There are other sex offenses besides first-degree and second-degree sexual offense. One such crime is sexual battery. A person is guilty of sexual battery if that person engages in sexual contact for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse
- with a person by force and against the will of the other person
- with a person who is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.
Sexual contact is defined by North Carolina statute as meaning “(i) touching the sexual organ, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks of any person, (ii) a person touching another person with their own sexual organ, anus, breast, groin, or buttocks, or (iii) a person ejaculating, emitting, or placing semen, urine, or feces upon any part of another person.”
Touching is further defined as meaning “physical contact with another person, whether accomplished directly, through the clothing of the person committing the offense, or through the clothing of the victim.”
Evidence supporting an inference of sexual arousal or sexual gratification can include locking a door prior to the sexual contact, as well as previously asking the victim on a date and making inappropriate contact with the victim’s thigh. However, if the sexual contact occurs between two children, North Carolina courts have held that a sexual purpose cannot be inferred from the act itself and does not exist “without some evidence of the child’s maturity, intent, experience, or other factor indicating his purpose in acting[.]” Factors to consider when determining a juvenile’s sexual purpose include “age disparity, control by the juvenile, the location and secretive nature of the juvenile’s actions, and the attitude of the juvenile.”
A person who commits sexual battery is guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor. The punishment for a Class A1 misdemeanor ranges from 1-150 days, depending on prior convictions. However, while a person with no prior convictions might receive a community punishment, he might also receive an active punishment. This means that a person with no prior convictions can be sentenced to up to 60 days of jail time if he is found guilty sexual battery.