Per Pennsylvania law, sexual assault is the crime of engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate carnal behavior without the consent of the other party. Though state laws vary regarding the definition of and consequences for sexual assault, Pennsylvania’s statutes are particularly unique in that they address the crime of “indecent assault.”

According to FindLaw, “indecent assault” falls within the category of sexual assault. However, it differs in that it does not necessarily have to involve sexual intercourse or a traditional sexual act. The courts may find a person guilty of indecent assault if said person forced upon the victim contact with the defendant’s urine, feces or seminal fluid with the intent to elicit sexual arousal in either him or herself or the victim.

Like with sexual assault, indecent contact must occur without the victim’s consent, through force or under the intimidation of force. Indecent contact also applies if the victim was mentally incapacitated, unconscious, intoxicated or below the legal age of consent (13 or 16, depending on the age discrepancy between victim and defendant) at the time of the contact.

The consequences of an indecent assault conviction are less severe than those associated with rape. However, depending on the severity of the offense, a defendant can still serve jail time for indecent contact. If it is a defendant’s first conviction, the state may charge him or her with a first- or second-degree misdemeanor, which may result in a jail sentence of up to five years. However, if the defendant is a second time offender or has a prior record of engaging similar conduct, or if the victim asserts that the defendant touched his or her sexual parts with his or her own, the state may charge the defendant with a felony of the third-degree. A third-degree felony carries a prison term of up to seven years.

This article is not meant to serve as legal advice. It is for your learning purposes only.