We recently won a not guilty verdict for our client in a sexual assault case in Sarpy County. The facts involved a man in his 30’s, allegedly having sexual contact with a 15 year old girl. The client was found not guilty of 3rd degree sexual assault. In this case, the verdict was based on the law, rather than the facts. Even if the allegations were true, we still would have won.
First, while any person 19 years or older who has sexual intercourse with anyone under the age of 16 is guilty of 1st degree sexual assault, that crime requires penetration. In a case where no penetration is alleged and the case is charged as 3rd degree sexual assault, the age of consent is different. The age of consent for a sexual touching case where there is no penetration is actually 14 years of age, where the defendant is 19 years or older. Essentially the Nebraska State Legislature has decided that you must be 16 years of age to lawfully consent to sexual intercourse with an adult. As long as you are 14 years of age, you are competent to consent to sexual contact without penetration.
Even more mind-boggling, is that the state legislature has also determined that pornographic pictures of someone under the age of 18 is child pornography. In sum, the law in Nebraska is that you must be at least 14 years of age to consent to sexual contact, 16 years of age to consent to sexual penetration, and 18 years of age to consent to pornographic pictures. For many people, this doesn’t provide the protection we need for our children. Not only does this not make much sense, but many prosecutors are also confused by it and often erroneously charge cases that should never be charged in the first place. If you have been falsely accused of 1st degree sexual assault, 2nd degree sexual assault, 3rd degree sexual assault, or child pornography, contact the Berry Law Firm for aggressive criminal defense.