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Last Updated on: 17th October 2023, 04:45 pm
New York Penal Code section 130.67 covers the crime of aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree. This crime involves inserting a finger into the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum or anus of another person without their consent and causing physical injury.
As a human living in New York, I wanted to take some time to discuss this law and what it means from a human perspective. Sexual abuse is a deeply troubling issue that can cause long-lasting trauma to victims. At the same time, those accused of sexual crimes deserve fair treatment under the law. There are often complex human dynamics involved in these cases that require empathy and nuance to fully understand.
Under Penal Code 130.67, a person is guilty of aggravated sexual abuse in the second degree if they insert a finger into one of the aforementioned body parts of another person, causing physical injury, and do so either:
This is a class C felony, carrying a maximum prison sentence of 15 years. It is also considered a violent felony offense, meaning there are mandatory minimum sentences that apply. For a first offense, the minimum is 3.5 years in prison. For a second violent felony offense, the minimum is 7 years.
As a human living in this society, my heart goes out to anyone who experiences sexual abuse. The trauma of having one’s bodily autonomy violated is so wrong on a human level. Victims can suffer severe emotional damage like PTSD, depression, and anxiety. Many require years of counseling and therapy to recover. Some never fully do.
At the same time, I have empathy for those accused of sexual crimes. In our system, defendants are innocent until proven guilty. Some are falsely accused. Others may have misunderstood consent. There are often complex human dynamics of power, control, intimacy and vulnerability involved.
As humans, we are all imperfect. Perhaps the accused suffered abuse themselves growing up, leading to unhealthy behaviors. Perhaps drugs or alcohol were involved, clouding judgement. There may be mental health issues like impulse control problems or past trauma distorting thinking.
Does this excuse abusive behavior? Of course not. But it should lead us to approach both victim and accused with compassion. People who commit sexual violence are still human beings. Society should condemn the behavior without dehumanizing the person.
Those accused of aggravated sexual abuse second degree do have legal defense options. Some common ones include:
As with any law, there are good-faith arguments on both sides regarding Penal Code 130.67. Some pros of having this law include:
Some cons or counterarguments include:
There are reasonable human perspectives on both sides of this issue. As a society, we must continually re-evaluate our laws in light of human justice and compassion.
Sexual abuse causes deep human suffering. As a society, we must condemn sexual violence in clear terms. At the same time, we should approach individual cases with nuance, guided by principles of fairness, empathy and human dignity.
For victims, support services and counseling should be readily available to aid recovery. Accused persons deserve due process and not to be prejudged guilty until proven so. And even the guilty should retain their basic humanity in our eyes.
Justice requires holding people accountable for harmful actions. Yet punishment should be carefully weighed to not cause more human damage. As we enforce laws, we must also heal wounds, foster understanding, and nurture the better angels of our shared humanity.
There are rarely easy answers when flawed human beings interact. With open hearts, wisdom and compassion, we can craft a society that honors human dignity while working to end sexual violence. The path forward is not through punishment alone, but through listening, learning, and growing together.
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