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West Chester Sexual Assault Lawyer

Rape and sexual assault offenses are treated very harshly in Pennsylvania. There is also a significant stigma attached to these types of charges. Even if you are falsely accused, rape and sexual assault charges can ruin your reputation and your life. An attorney at DiCindio Law can offer skilled representation to help you to combat the charges against you. Having an experienced sex crimes attorney fighting for you can help you through the court process and potentially secure a better outcome in your case.

What is sexual assault in Pennsylvania?

Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.1, sexual assault occurs when a defendant has sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a victim in the absence of consent. By contrast, rape is charged under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3121 and occurs when a defendant engages in sexual intercourse without consent by force or threats of force or when the victim is unable to consent because of impairment or unconsciousness. Deviate sexual intercourse is charged under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3123 and includes more types of sex acts than rape such as anal sex, oral sex, and penetration with an object without consent. Both involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and rape are first-degree felony offenses while sexual assault is a second-degree felony.

Prosecutors sometimes charge people with sexual assault when they do not have enough evidence to prove involuntary deviate sexual intercourse or rape but have enough to prove that the defendants engaged in sexual intercourse with the victims without consent. Sexual assault includes deviant sex acts and sexual intercourse without consent.

Institutional sexual assault

Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.2, institutional sexual assault occurs when an employee or agent of certain institutions engage in sexual intercourse, indecent contact, or deviate sexual intercourse with a patient, detainee, inmate, or resident. Employees and agents of the following institutions may be charged with this offense:

  • County or state juvenile detention facility
  • Mental retardation or mental health facilities or institutions
  • Licensed residential care facilities that serve youth and children
  • Youth forestry camps
  • Youth development centers
  • County correctional facilities
  • The Pennsylvania Department of Corrections

It does not matter if the alleged victim consented. You can be charged with institutional sexual assault if you are an employee of one of these institutions and engage in sexual conduct with a resident, detainee, or inmate. It is a felony offense.

Sexual assault by a volunteer, sports official, or employee of a nonprofit

Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.3, volunteers, employees, and sports officials for nonprofits and for-profit sports programs or other services for juveniles who are younger than age 18 are prohibited from engaging in deviate sexual intercourse, sexual intercourse, or indecent sexual contact with a child who is younger than 18 who is participating in the sports program or in the services of the organization. This is a third-degree felony sex offense.

Penalties for sexual assault crimes in Pennsylvania

Sexual assault is a felony that carries a sentence of up to 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines. Institutional sexual assault and sexual assault by an employee, volunteer, or sports official of a non-profit or for-profit organization, including a school, is a felony. This offense carries the potential for up to seven years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

Depending on the evidence and the prosecutor’s discretion, you may be charged with deviate sexual intercourse or rape if you engaged in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse without obtaining the victim’s consent. If the prosecutor believes that he or she has enough evidence to convict you of rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, it is a first-degree felony.

Registering as a sex offender

If you are convicted of a sexual assault offense, you will be required to register as a sex offender.

If you are convicted of institutional sexual assault, the level will depend on the facts and circumstances of the offense. Institutional sexual assault also requires registration as a sex offender.

If you do not comply with your sex offender registration requirements, you can be charged with a new crime and face additional prison time and fines.

Collateral consequences of being convicted of sexual assault

All sex crimes convictions carry collateral consequences that can continue to impact your life after your sentence has been discharged and in addition to the registration requirement. These other consequences are known as collateral consequences and can include the following:

  • Loss of professional licenses
  • Inability to obtain certain professional licenses
  • Trouble getting accepted to a university or graduate program
  • Trouble securing private financial aid
  • Trouble finding and keeping a job
  • Difficulty finding a home or apartment to rent
  • Inability to secure housing assistance
  • Trouble gaining approval for loans
  • Loss of visitation or child custody rights
  • Supervised visitation
  • Deportation
  • Denial of visas to other countries
  • Inability to own or possess a firearm

Get help from an experienced sexual assault attorney in West Chester

If you are facing charges of sexual assault, institutional sexual assault, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, or rape, you should talk to an experienced sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible. It is crucial for you to protect yourself during the law enforcement investigation and to mount an aggressive defense against these serious charges. At DiCindio Law, Michael DiCindio is an experienced sex crime defense lawyer who understands how to build a strong defense to allegations of sexual assault and other sex offenses. Contact DiCindio Law today by calling us at 610-430-3535.


The above listed information does not include the entire crimes code, annotations, amendments or any recent changes that may be relevant.  The information provided is for informational purposes only and may not reflect the most current legal developments.  These materials are not intended, and should not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances.  Please contact DiCindio Law for a consultation and to discuss what law is relevant to your case.

Mike DiCindio is a criminal defense lawyer who represents individuals accused of crimes throughout all of Chester County, including West Chester, Phoenixville, Malvern, Coatesville, Paoli, Downingtown, Tredyffrin, West Goshen, Honey Brook, Oxford, Devon, Pottstown, Chesterbrook, Parkesburg, Kennett Square, and Avondale as well as in Montgomery County, Lancaster County, Delaware County, Philadelphia County, Bucks County and Berks County.

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Michael D. DiCindio, Esq.
Criminal Defense Attorney

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