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Sexual Exploitation Charge

The crime described as sexual exploitation under Canada’s Criminal Code is a serious offence punishable by imprisonment and other penalties. If you are accused of directly or indirectly engaging in sexually exploitative actions, contact our experienced criminal defence lawyer to protect your rights.

In our experience with these cases, we have learned that sometimes, innocent individuals can be falsely accused of sexual assault and other crimes of sexual nature. We understand that the criminal justice system considers all accused people innocent until proven guilty, and we will aggressively defend all sexual exploitation charges against you.

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What’s Sexual Exploitation?

Section 153(1) of Canada’s Criminal Code makes it a criminal offence for an individual in a position of trust towards a young person to touch or even invite them to touch any part of the young person’s body for a sexual purpose. Thus, the law criminalizes any sexual relationship between a person in a position of trust or authority and an individual considered a young person.

Therefore, every person commits an offence if they are in a position of trust or authority towards a young person and, for sexual purposes, invites, counsels or incites the young person to touch any part of their body or the body of the offender. Note that the young person must be in a relationship of dependency with the accused person. Even if no sexual intercourse happens, the perpetrator can still be charged with the sexual offence of exploitation.

Section 153(1) protects any vulnerable young person from abuse and sexual exploitation. It applies to any individual in a position of trust, like teachers, counsellors, coaches, and other people with a professional relationship with young people. Also, it applies in cases where a young person is dependent on the alleged offender – for instance, being in a caregiving relationship or living in the same household.

Note that the law prohibits any direct or indirect form of sexual touching of a young person. Also, it prohibits people in a position of trust or authority towards a young person from inciting, counselling or inviting them to touch themselves or anyone else for a sexual purpose.

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Strategic Considerations in Sexual Exploitation Charges

When facing a sexual exploitation charge or being accused of other sexual offences like child pornography, navigating the criminal justice system requires careful consideration of various strategic factors. With our team of experienced lawyers at your side, you can trust in our ability to analyze the unique circumstances of your case and create a comprehensive defence strategy.

Our lawyers have many years of experience in handling sexual exploitation cases and understand the different elements involved in these cases. They will assess the details of the alleged offence and scrutinize the evidence presented. Indeed, we will leverage our skills to mount a strong defence tailored to your specific circumstances. We will assess the following strategic factors:

The Definition of a “Young Person”

According to the Criminal Code, being a young person means any individual over 16 years but under the age of 18 years. Based on the unique circumstances of your case, we will determine whether specific exceptions to the age of consent can apply in your case and create a stronger defence based on facts rather than assumptions.

Timing of the Investigation

At Costa Law, we understand the importance of the timing of an investigation into alleged offences involving sexual activity. Thus, our lawyers act swiftly to gather credible evidence and interview all possible witnesses whose statements could strengthen your defence.

Additionally, we know that law enforcement officers must gather facts about the same case and all relevant pieces of evidence. However, they must do so while ensuring their actions don’t infringe upon your legal rights.

Definition of “Touching”

Suppose the accused person intends to have any sexual interaction with a young person and makes contact with any part of the young person’s body. In that case, the accused has touched the young person for a sexual purpose. Even when the accused didn’t apply force to the complainant, it’s still considered sexual touching. However, it must be intentional and not accidental.

Definition of “Sexual Purpose”

You can only be charged with sexual exploitation if you touched a young person for a sexual purpose. That means the ‘touching’ must have been done for your sexual gratification or to violate the alleged victim’s sexual integrity. This also includes any action intended to demean or degrade the young person sexually.

Age Difference and Consent in Sexual Exploitation Cases

In Ontario, the age of consent for any sexual activity is 16 years. Thus, individuals must be at least 16 years old to legally consent to any form of sexual activity, as outlined in the Criminal Code. Sexual activity without consent is considered a criminal offence, regardless of age difference, and can result in severe penalties, including mandatory minimum sentences.

It’s crucial to understand that consent is paramount in all sexual interactions. Even if someone is above the age of consent, if they do not provide explicit consent to engage in sexual activity, any sexual advances or actions toward them can be deemed as sexual exploitation under the law. Remember, this is considered an indictable offence under the Criminal Code of Canada.

In Ontario, sexual exploitation laws dictate that individuals aged 16 or 17 cannot legally consent to sexual activity if their partner holds a position of trust or authority over them. An example of someone in a position of authority is a teacher or coach. Further, if the relationship between the young person and their partner is deemed exploitative, consent is invalidated.

To determine if the young person is in an exploitative relationship with the alleged offender, the court must assess various factors. These include the ages of both individuals, the age difference between them, how the relationship developed (e.g., quickly, secretly, or online), and whether the partner exerted control or influence over the young person.

