Sex with a Child Under 10 - Penal Code 288.7 PC

In California, Penal Code 288.7 is the statute making it a crime for an adult over the age of 18 to engage in sexual intercourse, penetration, sodomy, or oral copulation with a child under the age of 10.  

PC 288.7 says, “(a) Any person 18 years of age or older who engages in sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child who is ten years of age or younger is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 25 years to life.

(b) Any person 18 years of age or older who engages in oral copulation or sexual penetration, as defined in Section 289, with a child who is ten years of age or younger is guilty of a felony and shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for a term of 15 years to life.”

California law is harsh in punishing sexual acts committed against minors. If convicted, you could face up to life imprisonment and register for life as a sex offender. This law can be violated either by an adult performing a sex act on the child or by causing the child to perform a sex act on them or someone else.

However, to be convicted of violating PC 288.7, the prosecution must prove several factors, such as that you engaged in an act of sexual intercourse, sodomy, oral copulation, or sexual penetration with a child under ten while you were an adult over 18. It does not have to be proven that you had malicious intent; instead, only that you committed the sex act.

PC 288.7 – Explained 

There are several California statutes dealing with various sex acts involving minors. However, Penal Code 288.7 PC specifically covers a severe sex crime where an adult perpetrator has sexual activity with a minor under the age of 10. There are some definitions in the context of this law that you need to understand, such as the following:

  • Sexual intercourse is vaginal penetration by the penis but does not require ejaculation.
  • Sexual penetration is vaginal or genital penetration with a foreign object.
  • Sodomy is anal penetration by the penis.
  • Oral copulation is contact with the genitalia or the anus by mouth. 

Consent cannot be used as a valid defense under this law because a minor under 18 has not reached the age of consent.

PC 288.7 - Police Investigation

Penal Code 288.7 PC sex with a child under ten allegations are serious when there is credible evidence. Once reported, police will contact an alleged perpetrator to inform them there are serious sexual allegations against them. They ask them if they would voluntarily answer some questions

Sex with a Child Under 10 - California Penal Code 288.7 PC
Penal Code 288.7 PC makes it a felony for an adult to engage in sex with a child under 10.

They are not required to read the alleged suspect Miranda rights because they are not in custody or being asked incriminating questions. 

If the suspect does not confess, they often ask them to submit to a polygraph test (lie detector). Notably, however, the result is inadmissible in a court of law unless the prosecution and the defendant agree they should be admitted.

Another technique is called the pretext phone call, where police will have the alleged victim or one parent call the alleged suspect while police are listening.

During the call, they will accuse them of committing the crime and ask them why they did it while the police are listening for incriminating statements, such as an apology. Prosecutors can use any statements a suspect makes during the call to file a criminal case against them. 

What Are Some Related Sex Crimes?

Several California laws are related to Penal Code 288.7 PC sex with a minor under the age of 10, including the following:

  • Penal Code 288 PClewd acts on a minor is when someone commits an indecent act on a child under 14, such as touching them for sexual purposes or causing the child to themselves or another person.
  • Penal Code 288.2 PCsending harmful matter to seduce a minor is when someone sends, distributes, or exhibits harmful or obscene material to someone under 18 to arouse or seduce them sexually.
  • Penal Code 288.3 PCcontact a minor to commit a felony is when someone contacts or attempts to, with the intent to commit a sex crime or other serious felony offense involving a minor.
  • Penal Code 288.4 PCarrange a meeting with a minor law is the statute making it a crime to arrange a meeting with a minor under 18 with intent to engage in sexual activity.
  • Penal Code 288.5 PC – continuous sexual abuse of a child law requires that someone has three or more lewd acts or unlawful sexual touching for three months or more by someone with regular access to a minor under 14.
  • Penal Code 287 PC – oral copulation with a minor is the statute making it a crime for someone to perform oral copulation on a minor under 18.
  • Penal Code 261.5 PCstatutory rape law makes it a crime for somebody to have sexual intercourse with someone under the age of 18, regardless of whether there was consent.
  • Penal Code 647.6 PCchild molestation is when someone annoys or molests a child under 18 or an adult whom you believe to be under 18.

What are the PC 288.7 Penalties?

PC 288.7 is a felony that will typically result in a state prison sentence, but the length will always depend on the act sexual act committed: 

  • Oral copulation or sexual penetration on the child will carry a sentence of 15 years to life in prison.
  • Sexual intercourse or sodomy on the child will carry a sentence of 25 years to life in state prison.

Further, after a PC 288.7 conviction, the judge will impose a certain number of years with the possibility of life in state prison, but you will be required to serve at least the minimum number of years imposed. 

Under the right circumstances, you could be eligible for parole after serving their minimum sentence (15 or 25 years) but would only be released after a favorable California Parole Board Hearing.

Does a Conviction Result in Sex Offender Registration?

If you are convicted of Penal Code 288.7 PC In California, you will have to register as a tier-three sex offender for life once released from prison as defined under Penal Code 290 PC.  

The Sex Offender Registration Act requires you to register with local police upon release, and you must renew your registration every year, and anytime you move to a new address. There are also restrictions on where you can live and work.

What Are the Best Legal Defenses? 

PC 288.7 sex with a child under 10 is a serious felony case, and you will need an experienced California criminal defense lawyer who could use different strategies for the best possible outcome, such as the following: 

  • Contact with the child was not sexual in nature.
  • The allegations are false.

Perhaps we can make an argument that the contact with the child was not sexual in nature. While there may have been some physical contact, it was not sexual. Perhaps the touching of their private parts was accidental while playing.

Perhaps we could argue the allegations are false. Maybe the child is lying or mistaken because you are unknown to them. Perhaps the child is too young and unaware of the severe nature of their false accusations. Maybe they were upset over being disciplined.

Maybe an adult coached the child to lie out of revenge or jealousy. Perhaps it would be reasonable to argue that you are being wrongfully accused under the circumstances and evidence.

In cases where guilt is not in doubt, perhaps we can negotiate with the prosecutor for reduced charges. Maybe we could negotiate for case dismissal or avoid the formal filing of criminal charges, called a “DA reject.” Contact our law firm for a free case evaluation. The Hedding Law Firm is based in Los Angeles, CA. 

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