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Indecent Assault (What It Is And Why It’s Important: All You Need To Know)

What is Indecent Assault?

What is an example of indecent assault?

What are the essential elements you should know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s define indecent assault and see why it’s important!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What Is Indecent Assault

Indecent assault is an assault crime that is generally characterized as a sex crime.

Assault and battery refers to intentional and unlawful use of force on another person such as touching, contact, or an act that is not necessarily violent in nature.

As such, “indecent” assault is a type of crime where a person unlawfully touches another person’s private parts, breasts, abdomen, thigh, buttocks, pubic area, or any other body part.

For a person to be charged and convicted of an indecent assault charge, the prosecutor must prove the following elements:

  • The defendant engaged in some form of touching
  • The touching was indecent
  • There was no justification or excuse for the touching 

Just like any other crime, it’s important to consider how the local laws define indecent assault to understand what it entails.

Indecent Meaning

According to Dictionary.com, the term indecent is defined as:

Offending against generally accepted standards of propriety or good taste; improper; vulgar

As such, conduct that is generally perceived as indecent is something that is offensive, is vulgar, or violates proper social norms.

Assault Meaning

In criminal law, the term assault refers to a type of conduct that may either involve the inflicting of physical harm or the threat to attempt physical harm.

In the context of an indecent assault crime, it can either involve touching a person in an indecent manner or performing conduct in front of another person (without physical contact) that may be considered as criminally indecent.

Crime Classification

Depending on the applicable law, the crime of indecent offense may be classified differently such as a felony or misdemeanor.

For example, in Texas, indecent assault is classified as a Class A misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $4,000.

In Pennsylvania, indecent assault crimes are generally charged as a misdemeanor unless the crime was committed against a victim under the age of 13 or there was aggravated indecent assault factors.

Indecent Assault Definition

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, indecent assault is defined as:

An offensive sexual act or series of acts exclusive of rape committed against another person without consent

In other words, you have “indecent assault” when there’s:

  • An offense
  • Sexual act 
  • Or sexual acts excluding rape
  • Committed against a person’s will

To get the statutory or legal definition of indecent assault, it’s important to consider the applicable state laws for more specifics.

Let’s look at a few legal definitions of indecent assault.

Legal Definition 1: Texas

For instance, in Texas, indecent assault is legally defined as:

A person commits an offense if, without the other person’s consent and with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, the person:

(1) touches the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of another person;

(2) touches another person with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of any person;

(3) exposes or attempts to expose another person’s genitals, pubic area, anus, buttocks, or female areola; or

(4) causes another person to contact the blood, seminal fluid, vaginal fluid, saliva, urine, or feces of any person.

Legal Definition 2: Pennsylvania 

In Pennsylvania, the state laws define indecent assault as follows:

A person is guilty of indecent assault if the person has indecent contact with the complainant, causes the complainant to have indecent contact with the person or intentionally causes the complainant to come into contact with seminal fluid, urine or feces for the purpose of arousing sexual desire in the person or the complainant and:

(1)  the person does so without the complainant’s consent;

(2)  the person does so by forcible compulsion;

(3)  the person does so by threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution;

(4)  the complainant is unconscious or the person knows that the complainant is unaware that the indecent contact is occurring;

(5)  the person has substantially impaired the complainant’s power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the complainant, drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance;

(6)  the complainant suffers from a mental disability which renders the complainant incapable of consent;

(7)  the complainant is less than 13 years of age; or

(8)  the complainant is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other.

Indecent Assault vs Aggravated Indecent Assault

What is the difference between indecent assault and aggravated indecent assault?

As an initial note, you must look at the applicable law to make out the difference between indecent assault versus aggravated indecent assault to the extent such nuance can be made.

