Georgia Sexual Assault Laws

Georgia's sexual assault law is different than many others throughout the nation. Under the statute, it a crime for someone with supervisory or disciplinary authority over another to have sexual contact with them, including those who are in a student-teacher relationship. This includes anyone with supervisory or disciplinary authority over someone in legal custody or someone who is detained in a hospital or other institution, including long-term care, nursing homes, home health care and hospices. It also pertains to psychotherapists and their patients. Consent is not a defense. Unlike Georgia's rape law, sexual assault can occur between any gender.

Also, keep in mind that the law prohibits any unconsented to sexual activity, with or without force.

Definition of Sexual Battery

Sexual battery occurs when a person intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of another person's body without their consent. The Code defines “intimate parts” as the “primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and the breasts of a female.”

Here, there isn't an age or gender requirement. Consent can be a defense.

Definition of Aggravated Sexual Battery

Aggravated sexual battery happens when a person “intentionally penetrates with a foreign object the sexual organ or anus of another person without their consent.”

The Code defines “foreign object” as “any article or instrument other than the sexual organ of a person.”

Again, there isn't an age or gender requirement. Consent can be a defense.

Romeo and Juliet Laws for Sexual Battery

Yes, even star-crossed young lovers can be prosecuted under Georgia's sexual battery laws. Commonly known as "Romeo and Juliet" laws, if the victim is between 14-16 years old and the defendant is 18 years years old or no more than four years older than the victim, he or she will only face misdemeanor charges.

The following table highlights the main provisions of Georgia's Sexual Assault and Sexual Battery Laws. See also Rape, Statutory Rape, and Sex Offenders and Sex Offenses.

Code Sections

Sexual Assault: O.C.G.A. 16-6-1

Sexual Battery: O.C.G.A. 16-6-3

Aggravated Sexual Battery: O.C.G.A. 16-6-22.2

Elements of Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault: “Sexual contact” that is perpetrated by “a person who has supervisory or disciplinary authority over another individual.” Enhanced penalties for sexual assault against a child under 16 years old. Lesser penalties if the victim is between 14 and 16 years old and the defendant is 18 years old or younger or no more than four years older than the victim.

Who has disciplinary authority?
  • Teacher, principal, assistant principal, or other school administrator;
  • Probation or parole officer having authority over a probationer or parolee;
  • Employee or agent of a law enforcement agency with a person detained or in custody;
  • Employee or agent of a hospital who has sexual contact with a patient while being treated;
  • Employee or agent of a correctional or juvenile justice facility, or disability facility; and
  • Psychotherapists with their patients.
What is "Sexual Contact" under the Law?

Any sexual contact involving intimate body parts between two unmarried persons.

Consent a Defense to Sexual Assault?

No

Elements of Sexual Battery

Sexual battery occurs when a person “intentionally makes physical contact with the intimate parts of the body of another person without the consent of that person.” The Code defines “intimate parts” as the “primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thighs, or buttocks of a male or female and the breasts of a female.” Enhanced penalties for sexual battery against a person under 16 years old.

Elements of Aggravated Sexual Battery

Aggravated sexual battery occurs when a person “intentionally penetrates with a foreign object the sexual organ or anus of another person without the consent of that person.”

What is a Foreign Object? Any object other than a person's sexual organs.
What are "Intimate Parts?"

Primary genital area, anus, groin, inner thigh, buttocks, and female breasts

Punishment

Sexual Assault: One (1) to Twenty Five (25 Years) in prison, fine of up to $100,000. If victim is under 16 years old, 25-50 years in prison and Mandatory Sex Offender Registration. If the victim is between 14 and 16 years old and the defendant is either 18 years old or within four years of the victim's age, it is a misdemeanor.

Sexual Battery: First conviction: High and Aggravated Misdemeanor. Subsequent offenses are considered felonies, punishable by one to five years in prison including Mandatory Sex Offender Registration.

Aggravated Sexual Battery: Life imprisonment or a minimum of 25 years imprisonment followed by probation for life and mandatory sex offender registration.

Resources

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted contact any of the following resources:

Free Case Review from a Criminal Defense Attorney

Whether accused of rape or statutory rape, the sentencing consequences can be severe. But you don't have to go through this alone. If you do find yourself facing a rape or statutory rape charge, you can contact a Georgia criminal defense lawyer for a free case review. A skilled lawyer will be able to explain the law and review the facts of your case.

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