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What Is The Difference Between Sexual Assault And Sexual Misconduct?

On behalf of Soloff & Zervanos, P.C.

Over the last few years, there has been much attention focused on instances of sexual harassment, assault, and misconduct. However, it is important to understand how we use these terms matters. At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., our Philadelphia sexual abuse attorneys want to discuss the difference between sexual assault and sexual misconduct.

What does sexual misconduct mean?

Sexual misconduct is a term that you commonly hear used in media reports to describe various allegations. You have likely heard this term come up in light of the #MeToo movement that has put a spotlight on various wrongful sexual activities conducted by the rich and famous.

However, sexual misconduct is not a legal term used in most state laws, so this does not reference a specific criminal action or even a civil violation, such as sexual harassment. The term sexual misconduct is fairly broad and can cover activities ranging from a supervisor asking a subordinate out on a date to blatant acts of sexual harassment or groping.

Cases of sexual misconduct may indeed the illegal, depending on what the conduct is and whether or not state laws apply. In many instances, the line between what constitutes illegal actions from behaviors that are simply questionable is thin and arbitrary.

What does sexual assault mean?

Sexual assault, on the other hand, is always going to be illegal under state laws. In Pennsylvania, there are various laws that define what sexual assault is, and perpetrators can face serious charges and penalties. Sexual assault is usually associated with rape, but this is actually an umbrella term that can describe a number of forcible or threatening actions committed against another person. In Pennsylvania, the following laws (as well as others) all cover forms of sexual assault:

  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3121 Rape
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3122.1 Statutory sexual assault
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3123 Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3124.1 Sexual assault
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3125 Aggravated indecent assault
  • 18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3126 Indecent assault

Let us help you with your case

If you or somebody you care about has been the victim of sexual assault or sexual misconduct, contact an attorney immediately. We understand that these cases can become incredibly complex and that state laws can be confusing. It is important to understand that perpetrators of sexual misconduct could be held liable even if there are no criminal charges filed.

At Soloff & Zervanos, P.C., we have extensive experience helping clients secure compensation for what has happened to them. We pledge to thoroughly investigate what happened in order to secure any compensation victims are entitled to. This could include:

  • Pain and suffering damages
  • Compensation for any needed counseling
  • Punitive damages against the perpetrator of the abuse
  • Punitive damages against any person or institution that covered up the abuse

When you need a Philadelphia sexual abuse attorney, you can contact us for a free consultation by clicking here or calling us at 866-597-8572.