are wrongly accused and, in many cases, wrongly convicted. These cases can often start with a switch in the “emotional” burden of proof forcing the suspect to prove his or her innocence. And while this is not the true legal burden required in court, it is often the reality that a defendant must face and prepare to counter at ever opportunity.
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For the above reasons it is imperative that an individual suspected or charged with a sex offense contact a sexual assault attorney or child molestation defense lawyer immediately. Rhode Island Criminal Defense Lawyer John MacDonald advises, without exception, that an individual questioned by law enforcement regarding allegations of sexual abuse refuse any interviews until the suspect has had an opportunity to discuss the matter fully with an attorney and evaluate the real costs and benefits of cooperation. In no other type of criminal investigation do the extreme feelings of panic and fear, caused by the stigma of the allegations alone, coupled with false promises by law enforcement, cause such a high rate of false confessions. The bottom line is that anyone suspected of a sex crime must refrain from answering any questions by law enforcement until represented by an experienced attorney.
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Rhode Island Sexual Assault Laws and Penalties
§ 11-37-2 First degree sexual assault. – A person is guilty of first degree sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual penetration with another person, and if any of the following circumstances exist:
(1) The accused, not being the spouse, knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapacitated, mentally disabled, or physically helpless.
(2) The accused uses force or coercion.
(3) The accused, through concealment or by the element of surprise, is able to overcome the victim.
(4) The accused engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or stimulation.
§ 11-37-3 Penalty for first degree sexual assault. – Every person who shall commit sexual assault in the first degree shall be imprisoned for a period not less than ten (10) years and may be imprisoned for life.
§ 11-37-4 Second degree sexual assault. –A person is guilty of a second degree sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual contact with another person and if any of the following circumstances exist:
(1) The accused knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapacitated, mentally disabled or physically helpless.
(2) The accused uses force or coercion.
(3) The accused engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification or stimulation.
§ 11-37-5 Penalty for second degree sexual assault. – Every person who shall commit sexual assault in the second degree shall be imprisoned for not less than three (3) years and not more than fifteen (15) years.
§ 11-37-6 Third degree sexual assault. – A person is guilty of third degree sexual assault if he or she is over the age of eighteen (18) years and engaged in sexual penetration with another person over the age of fourteen (14) years and under the age of consent, sixteen (16) years of age.
§ 11-37-7 Penalty for third degree sexual assault. – Every person who shall commit sexual assault in the third degree shall be imprisoned for not more than five (5) years.
§ 11-37-8 Penalty for assault with intent to commit first degree sexual assault. – Every person who shall commit assault with intent to commit first degree sexual assault shall be imprisoned for not less than three (3) years or more than twenty (20) years.
§ 11-37-8.6 Special assessment – Payment for treatment or counseling. – In addition to all other statutory costs and assessments, every person, adjudged guilty of the provisions of § 11-37-8.1 or 11-37-8.3, whether by trial, plea of guilty or plea of nolo contendere, shall pay a special assessment of one hundred dollars ($100). In addition to any other penalty provided by law, any person convicted under §§ 11-37-8.1 – 11-37-8.3 may be required, as part of the sentence imposed by the court, to pay the cost of any necessary medical, psychological, or psychiatric treatment of the child resulting from the act or acts for which the defendant is convicted.
§ 11-37-3.2 Necessity of complaint from victim. – No person shall be charged under § 11-37-3.1 unless and until the police department investigating the incident obtains from the victim a signed complaint against the person alleging a violation of § 11-37-3.1.
§ 11-37-9 Joinder of offenses. – Any person who shall be indicted for first, second, or third degree sexual assault and/or first or second degree child molestation sexual assault and/or § 11-37-8 may also be charged in the same indictment with either or all of the offenses described in §§ 11-37-2, 11-37-4, 11-37-6, 11-37-8, 11-37-8.1, and 11-37-8.3. If upon trial the jury shall acquit the person of any of the charges of sexual assault and shall find him or her guilty of any of the other offenses, judgment and sentence may be entered against him or her accordingly.
