There are several crimes identified as sex crimes under North Carolina law. These crimes are incredibly serious, and the penalties a person can face as a result of conviction are equally as grave.
It’s important for all citizens of North Carolina to understand what crimes are considered sex crimes as well as what can be faced if found guilty of one of these offenses. Here is what you need to know.
Sex Crimes in North Carolina
The North Carolina legislature has created the criminal code that defines sex crimes in the state. They include:
First Degree Forcible Rape
This rape crime occurs when someone forces another to engage in intercourse. It’s first-degree forcible rape if:
- A deadly weapon is involved
- Any item that puts the victim in reasonable fear of their safety is part of the picture
- A weapon is used in the commission of the act by inflicting serious bodily injury to the victim
- Someone else helps the perpetrator commit the act of rape
Second Degree Forcible Rape
If someone engages in intercourse with a victim by force, acting against their will, or against a victim who is bodily defenseless, intellectually incapacitated, or intellectually disabled, then it’s second-degree forcible rape. It’s also second-degree if the offender should have reasonably known that the victim was incapacitated, disabled, or helpless.
First Degree Statutory Rape
This occurs when intercourse is engaged in with a victim under the age of 13, and the accused is a minimum of four years older.
Statutory Rape of a Victim Six Years Younger Than the Offender
It is considered statutory rape as well if the defendant has sex with someone 13 to 15 years old – when they are at least six years older than this minor.
Statutory Rape of a Victim 13-15 by a Defendant More than Four But Fewer Than Six Years Older
If the victim is aged 13-5 and the defendant is more than four but less than six years older, then they can be accused of this crime.
First Degree Forcible Sex
This sex offense is perpetrated when one person engaged in a criminal sexual act with someone under the age of 13:
- By force
- Against the victim’s will while displaying or using a dangerous weapon to aid in the act
- By inflicting serious bodily injury to the victim
- Or they commit the crime with the help of at least one other person
In this offense, sex is considered any of the following: anal intercourse, oral sex, or analingus.
Second Degree Forcible Sex
This is the same offense as first-degree forcible sex, except it’s perpetrated against a victim who is physically helpless, mentally disabled, or mentally incapacitated.
First Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
This is perpetrated when someone coerces, facilitates, encourages, employs, uses, or induces someone to engage in sexual activity for the purpose of creating images or visual representations of the activity. This is done with the intention of sales or monetary gain.
Second Degree Sexual Exploitation of a Minor
When someone receives or distributes material with visual representations of a minor engaged in a sexual act or produces their own material, then they are guilty of this crime.
Penalties in North Carolina
The penalties for sex crimes in North Carolina vary based on the gravity of the offense. The most serious offenses, like first-degree rape or first-degree forcible sex, can earn someone a sentence of up to 393 months in jail.
The least serious crimes – which are still quite weighty, including sexual exploitation of a minor – can earn someone 160 months behind bars.