Sex Crimes: Definitions and Penalties
Vermont

Last Updated: December 2017
Sexual Assault Answer

How is it defined?

  • No person shall engage in a sexual act with another person and compel the other person to participate in the sexual act:
    • Without the consent of the other person, or
    • By threatening or coercing the other person, or
    • By placing the other person in fear that any person will suffer imminent bodily injury.
  • No person shall engage in a sexual act with another person and impair substantially the ability of the other person to appraise or control conduct by administering or employing drugs or intoxicants without the knowledge or against the will of the other person.
  • No person shall engage in a sexual act with a child who is under the age of 16 (“Statutory Rape”), except:
    • Where the persons are married to each other and the sexual act is consensual, or
    • Where the person is less than 19 years old, the child is at least 15 years old, and the sexual act is consensual.
  • No person shall engage in a sexual act with a child who is under the age of 18 and is entrusted to the actor’s care by authority of law or is the actor’s child, grandchild, foster child, adopted child, or stepchild.
  • No person shall engage in a sexual act with a child under the age of 16 if:
    • The victim is entrusted to the actor’s care by authority of law or is the actor’s child, grandchild, foster child, adopted child, or stepchild, or
    • The actor is at least 18 years of age, resides in the victim’s household, and serves in a parental role with respect to the victim.

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • Imprisonment not less than 3 years; maximum imprisonment for life; may be fined not more than $25,000
  • If convicted of “Statutory Rape”, imprisonment for no more than 20 years; may be fined not more than $10,000

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant to this crime:

  • Sexual act: Conduct between persons consisting of contact between the penis and the vulva, the penis and the anus, the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the vulva, or any intrusion, however slight, by any part of a person’s body or any object into the genital or anal opening of another.
  • Sexual conduct: Any conduct or behavior relating to sexual activities of the complaining witness, including but not limited to prior experience of sexual acts, use of contraceptives, living arrangement and mode of living.
  • Consent:  Words or actions by a person indicating a voluntary agreement to engage in a sexual act.
  • Bodily injury: Physical pain, illness or any impairment of physical condition.

Statutory citation(s):

  • 13 V.S.A. §§ 3252 & 3254





Aggravated Sexual Assault Answer

How is it defined?

A person commits the crime of aggravated sexual assault if the person commits sexual assault under any of the following circumstances:

  • At the time of the sexual assault, the actor causes serious bodily injury to the victim or to another;
  • The actor is joined or assisted by one or more persons in physically restraining, assaulting, or sexually assaulting the victim;
  • The actor commits the sexual act under circumstances which constitute the crime of kidnapping;
  • The actor has previously been convicted in this state of sexual assault under § 3252(a) or (b) or aggravated sexual assault or has been convicted in any jurisdiction in the U.S. of an offense which would constitute sexual assault under § 3252(a) or (b) or aggravated sexual assault if committed in this state;
  • At the time of the sexual assault, the actor is armed with a deadly weapon and uses or threatens to use the deadly weapon on the victim or on another;
  • At the time of the sexual assault, the actor threatens to cause imminent serious bodily injury to the victim or to another and the victim reasonably believes that the actor has the present ability to carry out the threat;
  • At the time of the sexual assault, the actor applies deadly force to the victim;
  • The victim is under the age of 13 and the actor is at least 18 years of age; or
  • The victim is subjected by the actor to repeated nonconsensual sexual acts as part of the same occurrence or the victim is subjected to repeated nonconsensual sexual acts as part of the actor’s common scheme and plan.

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • Imprisonment not less than 10 years; maximum imprisonment for life; may be fined not more than $50,000 (may not be suspended, deferred, or served as a supervised sentence; defendant shall not be eligible for probation, parole, furlough, or any other type of early release until the expiration of the 5 or 10 year term of imprisonment; provided that may depart downwardly from 10 year term, but not less than 5 years, upon certain findings of the court).

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant to this crime:

  • Serious bodily injury: Bodily injury which creates any of the following: A substantial risk of death, a substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ, a substantial impairment of health, or substantial disfigurement, or strangulation by intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person.
  • Deadly weapon: Any firearm, or any weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which in the manner it is used or is intended to be used, is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.
  • Deadly force: Physical force which a person uses with the intent of causing, or which the person knows or should have known would create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury.

Statutory citation(s):

  • 13 V.S.A. § 3253





Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child Answer

How is it defined?

