In Georgia, the offense of sexual assault involves sexual contact engaged in by someone who has some degree of authority over the other person.
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This will typically involve teachers and students, law enforcement officers and detainees, or psychotherapists and their patients. Over the years, our sexual assault attorneys have obtained outstanding results for many well-respected teachers, doctors and police officers charged in these cases. Georgia’s sexual assault statute was amended in 2019 and the offense is now referred to as improper sexual contact by employee or agent.
Improper sexual contact in the first degree occurs when an “employee or agent” engages in sexually explicit conduct with another person whom such employee or agent knows or reasonably should have known is contemporaneously:
The reason the statute expressly refers to “agents” is to include anyone who is not technically an employee, but someone who may be volunteering or assisting in some way. Sexually explicit conduct requires some degree of actual sexual activity, as opposed to “sexual contact” which is defined below.
The offense classified as improper sexual contact in the second degree occurs when the employee or agent engages in sexual contact with the other person – which is defined as any contact involving the intimate parts of either person for the purpose of sexual gratification of either person. Thus, the mere touching of the buttocks or breasts can constitute sexual contact.
Consent of the victim is not a defense – the only exception is if the two people are married.
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Only specific individuals in positions of authority, as set out in the statute, can be charged with improper sexual contact.
These individuals are typically in a position of control or authority over another, such as a teacher over his or her students or a police officer over someone under arrest. The person in charge may have the right to discipline the victim, either with verbal reprimands or practical sanctions, such as expulsion from school or further incarceration.
The purpose of the statute was designed to address certain relationships where there may be a power imbalance between the parties that makes even consensual sexual contact inappropriate.
I highly recommend Bernard Brody’s services if you find yourself falsely accused of a sex crime.