Exceptions to the Age of Consent

There are exceptions to the age of consent laws in Ontario, particularly concerning close-in-age relationships. For instance, a 14 or 15-year-old can consent to sexual activity if their partner is less than five years older than them, provided there is no exploitation or abuse of power involved. That means the perpetrator isn’t in a position of trust toward the young person.

However, any sexual activity with a partner five or more years older than the 14 or 15-year-old is considered a criminal offence. Similarly, there is a “close in age” exception for 12 and 13-year-olds. In these cases, a 12 or 13-year-old can consent to sexual activity with a partner who is less than two years older than them as long as there is no exploitation or abuse of trust. Any sexual activity with a partner two or more years older than the 12 or 13-year-old constitutes a criminal offence.

In all matters concerning sexual exploitation cases in Ontario, it’s essential to seek professional help from our lawyers. We have a deep understanding of Canada’s Criminal Code. Indeed, our experienced lawyers have a wealth of knowledge of criminal law and can create an effective defence strategy tailored to each unique case.

Whether you are facing charges related to sexual offences or require legal advice regarding consent laws, our team is dedicated to advocating for your rights and ensuring fair treatment under the law. We are here to counsel and defend you. Also, we will ensure your rights are protected throughout the legal process.

Penalties for Sexual Exploitation Offences

People convicted of charges related to sexual offences are placed on the sexual offender registry for at least ten years. If the Crown office prosecutes the charge as an indictable offence, the minimum possible period on the sex offender registry is 20 years. Depending on the severity of the crime and other factors, a sexual exploitation convict may be placed in the registry for life.

The Crown’s decision to prosecute as a summary conviction or an indictable offence will determine the mandatory minimum punishment and the possible maximum punishment for the offence. If the prosecutor chooses to proceed with a summary conviction, the mandatory minimum punishment for exploitative sexual behaviour is 90 days in jail. The maximum sentence is two years in jail.

When the prosecutor chooses to proceed by indictment, the possible minimum punishment is a year in jail and up to 14 years imprisonment. Considering sexual offence allegations often cover a broad range of behaviour, each case must be considered individually to accurately determine the appropriate outcome.

Thus, the jury or judge deciding on the sentence for sexual exploitation must consider all relevant factors. These include the offender’s criminal record, the circumstances of the case, and more.

Our lawyers will strategically assess these strategic factors and other elements such as consent, age differentials, and the nature of the relationship between the parties involved. This way, we can create a compelling defence aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. With our dedicated legal representation, you can rest assured that your rights will be vigorously protected throughout every stage of the legal process.

Other Consequences of Sexual Exploitation Conviction

Beyond any sentence, a conviction for sexual exploitation carries a multitude of indirect consequences that can significantly impact various aspects of an individual’s life. These consequences extend beyond the confines of the courtroom and can have profound and lasting effects on employment possibilities, personal relationships, and overall quality of life. These include:

Criminal Record

A conviction for sexual offences such as exploitation can lead to severe penalties, including a maximum sentence of 14 years imprisonment. However, the repercussions extend far beyond incarceration. Perhaps most significantly, the criminal record resulting from such a conviction can cast a long shadow over the perpetrator’s life.

Having a criminal record tarnished with a sexual exploitation conviction can negatively affect employment opportunities, potentially leading to job loss or difficulty securing future employment. This can have ripple effects on your financial situation and overall well-being. Further, individuals who are not Canadian citizens may face additional challenges, including deportation or challenges in obtaining citizenship, due to their criminal record.

Registering as a Sex Offender

In addition to the social and economic repercussions, a conviction for sexual exploitation mandates registration as a sex offender. This entails a mandatory minimum 10-year sex offender registry order for just one offence. The implications of being listed on a sex offender registry are profound and far-reaching, extending well beyond the duration of the registration period.

Being listed on a sex offender registry can carry significant social stigma. This can lead to isolation and discrimination within communities. It can severely limit opportunities for rehabilitation and reintegration into society, hindering efforts to rebuild one’s life post-conviction.

The consequences of being registered as a sex offender also extend to practical aspects of life, such as housing and residency restrictions, employment limitations, and mandatory reporting requirements. These restrictions can profoundly impact an individual’s ability to lead a fulfilling and productive life. This worsens the challenges associated with reintegration into society.

Additional Penalties

In addition to incarceration or probation, an individual convicted of sexual exploitation can expect to face further penalties as a result of a conviction. These may include:

  • DNA Sample Order: A requirement to provide a DNA sample to the national DNA databank, which will be permanently stored and used for investigative purposes.
  • Weapons Prohibition: A prohibition against owning or possessing any weapons, which may extend to firearms, knives, or other dangerous implements.
  • Restriction on Locations: A prohibition against entering certain areas where individuals under 18 years of age may congregate, such as schoolyards, public parks, or recreational facilities.

