The final of the sexual assault crimes is sexual assault in the fourth degree. This is the least serious of the sex assault degrees; but you still should not take a sexual assault in the fourth degree charge lightly. If you face sexual assault in the fourth degree, also known as “Sex 4,” you can learn more about it on this page.
What is Sex 4?
Sexual assault in the fourth degree is governed by Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-73a (2019). The statute defines sexual assault in the fourth degree in several different ways. A person commits sexual assault in the fourth degree when he or she does one of the following:
(1) Forces physical contact with another person who is:
(a) under the age of thirteen and the actor is more than two years older than the victim;
(b) thirteen years or older but under fifteen years of age and the actor is more than three years older than the victim;
(c) physically helpless;
(d) less than eighteen years old and the actor is the victim’s guardian or responsible for their wellbeing;
(e) under his or her supervision and the victim is being detained or under the custody of law or detained in an institution or hospital.
(2) Subjects another person to sexual contact without the other person’s consent;
(3) Engages in sexual contact with an animal or dead body;
(4) The actor is a psychotherapist and either:
(a) engages in sexual contact with a current patient during a treatment session;
(b) engages in sexual contact with a patient or former patient who is emotionally dependent on the therapist;
(c) engages in sexual contact with a current or former patient and the contact occurs by means of therapeutic deception;
(5) The actor is a health care professional and engages in sexual contact with another person under the false belief that the sex is for a bonafide medical purpose;
(6) The actor is a school employee and engages in sexual contact with an enrolled student of that school or of the local or regional board of education which employs the actor;
(7) The actor is a coach or instructor who engages in sexual contact with a player or person being instructed and the victim is either under the age of 18 or belongs to the secondary school the persons work at;
(8) The actor subjects a victim to sexual contact and is twenty years of age or older and stands in a position of power, whether legal, professional, or volunteer over a victim who is under the age of eighteen;
(9) The actor subjects another person to sexual contact who is under supervision or authority of the person while being placed or receiving services from the Commissioner of Development Services.
Connecticut Statute Definitions
It is important to understand how Connecticut statute defines many of these technical terms.
“Sexual contact” is defined as contact with any intimate parts of either two people participating in the sexual act for either the sexual enjoyment of the aggressor or degrading/humiliation of the unwilling other participant. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-65(3) (2019).
“Intimate parts” is 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).
“Physically helpless” is defined as an unconscious person or someone who is physically unable to resist sexual intercourse or contact or unable to communicate their non-consent. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-65(6) (2019).
Penalties for Sexual Assault in the Fourth Degree
Sexual assault in the fourth degree is a Class A misdemeanor unless the victim is under the age of 16. If the victim is under the age of 16, then the crime is classified as a Class D felony. If the charge is classified as a Class D felony, the penalties include a prison sentence of up to five years, and a fine of up to $5,000. Gen. Stat. § 53a-35a (2019); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-41 (2019). If the charge is classified as a Class A misdemeanor, the penalties include a jail sentence of up to a year, and a fine of up to $2,000. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-36 (2019); Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-42 (2019).
In addition, if a person is convicted of sexual assault in the fourth degree and the victim at the time of the crime was ten years old or younger the court will impose additional sanctions. That person will be ordered to undergo psychological counseling. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-40c (2019).
There are two defenses to the crime of Sex 4 a defendant may bring forth. Conn. Gen. Stat. § 53a-67 (2019).
(1) If the victim was mentally incapacitated at the time of the crime, the defendant may give evidence that at the time of the sexual intercourse the defendant did not know the condition of the victim;
(2) If the defendant can show he or she was living with the victim and engaging in consensual sexual relationship, he or she may bring forth that evidence.
If charged with sexual assault in the fourth degree in Connecticut, seek help! An attorney can review your situation and assist you throughout the criminal justice process.