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Sexual Assault/Harassment Definitions

Sexual Harassment
A broad-based term used to describe the gender-based abuse or mistreatment of an individual. It includes, but is not limited to, sexual assault, demeaning sexual behaviors, undesired personal or sexual attention, and obscene written or oral communications.

Sexual Assault
A broad term used to describe sex offenses and inappropriate behaviors that include, but are not limited to: sexual harassment, public lewdness, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct, rape and sodomy.

Sexual Intercourse
Carries the traditional meaning and occurs upon any penetration, however slight.

Forcible Compulsion
To compel by either the use of physical force or threat expressed or implied, which places a person in fear that he, she, or another person will immediately be kidnapped.

Physically Helpless
When a person is unconscious, or for any other reason is physically unable to communicate unwillingness to act.

Incapable of Consent
A person is deemed incapable of consent when: 1) less than 17 years of age, 2) mentally defective, 3) mentally incapacitated, 4) physically helpless.

Sexual Abuse
Touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of another person by forcible compulsion or without the latter’s consent or with someone who is incapable of consent use.

Aggravated Sexual Abuse
Inserting the finger or other object into the vagina, urethra, penis or rectum of another without consent, causing physical harm.

Sexual Misconduct
Sexual intercourse with another person without the latter's consent or with someone incapable of consent.

Sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion or without consent, or with someone incapable of consent.

Sexual conduct between persons not married to each other, that consists of contact between persons not married to each other, that consists of contact between the penis and the anus, the mouth and the penis, or the mouth and the vulva. Forcible compulsion increases the severity of the act.

Sexual Offenses in New York State
Rape and aggravated sexual abuse are felonies carrying sentences from 1 to 25 years. Sexual misconduct is a misdemeanor carrying a sentence of 15 days to 1 year. Sexual abuse and sodomy may be charged as misdemeanors or felonies, depending on consent, force, or age of victim. Sentences may range from 15 days to 25 years. All sentencing is dependent upon a variety of factors, including the sex, age, or mental condition of the victim; the victim's ability to consent; the amount of force used; whether any injuries were inflicted, if any; and the age and sex of the offender.