Difference Between Rape And Sexual Assault In New York

Is there a difference between rape and sexual assault and if so what is it?

The definitions for rape and sexual assault are different depending on the state. This article discusses the New York rape and sexual assault laws.

New York punishes three degrees of sexual assault. These include:

  • 3rd Degree Sexual Abuse:  Occurs when one party subjects another to sexual contact without their consent.
  • 2nd Degree Sexual Abuse: Occurs when one party subjects another to sexual contact without their consent and there are more serious circumstances, such as the victim's age.
  • 1st Degree Sexual Abuse: Occurs when one party forces another to sexual contact without their consent through threat of death, injury or kidnapping, or when the victim is incapable of consent either because of their age or because they physically cannot consent, or when the victim is younger than 13 and the defendant is 21 years of age or older, or when the victim is younger than 11 years of age.

What is sexual contact?

According to New York Penal Law (130.00[3]), '“Sexual contact” means any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party.  It includes the touching of the actor by the victim, as well as the touching of the victim by the actor, whether directly or through clothing, as well as the emission of ejaculate by the actor upon any part of the victim, clothed or unclothed.'

In New York, there are three punishable degrees of rape. The three degrees are differentiated by severity.

  • 3rd Degree Rape: Occurs when one party engages in sexual intercourse with another party who either does not give consent, is incapable of giving consent, or is less than 17 years old and the defendant is 21 years of age or older.
  • 2nd Degree Rape: Occurs when one party engages in sexual intercourse with another party who cannot give consent due to being mental incapacitated or mentally disabled, or because they are less than 15 years of age and the defendant is 18 years of age or older.
  • 1st Degree Rape: Occurs when one party engages in sexual intercourse with another party through the use of force such as threat of death, injury or kidnapping, or when the victim cannot give consent due to being physically helpless, or the victim is 11 years of age or younger, or the victim is 13 years of age and the defendant is 18 years of age or older.

What is sexual intercourse?

According to New York Penal Law (130.00 [1]), '“Sexual intercourse” has its ordinary meaning and occurs upon any penetration, however slight.'

 

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