§ 11-37-10 Subsequent offenses. – If a person is convicted of a second or subsequent offense under the provisions of §§ 11-37-2, 11-37-4, 11-37-8, 11-37-8.1, and 11-37-8.3, the sentence imposed under these sections for the second or subsequent offenses shall not be less than twice the minimum number of years of sentence for the most recent offense.
§ 11-37-1 Definitions. – The following words and phrases, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings:
(1) “Accused” means a person accused of a sexual assault.
(2) “Force or coercion” means when the accused does any of the following:
(i) Uses or threatens to use a weapon, or any article used or fashioned in a manner to lead the victim to reasonably believe it to be a weapon.
(ii) Overcomes the victim through the application of physical force or physical violence.
(iii) Coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim and the victim reasonably believes that the accused has the present ability to execute these threats.
(iv) Coerces the victim to submit by threatening to at some time in the future murder, inflict serious bodily injury upon or kidnap the victim or any other person and the victim reasonably believes that the accused has the ability to execute this threat.
(3) “Intimate parts” means the genital or anal areas, groin, inner thigh, or buttock of any person or the breast of a female.
(4) “Mentally disabled” means a person who has a mental impairment which renders that person incapable of appraising the nature of the act.
(5) “Mentally incapacitated” means a person who is rendered temporarily incapable of appraising or controlling his or her conduct due to the influence of a narcotic, anesthetic, or other substance administered to that person without his or her consent, or who is mentally unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in the act.
(6) “Physically helpless” means a person who is unconscious, asleep, or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to an act.
(7) “Sexual contact” means the intentional touching of the victim’s or accused’s intimate parts, clothed or unclothed, if that intentional touching can be reasonably construed as intended by the accused to be for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or assault.
(8) “Sexual penetration” means sexual intercourse, cunnilingus, fellatio, and anal intercourse, or any other intrusion, however slight, by any part of a person’s body or by any object into the genital or anal openings of another person’s body, or the victim’s own body upon the accused’s instruction, but emission of semen is not required.
(9) “Spouse” means a person married to the accused at the time of the alleged sexual assault, except that such persons shall not be considered the spouse if the couple are living apart and a decision for divorce has been granted, whether or not a final decree has been entered.
(10) “Victim” means the person alleging to have been subjected to sexual assault.
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Rhode Island Child Molestation State Laws and Penalties
§ 11-37-8.1 First degree child molestation sexual assault. – A person is guilty of first degree child molestation sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual penetration with a person fourteen (14) years of age or under.
§ 11-37-8.2 Penalty for first degree child molestation sexual assault. – Every person who shall commit first degree child molestation sexual assault shall be imprisoned for a period of not less than twenty-five (25) years and may be imprisoned for life.
§ 11-37-8.2.1 Penalty for first degree child molestation sexual assault – Jessica Lunsford Child Predator Act of 2006. – (a) Title and Legislative Intent. The title of this section shall be “The Jessica Lunsford Child Predator Act of 2006”. In enacting this section the general assembly intends that in order to ensure the safety of victims the most dangerous child predators be electronically monitored via an active global positioning system in order to ensure that their whereabouts can be easily ascertained by law enforcement and other responsible authorities at all times while providing treatment to offenders.
(b) Every person who shall violate the provisions of subdivisions 11-37-8.2.1(b)(1) – 11-37-8.2.1(b)(2) listed herein shall be electronically monitored via an active global positioning system for life and, as a condition of parole and probation, and for the duration of any period of his or her probation following his or her parole shall attend a sex offender treatment program to address his or her criminally offensive behavior, as determined by the department of probation and parole. The persons subject to this condition of parole shall include:
(1) Persons who commit first degree child molestation sexual assault on or after January 1, 2007 and the victim of the sexual assault is twelve (12) years of age or younger; or
(2) Persons who shall violate the conditions of § 11-37-8.1 on or after January 1, 2007 and be determined a high-risk of re-offense (level 3) offender under the conditions of § 11-37.1-12, and the person is deemed a child predator as defined in subsection 11-37-8.2.1(g) or have committed the offense in conjunction with circumstances involving kidnapping, torture or aggravated battery, and provided further that the victim to the offense is fourteen (14) years of age or younger.
