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Information on crimes that are commonly charged in Michigan. If you need legal assistance, please contact a lawyer.

 

Criminal Sexual Conduct (4th Degree)

Statute: MCL 750.520e
Crime Group: Person
Sentence Class: G
Minimum Sentence: 0 Months
Maximum Sentence1: 2 Years
Maximum Fine: $500.00
Jury Instructions: MCJI2d. 20.1, 20.2, 20.12, 20.13
Sex Offender Registration Required: Varies

Statutory Language:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree if he or she engages in sexual contact with another person and if any of the following circumstances exist:

  a. That alleged victim is at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age, and the actor is 5 or more years older than that alleged victim.

  b. Force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:
      i. When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.
      ii. When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute that threat.
      iii. When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any alleged victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute that threat. As used in this subparagraph, “to retaliate” includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion.
      iv. When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes which are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.
      v. When the actor achieves the sexual contact through concealment or by the element of surprise.

  c. The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

  d. That alleged victim is related to the actor by blood or affinity to the third degree and the sexual contact occurs under circumstances not otherwise prohibited by this chapter. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subdivision that the alleged victim was in a position of authority over the defendant and used this authority to coerce the defendant to violate this subdivision. The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This subdivision does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

  e. The actor is a mental health professional and the sexual contact occurs during or within 2 years after the period in which the victim is his or her client or patient and not his or her spouse. The consent of the victim is not a defense to a prosecution under this subdivision. A prosecution under this subsection shall not be used as evidence that the victim is mentally incompetent.

  f. That alleged victim is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school, and either of the following applies:
      i. The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district. This subparagraph does not apply if the alleged victim is emancipated or if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.
      ii. The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that alleged victim is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that alleged victim.

  g. That alleged victim is at least 16 years old but less than 26 years of age and is receiving special education services, and either of the following applies:
      i. The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee, or contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district from which that alleged victim receives the special education services. This subparagraph does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.
      ii. The actor is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that alleged victim.

  h. The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home, in which that alleged victim is a resident, that alleged victim is at least 16 years of age, and the sexual contact occurs during that alleged victim's residency. As used in this subdivision, “child care organization”, “foster family home”, and “foster family group home” mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111.

[…]

 

Criminal Sexual Conduct Topics

Discussion:

CSC 4th degree is the least serious of the criminal sexual conduct charges, and covers behavior that can be best described as inappropriate fondling, groping, or touching. Importantly, there must be a sexual purpose to the touching; touching for purposes of bathing, for instance, does not qualify as “criminal sexual conduct”. This particular charge, like all of the others, has certain elements that must be met. First, there has to be proof of a sexual contact, as well as at least one of the following circumstances:

  1. The person who was touched is between 13 and 16 years old and the defendant is more than five years older than that person;
     
  2. Force or coercion was used to accomplish the sexual contact (see statute for examples of force or coercion);
     
  3. The defendant knew or had reason to know the person being touched was mentally or physically helpless;
     
  4. The defendant is related to the alleged victim by blood or marriage by the 3rd degree;
     
  5. The defendant is a mental health professional and the contact occurs during or within two years after the alleged victim is a client or patient;
     
  6. The alleged victim is between 16 and 18 years old and a student where the defendant is a teacher, administrator, employee, or contractual service provider of the school;
     
  7. The alleged victim is between 16 and 26 years old and receiving a special education service and the defendant is in a position of authority over the alleged victim;
     
  8. The defendant is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home, in which the alleged victim is a resident, that the alleged victim is at least 16 years of age, and the sexual contact occurs during that alleged victim’s residency.

CSC 4th degree is considered a “high court misdemeanor” that is punishable by up to 2 years of incarceration or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both. The term “high court misdemeanor” is something of a misleading term, because while a “high court misdemeanor” is considered a “misdemeanor” for some purposes (federal gun laws, job applications, and so on), it is still considered a “felony” for most purposes. A defendant convicted of CSC 4th degree may also be required to register as a sex offender under SORA, with the specific registration tier dependent on the facts of the case. (See “Sex Offender Registration Act”.)

 

1Maximum sentence shown is for a first-time felony offender. Prior felonies make a defendant liable for “Habitual Offender” (“HO”) sentencing enhancement. This type of sentencing enhancement greatly increases the maximum amount of time a defendant convicted of this crime can spend in prison.

 

 

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