Groping may become a more serious offense in Texas if the Association Against Sexual Assault gets its way.
An article in CBS Austin highlighted how the organization claims offenders can land up in more trouble for shoplifting than for groping an adult in Texas.
In January, the news station highlighted the case of a 22-year-old who is facing a felony charge of indecency with a child. He stands accused of groping a 16-year-old girl on the ACC Riverside campus
ACC administrator Virginia Fraire claimed there was inappropriate physical contact between the students.
However, if the victim was 17, just a year older, the second-degree felony that Aldaco is facing would be a Class C misdemeanor.
ACC has banned the 22-year-old from its campuses, stated the news channel.
Chris Kaiser, director of public policy for the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault, told the TV station a Class C misdemeanor is the equivalent of a traffic ticket.
His organization is behind Senate Bill 339 which would establish groping as a Class A misdemeanor, leading to a year in jail and/or a $4000 fine.
Kaiser said there are only five states in the nation where groping will not land a perpetrator in jail. Texas is one of them.
The bill relating to groping was filed by Republican State Senator Charles Perry. He said a loophole appears to be present in Texas when it comes to groping. Perry said:
“It is unthinkable that forcible groping and attempted rape is considered legally equivalent to a traffic ticket. Texas is one of only five states where these heinous acts are not punishable by jail time and SB 339 will increase the punishment to protect victims of these vicious crimes.”
Sexual Assault and Groping Laws in Texas
Under Texas sexual assault law, a “child” is defined as a person younger than 17 years of age. If physical violence was threatened or used to force the victim to submit or participate to the defendant’s actions, the act is considered by the law to have been without the victim’s consent.
In cases where the victim is unable to resist or is unaware of the nature of the act being performed, the law deems a lack of consent.
Consent is lacking in any situation where the defendant is in a place of power or charged with the care of the victim. A care home manager and a resident, a lawyer and a client, or a psychologist and a client are all examples.