Sex and the law is an expansive topic. Often, the idea behind these laws depends on what, exactly, is involved. Most criminal laws related to sex seek to punish sexual assault and protect children and the public from lewdness or indecency. On the other hand, constitutional and statutory provisions generally protect a reasonable expectation of privacy for consenting adults. There can also be public health issues relating to sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and promoting safe sex or abstinence.
This article summarizes prohibited consensual sexual activity laws in Vermont. The focus here is on lewdness, public indecency, and similar offenses. Separate articles cover sex assault and prostitution and there’s a separate section on same-sex rights in general.
Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws
Vermont’s consensual sexual activity laws focus on banning “lewd and lascivious” conduct. This is (vaguely) defined as “open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior.” Public exposure, public sexual activity, and similar acts are what the statute has in mind. The maximum punishment is five-year in prison and a fine of $300.
More severe penalties exist when the conduct involves a child fifteen years of age or younger. The maximum prison term starts at fifteen years and jumps to life in prison for repeat offenders. However, benign or harmless actions aren’t illegal. Vermont accomplishes this by requiring proof of intent to sexually gratify either the person committing the acts or the child. This element criminalizes behavior that violates a child -- and nothing more. There’s also an exception for consensual conduct between an adult under the age of nineteen and a child fifteen years of age or older.
Vermont also criminalizes voyeurism – the watching or recording of people engaged in sexual activity. The statute limits voyeurism offenses to intentional viewing, photographing, or otherwise recording people without their consent when they have a reasonable expectation of privacy. Exceptions exist for law enforcement, private investigators, and security guards in the course of their jobs. There is not an exception for security or loss prevention officers at business, however.
|Sodomy Laws Applicable to||-|
|Penalty for Sodomy||-|
|HIV Exposure and Compelled Testing for Offenders||
A person diagnosed and reported as being infected must submit to regular testing and treatment (tit. 18, § 1096);
Upon conviction of a criminal offense involving a sexual act with a risk of transmission and request of the victim, court must order a test for HIV and other STDs (tit. 72, § 3256).
|Other Crimes Relating to Consensual Sex Acts||
Lewd and lascivious conduct punishable by up to five years in prison and a $300 fine (tit. 13, § 2601);
Engage or occupy a building for purpose of prostitution, lewdness, or assignation punishable by up to one year in prison and $100 fine (tit. 13, § 2632).
Related Resources for Prohibited Consensual Sexual Activity Laws
You can find more information about state prohibited consensual activity laws and sex crimes on these pages. For more specific questions regarding a particular case, we recommend speaking to a knowledgeable criminal law attorney in your area.
Contact a qualified attorney.