A person commits the crime of aggravated sexual assault of a child if the actor is at least 18 years of age and commits sexual assault against a child under the age of 16 in violation of § 3252 and at least one of the following circumstances exists:

  • At the time of the sexual assault, the actor causes serious bodily injury to the victim or to another;
  • The actor is joined or assisted by one or more persons in physically restraining, assaulting, or sexually assaulting the victim;
  • The actor commits the sexual act under circumstances which constitute the crime of kidnapping;
  • The actor has previously been convicted in this state of sexual assault under § 3252(a) or (b), aggravated sexual assault under § 3253 or aggravated sexual assault of a child or has been convicted in any jurisdiction in the U.S. of an offense which would constitute sexual assault under § 3252(a) or (b), or aggravated sexual assault under § 3253 or aggravated sexual assault of a child if committed in this state;
  • At the time of the sexual assault, the actor is armed with a deadly weapon and uses or threatens to use the deadly weapon on the victim or on another;
  • At the time of the sexual assault, the actor threatens to cause imminent serious bodily injury to the victim or to another and the victim reasonably believes that the actor has the present ability to carry out the threat;
  • At the time of the sexual assault, the actor applies deadly force to the victim; or
  • The victim is subjected by the actor to repeated nonconsensual sexual acts as part of the same occurrence or the victim is subjected to repeated nonconsensual sexual acts as part of the actor’s common scheme and plan.

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • Imprisonment for not less than 25 years; maximum imprisonment for life; fined not more than $ 50,000 (may not be suspended, deferred, or served as a supervised sentence; defendant shall not be eligible for probation, parole, furlough, or any other type of early release until the expiration of the 25 years term of imprisonment).

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant to this crime:

  • Serious bodily injury: Bodily injury which creates any of the following: A substantial risk of death A substantial loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ A substantial impairment of health, or Substantial disfigurement, or Strangulation by intentionally impeding normal breathing or circulation of the blood by applying pressure on the throat or neck or by blocking the nose or mouth of another person.
  • Deadly weapon: Any firearm, or Any weapon, device, instrument, material or substance, whether animate or inanimate, which in the manner it is used or is intended to be uses, is known to be capable of producing death or serious bodily injury.
  • Deadly force: Physical force which a person uses with the intent of causing, or which the person knows or should have known would create a substantial risk of causing death or serious bodily injury.

Statutory citation(s):

  • 13 V.S.A. § 3253(a)





Sexual Exploitation of an Inmate Answer

How is it defined?

No correctional employee, contractor, or other person providing services to offenders on behalf of the department of corrections or pursuant to a court order or in accordance with a condition of parole, probation, supervised community sentence, or furlough shall engage in a sexual act with a person who the employee, contractor, or other person providing services knows:

  •  Is confined to a correctional facility; or
  •  Is being supervised by the department of corrections while on parole, probation, supervised community sentence, or furlough, where the employee, contractor, or other service provider is currently engaged in a direct supervisory relationship with the person being supervised.

A person is engaged in a direct supervisory relationship with a supervisee if the supervisee is assigned to the caseload of that person.

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • Imprisonment for not more than 5 years; fined not more than $ 10,000; or both.

Anything else I should know?

The following definitions are relevant to this crime:

  • Sexual act means: Conduct between persons consisting of contact between the penis and the vulva, the penis and the anus, the mouth and the penis, the mouth and the vulva, or any intrusion, however slight, by any part of a person’s body or any object into the genital or anal opening of another.

Statutory citation(s):

  • 13 V.S.A. § 3257





Sexual Exploitation of a Minor Answer

How is it defined?

No person shall engage in a sexual act with a minor if:

  • The actor is at least 48 months older than the minor, and
  • The actor is in a position of power, authority, or supervision over the minor by virtue of the actor’s undertaking the responsibility, professionally or voluntarily, to provide for the health or welfare of minors, or guidance, leadership, instruction, or organized recreational activities for minors. A high school employee who is between employment contracts during summer break is not in position of authority over a student.  State v. Graham, 2016 VT 48 (Vt. Apr. 29, 2016).

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • In general, imprisonment for not more than 1 year; fined not more than $ 2,000; or both.
  • If a person commits “sexual exploitation of  minor” and abuses his or her position of power, authority, or supervision over the minor in order to engage in a sexual act shall be imprisoned for not more than 5 years; fined not more than $ 10,000; or both.

Anything else I should know?

  • N/A

Statutory citation(s):

  • 13 V.S.A. § 3258





Statutory Rape Answer

How is it defined?

  • “Statutory rape” is commonly used to refer to sexual penetration that is illegal because it involves a youth.
  • Vermont has no specific statutory rape statute, but this concept is captured by section (c) of 13 V.S.A. § 3252, “Sexual Assault”, 13 V.S.A. § 3253a “Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Child” and 13 V.S.A. § 3258 “Sexual Exploitation of a Minor”

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • N/A

Anything else I should know?

  • N/A

Statutory citation(s):

  • 13 V.S.A. § 3252





Sodomy Answer

How is it defined?

  • Vermont does not appear to have an anti-sodomy law on the books.
  • Any state laws that outright prohibit sodomy are unconstitutional under Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 588 (2003).

What are the punishments for this crime?

  • N/A

Anything else I should know?

  • N/A

Statutory citation(s):

  • N/A








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