(3) Any person who violates the terms of the global position monitoring conditions shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(c) Any costs associated with the requirements of this section shall be borne by the offender and the court is hereby authorized and empowered to utilize all resources available to collect the funds for these costs unless the court finds that the defendant is indigent. In such cases costs shall be waived in order to promote this section’s legislative intent.
(1) Any person who has reason to know that a person convicted of first degree child molestation as defined by § 11-37-8.1 or 11-37-8.2.1 is not complying or has not complied with the requirements of this section where applicable and who with the intent to assist the child molester in eluding a law enforcement agency that is seeking to find the child molester to question the child molester about or to arrest the child molester for his or her non-compliance with the requirements of this section and who:
(i) knowingly withholds information from or willfully fails to notify the law enforcement agency about the child molester’s non-compliance with the requirements of this section; or
(ii) harbors or attempts to harbor or assists another person in harboring or attempting to harbor the child molester; or
(iii) knowingly conceals or attempts to conceal or assists another person in concealing or attempting to conceal the child molester; or
(iv) provides information to the law enforcement agency regarding the child molester that the person knows to be false information commits a felony and shall be subject to imprisonment for a period of five (5) years. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed as limiting the discretion of the judges to impose additional sanctions authorized in sentencing.
(2) Any person who permits a child predator as defined by this section to reside with them knowing that the child predator has failed to comply with the requirements of subsection 11-37-8.2.1(b) commits a felony punishable by up to five (5) years imprisonment and/or a five thousand dollar ($5,000) fine.
(e) Any person who intentionally tampers with damages or destroys any electronic monitoring equipment required by this section pursuant to a court order or parole board order unless such person is the owner of the equipment or an agent of the owner performing ordinary maintenance and repairs commits a felony and shall be imprisoned for not less than one nor more than five (5) years.
(f) The department of corrections, prior to the release from incarceration of any child predator, shall ensure that the child predator’s fingerprints are taken and forwarded to the bureau of criminal identification (BCI) division within the department of attorney general within forty-eight (48) hours after release from incarceration. The fingerprint card shall be clearly marked “Child Predator Registration Card”.
(g) For the purposes of this section “child predator” shall be defined as any person convicted of any violation of § 11-37-8.1, and who on a prior occasion has been convicted of a violation of § 11-37-8.1 or § 11-37-8.3.
§ 11-37-8.3 Second degree child molestation sexual assault. – A person is guilty of a second degree child molestation sexual assault if he or she engages in sexual contact with another person fourteen (14) years of age or under.
§ 11-37-8.4 Penalty for second degree child molestation sexual assault. – Every person who shall commit second degree child molestation sexual assault shall be imprisoned for not less than six (6) years nor more than thirty (30) years.
§ 11-37-8.8 Indecent solicitation of a child. – (a) A person is guilty of indecent solicitation of a child if he or she knowingly solicits another person under eighteen (18) years of age or one whom he or she believes is a person under eighteen (18) years of age for the purpose of engaging in an act of prostitution or in any act in violation of chapter 9, 34, or 37 of this title.
(b) As used in this section, the word “solicit” or “solicitation” means to command, authorize, urge, incite, request, or advise another to perform an act by any means including, but not limited to, in person, over the phone, in writing, by computer, through the Internet, or by advertisement of any kind.
§ 11-37-8.9 Penalty for indecent solicitation of a child. – Every person who shall commit indecent solicitation of a child shall be imprisoned for not less than five (5) years.
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