Child Abuse

What Is Child Abuse?

Child abuse includes assault, endangerment, and sexual contact with a child. In New York, an assault against a child means recklessly or intentionally causing serious physical injury to a child while slamming or throwing a child, driving, or discharging a firearm[1]. Endangerment of a child occurs where either: (1) the parent allows a child to become abused, neglected, a juvenile delinquent, or in need of supervision[2] by failing to exercise reasonable diligence,[3] or (2) any person knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child.[4] Although parents are legally permitted to use physical force (but not deadly force) in New York for disciplining their child, they can be prosecuted for using such force when it is not “reasonably necessary” to maintain discipline or promote the welfare of the child.[5]

Sexual contact with a child means touching a child somewhere on his/her body for sexual purposes. In New York, the age of the child and the age of the accused will determine what degree of sexual abuse or class of crime is charge. In addition to age, the District Attorney will take into account the amount of times that the abuse occurred. For example, two or more acts within a three-month period constitutes Course of Sexual Conduct and is a class B felony.

What are the Consequences?

In New York, child assault (aka: reckless assault of a child) constitutes a class D felony. A defendant can face anywhere between 2 and 7 years in prison. Since the sentence is a "determinate" one, the judge will set an exact term in between this range. The defendant could serve the entire term or just the minimum amount depending on their behavior in prison and other factors.

Child endangerment is a class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in county jail. Other penalties may include: fines, probation, a protective order[6], a stay away order[7], successful completion of a minimum one-year child abuser’s treatment counseling program, and if you were accused of being under the influence of a controlled substance and/or alcohol at the time of the offense, an order to abstain from both for the duration of probation (this provision may include random drug testing as well).

With regards to sexual abuse, any form of sexual contact with a child will constitute a felony. The particular consequences depend upon the age of the victim and accused, number of acts that can be proven, whether the abuse was forceful, and the criminal history of the accused. For example, the District Attorney can charge anywhere between a class E felony (ie: Criminal Sexual Act), punishable by at least one and half years in prison, to a class A-II felony (ie: Predatory Sexual Assault), punishable by life. The probation for all sex offenses is 10 years and includes many conditions including weekly treatment or therapy, limitations on where you can live and work, as well as regular supervision by a probation officer. Additionally, a sex offender may be given a certain designation such as a sexual predator, sexually violent offender orpredicate sex offender. Finally, a sex offender is subject to registration[8] that, based on their risk level, can range between 20 years to lifetime registration.

How We Can Help You

Lavy Law is the best firm to help you win your child abuse case. As a former prosecutor who has handled a multitude of cases involving child abuse, we know how to negotiate the best plea. As a trial attorney, we are not afraid to take your case to trial. As a counselor at law, we will provide you the support you need to fight your case, especially when it feels like you are alone and everyone, including your family, has abandoned you. We encourage you to read our Recent Cases to see that we have won a case just like your own.

If you are you accused of a child abuse offense, Contact Us for a free consultation.


[1]See New York Penal Law §§ 120.02 (Reckless assault of a child); 120.04 (Aggravated vehicular assault); 120.05 (Assault in the second degree).

[2]See Family Court Act §§ 1012(e), 1012(g), 301.2(1), and 712(a).

[3]See New York Penal Law § 260.10(2)

[4]See New York Penal Law § 260.10(1)

[5]See New York Penal Law §35.10 (aka: defense of justification)

[6]A protective order protects the alleged victim from further acts of violence.

[7]A stay away order prevents you from having contact with the child (which may include an order that you stay away from the child's home, even if it was once your own)

[8]Registration means that a sex offender must appear in person and inform each jurisdiction in which the sex offender is required to register of the change of name, residence, employment, or student status.

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