These additional penalties can significantly impact your freedom of movement, lifestyle, and future opportunities, imposing ongoing restrictions and limitations long after the completion of any imposed sentence.

We Can Help

Even if you are considering accepting responsibility for the offence and entering a guilty plea, it is essential to explore all possible defence options and consider the potential consequences. With our skilled legal representation, it may be possible to mitigate the impact of a conviction and pursue alternative sentencing options.

Our experienced lawyers at Costa Law understand the complexities of sexual exploitation cases and are dedicated to providing vigorous defence strategies tailored to your unique circumstances. We will advocate on your behalf to explore all possible avenues for minimizing the consequences of a conviction.

Rest assured; our legal team will work tirelessly to defend your rights and ensure that you are not unfairly burdened with the long-term consequences of a criminal conviction for sexual exploitation. We will collaborate with the Crown to negotiate favourable sentencing options that either result in no criminal record or impose minimal restrictions on your liberty after sentencing.

The Role of Our Criminal Defence Lawyers

In the face of allegations of sexual exploitation, our lawyers often play a key role in protecting our client’s rights and getting the best possible outcome. Indeed, we have an unwavering dedication, extensive experience, and steadfast commitment to helping our clients navigate the complexities of the legal system. Here’s how we can help you.

Provide Legal Counsel

Being arrested or charged with a criminal offence, especially one as serious as sexual exploitation, can be distressing and overwhelming. At Costa Law, we understand the concerns our clients may face. These concerns may range from fears about their freedom and reputation to implications for their career and immigration status.

Our experienced criminal defence lawyers in Toronto are here to respond to those concerns and provide comprehensive legal counsel. We prioritize addressing our clients’ questions and anxieties. This way, we establish trust that facilitates an accurate assessment of the incident that’s being considered sexual exploitation. This is the foundation of a clear strategy to mount a successful defence tailored to their circumstances.

Legal Representation and Advocacy

At Costa Law, we are dedicated advocates for our client’s rights and interests throughout every stage of the legal process. From pre-trial negotiations to courtroom litigation, our lawyers provide skilled legal representation aimed at achieving the best possible outcome for our clients. We leverage our extensive courtroom experience, legal acumen, and strategic expertise to vigorously defend against charges of sexual exploitation.

Our commitment to securing justice for our clients is unwavering, and we stand by them with dedication and professionalism every step of the way.

Investigate Your Case Thoroughly

A thorough investigation is at the core of our approach to defending clients accused of sexual exploitation. Our legal team leaves no stone unturned as we gather all relevant evidence from multiple sources to get a comprehensive understanding of the case. We will use all legal means to acquire information or pieces of credible evidence to strengthen our defence.

We carefully analyze details surrounding the alleged incident, scrutinize the nature of the relationship between the accused and the young person involved, and assess the validity of the accusations. By conducting a thorough investigation, we aim to uncover crucial details that may strengthen our defence strategy and refute the allegations or charges against our clients.

Prepare You for Trial

Preparing for trial is a critical aspect of mounting a strong defence in sexual exploitation cases. At Costa Law, we leave no aspect overlooked when preparing for trial. We anticipate the arguments that the prosecution may present and ensure that all available witnesses are thoroughly prepared to testify on your behalf.

Our goal is to present a compelling defence that challenges the prosecution’s case and casts doubt on their evidence. Through thorough preparation and strategic planning, we aim to secure the best possible outcome for you at trial. Remember, it’s in your best interests to contact us as soon as you are aware of the allegations or charges against you. This will give us enough time to investigate your case, assess the available evidence, and create an effective defence strategy.

Help You Navigate the Legal System

In cases involving the exploitation of young persons, navigating the criminal justice system can be daunting and complex. You are not automatically guilty simply because someone accused you of sexual exploitation, and you have been arrested. According to Canada’s Criminal Code, you are presumed innocent until proven guilty.

Our experienced lawyers at Costa Law will guide you through every step of the legal process, ensuring that you understand your rights and options. We know that the prosecution bears the burden of proving each element of the sexual exploitation offence beyond a reasonable doubt. With our skillfulness and support, we will diligently challenge the prosecution’s case and work tirelessly to protect your rights and achieve a favourable outcome.

Get the Best Possible Outcome

With a track record of success in handling complex, high-stakes cases across Ontario, Costa Law is dedicated to achieving the best possible results for our clients. We understand the profound impact that these cases can have on your reputation, freedom, and professional life. Our team is not afraid to take on tough cases and is prepared to go to trial to prove your innocence.

In fact, our proficiency lies in trial litigation, where our experience and determination truly shine. We have found that our willingness to take cases to trial often facilitates their resolution. Rest assured, we will tirelessly advocate for your rights and work relentlessly to secure the most favourable outcome possible for your case.

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