Society at large is aware that sexual assault and other violent crimes occur in jails and correctional facilities between inmates; however, sexual assault and victimization of inmates by facility staff is lesser known.
Institutional Sexual Assault Statistics
According to a study by RTI international, 4 percent of state and federal prison inmates and 3.2 percent of local jail inmates in the U.S. reported sexual victimization by another inmate or facility staff in the last 12 months from 2011 to 2012. Contrary to common beliefs, more than half of the aforementioned victimization involved correction or jail facility staff (2.4 percent of state and federal prison inmates and 1.8 local jail inmates).
Institutional sexual assault is a serious offense and unfortunately a prevalent problem in the U.S. and Pennsylvania criminal systems. However, many correctional facility and jail employees are targets of false accusations of sexual assault for various reasons, including retaliation against the employee, general dislike of the employee, or disdain for authoritative figures.
Accusations of institutional sexual assault can have devastating consequences for a correctional facility or prison employee, including suspension or termination of employment, criminal charges and/or criminal conviction, and required sex offender registration.
If you are an employee or agent of Chester County Prison, George W. Hill Correctional Facility, Chester County Youth Center, or other detention or correctional facility in Pennsylvania and have been accused of institutional sexual assault, it is important to consult an experienced Chester County sex crime attorney.
What is Institutional Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault and victimization of inmates is a serious criminal offense. Under 18 Pa.C.S. § 3124.2, the Institutional Sexual Assault statute, it is a criminal offense for an employee or agent of a correctional facility, youth development facility, mental facility, juvenile detention facility, or other licensed residential facility to engage in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, or indecent contact with an inmate, detainee, patient, or resident.
What if the Inmate Consents?
Any sexual contact or indecent contact with an inmate, patient, or resident by facility staff or agents is illegal. This includes sexual and indecent contact to which both the facility staff and inmate consented. In Commonwealth v. Mayfield, 832 A.2d 418, 574 Pa. 460 (Pa., 2003) the court explained mutual consent is not a viable defense to institutional sexual assault charges.
The defendant in Mayfield asserted that she should not have been charged or convicted of institutional sexual assault for engaging in sexual conduct and having indecent contact with a male inmate, because both parties were consenting adults.
The Court explained while it is not typically concerned with sexual conduct between two consenting adults, the institutional sexual assault statute was enacted to maintain institutional order. The Court in Mayfield stated sexual contact between correctional staff and inmates is obviously rife with the possibility of coercion, both subtle and overt, given the extensive power guards exercise over inmates.
Institutional Sexual Assault Penalties
Institutional Sexual Assault is a third degree felony, punishable by a maximum of 7 years imprisonment and a fine of no more than $15,000. Depending on the age of the alleged victim and other factors, criminal charges of institutional sexual assault may be brought within 12 or 32 years of the alleged assault.
The attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices understand the seriousness and complexity of an institutional sexual assault case. The attorneys have extensive experience and a proven track record of success in these cases– many of which have resulted in having the institutional sexual assault charges reduced or dismissed.
If you are a current or former employee of Chester County Prison, George W. Hill Correctional Facility, Chester County Youth Center, or another correctional facility, jail, or juvenile detention center in the Pennsylvania area and have been charged with institutional sexual assault, contact the sex crime defense attorneys at the Ciccarelli Law Offices.
The team of attorneys at Ciccarelli Law Offices represent clients facing any sexually motivated criminal defense, including rape, sexual assault, child pornography, and institutional sexual assault.
Ciccarelli Law Offices diligently defends individuals throughout Pennsylvania, including West Chester, Plymouth Square, King of Prussia, Malvern, Kennett Square, Radnor, Lancaster, Philadelphia, and the surrounding areas. Contact the Ciccarelli Law Offices for a confidential consultation at (610) 719-3200. Attorneys are on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, National Inmate Survey 2011-2012
Commonwealth v. Mayfield, 832 A.2d 418, 574 Pa. 460 (Pa., 2003)