Not everyone is Harvey Weinstein: Sex crimes in New York

Not everyone is Harvey Weinstein: Sex crimes in New York

Newspaper headlines everywhere are broadcasting the accusations of sexual misconduct currently being leveled at Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and many other public figures. Gwyneth Paltrow, Ashley Judd, and Angelina Jolie are among the actresses who have gone public with allegations of assault, harassment, and rape. A New York Times expose suggested that Weinstein has made eight financial settlements with women, including a $100,000 payment to Rose McGowan in 1997.

The barrage of negative publicity surrounding the Hollywood titan confirms that sex crimes carry a powerful stigma. In addition to high fines and prison time, a conviction for assault, rape, or any other sex crime often requires the defendant to register as a sex offender with the Division of Criminal Justice Services. Your personal life, career, and reputation can be destroyed and even your future job opportunities can be compromised forever.

With such a far-reaching and likely permanent set of consequences, it is imperative that you are prepared to fight such allegations the moment you become aware of them. Depending on the age and status of the alleged victim as well as the seriousness of the act, sex crimes range in scope from misdemeanors to felonies,  punishable by decades in prison. Examples include:

  • Sexual misconduct: This charge applies when someone engages in sexual intercourse or oral sexual conduct with another without such person’s consent.
  • Forcible touching: You can be found guilty of this Class A misdemeanor if you touch, grope, pinch, or otherwise make unwanted physical sexual contact with another person. Penalties can include up to a year in jail.
  • Rape: There are three degrees of the rape crime in New York’s penal law. All of them are felonies, and a conviction can mean a prison term of up to 25 years.
  • Criminal sexual act: Like rape, there are three degrees of the criminal sexual act charge. They increase in severity according to the age and/or mental capacity of the victim, and a conviction for criminal sexual act in the first degree can send you to prison for 25 years.
  • Course of sexual conduct against a child: Under the NYPL, you are guilty of course of sexual conduct against a child if you engage in sexual actions with a person who is less than 11 years old or, if you are an adult, with a child less than 13. The first degree version is a Class B felony that calls for up to a 25-year prison sentence.

If you are charged with these or any other sex crimes in New York, then hire a criminal defense attorney with experience in defending clients against such a volatile accusation. Your attorney will review the charges against you and advise you on a course of defense that can bring about the best result for your situation. Julie Rendelman is an experienced criminal defense lawyer with over 20 years of experience. As a former prosecutor, she understands the criminal justice system in New York inside and out. Call 212-951-1232 for a free consultation. Visit to learn more.