In the state of Connecticut, it is illegal to risk injury to a child. This crime is officially referred to as “risk of injury to, or impairing morals of, children,” but colloquially known as “risk of injury to a minor.” You can learn more about risk of injury to a minor on this page.
What is Risk of Injury to a Minor?
The crime of risk of injury to, or impairing morals of, children is governed by Connecticut General Statute § 53-21. The statute gives three definitions of what it means to commit this crime. They are as follows:
(1) A person purposely puts or allows any child under the age of sixteen years old to be placed in a situation where the child’s health or morals are at risk of being injured or impaired;
(2) A person has contact with intimate parts of a child under the age of sixteen. Or, a person subjects the child to contact with the person’s intimate parts in a sexual manner likely to damage the health or morals of the child;
(3) A person permanently transfers legal or physical custody of a child under the age of sixteen to another person for money or other deals, or receives the legal or physical custody of a child for money or other deals (this does not include legal adoption).
These three situations discuss some legal terms. It is important to understand what these terms mean in the general statutes.
In Connecticut’s statutes, “intimate parts” are defined as the genital area, bodily fluids that come from the genitals, groin, anus, inner thighs, buttocks and breasts. Conn. Gen, Stat. § 53a-65(8) (2019).
Penalties for Risk of Injury
Risk of injury is classified as either a Class B or Class C felony depending on the facts of alleged. If the facts of the crime fit the definition of part (1) and (3) of this statute, it is classified as a Class C felony. If the facts of the crime fit the definition of part (2) of this statute, then it is a Class B felony. The penalties for a Class B felony are a term of imprisonment of up to 20 years. In addition, you could face a fine of as much as $15,000. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-35a (2019); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-41 (2019).
The penalties of a Class C felony are a term of imprisonment up to 10 years. Again, you could face a fine as much as $10,000. If a person is convicted of risk of injury under definition (2) and the victim was under the age of thirteen, then the person is facing a minimum of five years’ incarceration, which may not be suspended or reduced.
Another penalty that you should keep in mind is registry on the sex offender list. If convicted of subsection (1), registration is discretionary on the part of the court. If conviction of subsection (2), registration is mandatory for 10 years as a first offense or, if a second or subsequent offense, life. Conn. Gen. Stat. § § 54-251, 54-252. Please click the Registering as a Sex Offender link above to learn more.
If you have been charged with such a crime or have suspicions that you might be charged a crime, it is important to get help. You can contact an attorney near you for more information.