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New York Penal Code § 130.65 – Sexual Abuse First Degree

By Spodek Law Group | July 17, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 13, 2023)

Last Updated on: 13th October 2023, 08:22 pm

New York Penal Code § 130.65 – Sexual Abuse First Degree

Hey there! Sexual abuse is a pretty serious issue that can really impact peoples’ lives. I wanted to break down New York’s law on sexual abuse in the first degree so we can all understand what it covers.

What is Sexual Abuse First Degree?

Under New York Penal Code § 130.65, a person is guilty of sexual abuse in the first degree when they subject another person to sexual contact without their consent. There’s a few ways this can happen:

  • By using force against the other person (forcible compulsion)
  • When the other person is physically helpless
  • When the other person is under 11 years old
  • When the other person is under 13 and the abuser is 21 or older

Some key things here:

  • Sexual abuse first degree is a Class D felony, which is pretty serious
  • It doesn’t require sexual intercourse, just sexual contact
  • Sexual contact means touching intimate parts of the body for sexual gratification
  • Children under 11 can’t legally consent

Real World Examples

To make it more clear, here are some examples from real cases:

  • A 21 year old man kissed and inappropriately touched his 8 year old niece’s genitals while babysitting her.
  • A man rubbed a 10 year old girl’s buttocks with baby oil in a sexual manner.
  • A woman touched her 6 year old nephew’s penis in a sexual way.

In all these cases, the adults could be charged with sexual abuse first degree since they had sexual contact with a child under 11. Even though there was no penetration, the sexualized touching of intimate areas is enough.


The main defense to sexual abuse first degree is to show the contact was consensual. But like I said, children under 11 can’t legally consent, so this wouldn’t apply in those cases.For adult victims, if you can show the contact was agreed to and not forced, that would be a defense. It’s important to remember that consent under threat of force or while physically helpless does not count as legal consent.


If convicted of sexual abuse first degree, here are the possible penalties:

  • Up to 7 years in prison, since it’s a Class D felony
  • At least 10 years probation if not jailed, and you’ll have to register as a sex offender

The judge can decide the exact sentence based on the facts of the case. First time offenders sometimes get more lenient sentences.

Why This Matters

The reason sexual abuse first degree is taken so seriously is because of the harm it can cause victims. Sexual contact without consent can be traumatic and have long term impacts. Children who experience sexual abuse often deal with effects throughout their lives.That’s why it’s considered such a serious crime under the law. The penalties are meant to deter people from committing nonconsensual sexual abuse.


The main points about New York Penal Code § 130.65 are:

  • It covers sexual contact without consent
  • Force, helpless victims, and children under 11 are considered unable to consent
  • It’s a felony with up to 7 years in prison
  • Consent is the main defense

Let me know if you have any other questions! I know this stuff can be confusing but it’s important we all understand the laws around sexual abuse. The more we know, the better we can work to prevent it.

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