Houston Criminal Defense Blog

Indecency with a Child: Exposure vs. Contact

Indecency with a child” is a sex crime listed in the Texas Penal Code, but there are actually two distinct types. One is indecency with a child by way of exposure and the other is indecency with a child by way of contact. According to § 21.11 of the penal code, indecency with a child happens if an individual engages in sexual contact or exposes themselves with sexual intent to a child under the age of 17.

First, let us look at indecency with a child by exposure. According to the statute, indecent exposure to a child happens when an individual:

with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person: (A) exposes the person’s anus or any part of the person’s genitals, knowing the child is present; or (B) causes the child to expose the child’s anus or any part of the child’s genitals.

Indecency with a child by way of contact can also be referred to as child molestation. According to this subsection of § 21.11, a person can be convicted if he or she “engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact.”

Defenses Against Indecency with a Child Charges

In order to build a valid defense against indecency with a child charges, the following three qualifications must be met:

  1. The defendant was not more than three years older than the victim at the time the exposure and/or contact took place.
  2. The defendant did not use force, violence or pressure to carry out the act.
  3. The defendant was not a registered sex offender (for life) at the time the offense took place.

The defense could also argue that the defendant did not commit the act at all, which would only be feasible if no DNA sample was taking from the victim near the time the alleged offense happened.

If the alleged offense involves exposure rather than contact, the defense could argue that there was no intent. In order to be convicted of indecency with a child by way of exposure, evidence must indicate that the defendant intended to expose him or herself for the sole purpose of sexual gratification.

What are the penalties for indecency with a child?

According to § 21.11 of the Texas Penal Code, indecency with a child by way of contact is asecond degree felony while exposure is a third degree felony. The penalties for this type of sex offense typically include a lengthy prison sentence and lifetime sex offender registration. If you or someone you know has been accused of indecency with a child, act now and retain a Houston sex crime attorney at Billy Skinner & Associates for your criminal defense.