Generally speaking, here is how we can summarize the aggravated indecent assault meaning:

  • It’s a conduct that is sexual in nature or offensive 
  • It is done without the victim’s consent
  • It involves penetration (even though very slight) of the genitals, anus, mouth, for any purpose other than good faith medical, hygienic needs, or by law enforcement procedures

Indecent assault that is not considered “aggravated” will generally not involve the act of penetration or intercourse.

Indecent Assault Examples

What are some examples of indecent assault crimes so we can better understand the notion?

Here are some examples of acts that may be considered as indecent assault:

  • The victim does not consent to the offensive or sexual act
  • The offender forces the victim to achieve his or her end
  • The victim may be unconscious or mentally unable to give consent 
  • The victim has a mental disability preventing him or her to understand the nature of the conduct 
  • The offender has deliberately impaired the victim’s ability to give consent 

Consequences of Indecent Assault

Being found guilty of an indecent assault crime can have serious consequences for the defendant.

For example, in Massachusetts, a conviction of indecent assault and battery on a person aged fourteen or older can get the offender in prison for up to five years or imprisonment in jail for up to two and half years.

In Pennsylvania, a person can get a first-degree or second-degree misdemeanor conviction for crimes considered as “indecent” assault.

As a result, the misdemeanor conviction can get the defendant to prison up to seven years and a fine of up to $15,000.

If the indecent assault was against a minor child less than thirteen years of age or there for aggravated indecent assault in Pennsylvania, the convicted offender can get up to ten years in prison and a fine of up to $20,000.

Indecent Assault Meaning Takeaways 

So there you have it folks!

What does indecent assault mean?

What are some examples of indecent assault?

Indecent assault is a type of crime that is generally considered a sex crime as it involves indecent acts on the part of the offender such as touching a person’s private parts, genitals, sexual organs, buttocks, pubic area, or other private parts.

Sex crimes are highly serious offenses and get you in prison for potentially a long time.

When a person commits a sex crime but does not perform unlawfully perform intercourse, oral sex, anal sex or similar type of sexual behavior involving penetration, you can potentially be charged with an indecent assault crime.

According to the Department of Communities and Justice, indecent sexual assault is:

Indecent assault is touching (or the threat to touch) a person’s body in a sexual manner without consent by another person.

An “indecent” act is a type of act or conduct that may be offensive or sexual in nature that is perpetrated against a person or in front of another person.

Depending on the specific nature of the crime, the prosecutor may charge an indecent assault crime as a misdemeanor or felony.

I hope I was able to provide you with an overall understanding of the meaning of indecent assault, how it can be legally defined, and its implications.

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Define Indecent Assault

  • An indecent assault crime refers to a type of criminal conduct where a person engages in an act, generally sexual in nature, against or in front of a person without the person’s consent
  • The legal definition of “indecent assault” should be evaluated based on the applicable criminal laws 
  • This type of crime is generally charged as a misdemeanor but can also be charged as a felony if it’s committed against a minor or involves aggravating factors such as some form of penetration even though very slight 
  • The act of touching a person’s private parts, genitals, anus, or exposing such parts, or causing another person to contract body fluids can all be considered as indecent assault 
Aggravated rape
Aggravated sexual battery 
Arrest warrant 
Assault crime
Assault definition 
Battery crimes 
Child molestation 
Child pornography 
Criminal offense 
Cybersex trafficking 
Drug crimes
Indecent assault 
Indecent exposure 
Plea bargaining 
Probation violation 
Public assault 
Sexual battery definition 
Sex crime attorney 
Sex offender registry 
Sexual assault 
Statutory rape
Actus reus 
Classes of crimes 
Criminal law 
Criminal negligence 
Criminal procedure 
Criminal process 
Defense attorney 
Depraved indifference 
Expungement motion 
Felonious assault
Felony types 
Mens rea 
Misdemeanor attorney 
Misdemeanor vs felony
Penal Code 
Summary offense 
Romeo and Juliet law
Types of charges 
Wharton Rule
Victimless crime 
What is a felony
What is a misdemeanor 
What is an infraction
Wobbler offense

Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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