Whereas sexual assault includes any verbal, physical or visual sexual act, sexual battery on the other hand involves only physical acts.
Sexual battery is defined as the (1) intentional (2) unwanted (not consented to) (3) touching (2) of an intimate body part that is (3) made for the purpose of sexual arousal or abuse (lewd and lascivious). If the victim is under 16 years of age then the same activity is considered child molestation. The definition refers to “intimate body parts” which generally includes the genitalia, anus, groin, buttocks and breasts of the victim.
Aggravated sexual battery describes the same offense except that due to some circumstances or characteristics of the victim the penalty assessed is more serious. Aggravating circumstances include; if the victim is under 13 years of age; the victim cannot understand the nature/consequences of the act; the victim was unconscious at the time of the act; the defendant is a parent, step-parent, grand-parent or other close relative; a deadly weapon of any kind is used during the act.
Potential penalties for sexual battery are similar to the penalties for sexual assault and may include jail time, probation including community service and rehabilitative programs for sex offenders, registering as a sex offender and fines.
Sexual battery is governed by state law and it is important to note that it does not exist as a separate offense in every state. In most states it is one of many sexual crimes encompassed in the crime of sexual assault.
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