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C.G.S. 53a-73a- Sexual Assault in the Fourth Degree

Sexual Abuse General Statutes § 53a-73a is the statute that defines the offense of sexual assault in the fourth degree. This statute makes it illegal to have sexual contact with another person without their consent. Some victims are deemed by law to be unable to provide consent to sexual contact in certain situations. Sexual assault in the fourth degree is a crime that must be taken very seriously because a conviction can result in sex offender registration and very restrictive and invasive sex offender registration. C.G.S. § 53a-73a can be charged either as a misdemeanor or if the victim is under the age of sixteen years of age as a Class D felony.

Sexual Assault in the Fourth Degree Generally

C.G.S. § 53a-73a makes it illegal for a person to have contact with the intimate parts of another person not married to the actor against their will for the purpose of sexual gratification or humiliating or degrading the victim.

C.G.S. § 53a-73a also makes it illegal for the actor to contact their intimate parts with another person not married to the actor against the will of the victim for the purposes of sexual gratification or degrading or humiliating the victim.

Sexual assault in the fourth degree is commonly known as a sexual battery. In essence, this offense involves situations where the actor has unwanted contact with the intimate areas of the victim. The contact can be very slight. In some cases, we have seen people arrested for this offense for rubbing up against victims who did not even realize that they were sexually groped.

Intimate parts are defined to include the genital area, groin, anus, inner thighs, buttocks, or breasts of the victim or actor.

In many cases, we have seen actors charged with sexual assault in the fourth degree for slapping or, in some cases kissing the buttocks of the victim. It is important to aggressively defend these types of allegations because this crime requires that the state prove the accused acted with the purpose of sexual gratification or to humiliate or degrade the victim.

Situations Where Victim is Deemed by Statute to be Unable to Consent

C.G.S. § 53a-73a also covers several types of relationships where the legislature has determined that as a matter of law, the victim is legally unable to consent to sexual contact with the actor. The statute covers situations where the victim's age or the special relationship between the actor and the victim impair the ability of the victim to form independent consent. In these circumstances, the victim is deemed by statute to be unable to consent to sexual contact with the accused.

In these special circumstances, even if the victim voluntarily and willingly participated in the sexual contact, the statute deems that the victim is unable to consent as a matter of law. In this way, this offense shares common elements with a statutory rape; only sexual assault in the fourth degree does not involve sexual intercourse, merely contact with intimate parts.

Some of these include:

  • Victims under thirteen years of age (actor more than two years older)
  • Victim thirteen or fourteen years old (actor more than three years older)
  • Victim mentally incapacitated or impaired to the extent that they are unable to consent to sexual contact
  • Victim physically helpless
  • Victim less than eighteen and the actor is the victim's legal guardian or otherwise responsible for the general supervision of such victim's welfare
  • Victim confined in jail or detained in a hospital or institution and the actor has supervisory or disciplinary authority over the victim
  • Victim is a patent of a psychotherapist who is the actor, and the contact occurs during a session or by therapeutic deception
  • Victim is a former patient of a psychotherapist who the victim is emotionally dependent upon
  • Actor makes a false representation that the contact is for a bona fide medical purpose by a medical professional
  • School employee subjects a student to sexual conduct
  • A coach or instructor subjects someone they are training to sexual contact

A man is at the beach, and he sees a woman wearing a bikini walking by. The man slaps the woman on the butt and makes a comment to the woman "nice ass." The man could be convicted for sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of C.G.S. § 53a-73a because he contacted the buttocks of the woman without her consent in a manner for his sexual gratification or to degrade the woman or both.

A man is in the supermarket, and he sees a woman shopping. Without her feeling anything, the man leans over and kisses the woman's buttocks. Another shopper alerts the woman. The woman contacts store security, who then reviews the closed-circuit video and sees the man kissing the woman's buttocks. The man could be arrested for sexual assault in violation of Connecticut General Statutes § 53a-73a because the man contacted the intimate parts of the woman for his sexual gratification without the woman's consent. The fact that the woman was unaware of the contact at the time would not be a defense.

A woman is at a party when alcohol is being served. She passes out. While she is passed out, a man comes up to her and rubs his exposed penis against her face. The man could be arrested for sexual assault in the fourth degree in violation of General Statutes § 53a-73a because the man's intimate parts contacted the victim. At the same time, she was physically helpless and unable to consent.

Related Offenses

Defenses to Connecticut General Statutes C.G.S. § 53-73a - Sexual Assault in the Fourth Degree

Sexual battery is a case that usually lacks any physical evidence of any kind. In most cases, there is no video evidence or eyewitness. This means that usually, it is a he said/she said scenario. As such, this is an area of the law that is frequently the subject of false accusations. In many situations, victims have been later prosecuted for making false accusations of sexual assault that were later proven to be false.

You could not be prosecuted for sexual assault for slapping someone in the ass if you lacked a desire for sexual gratification. There could be dozens of reasons for hitting someone in the ass, and many of them have nothing to do with anything related to sexual satisfaction or humiliation of a victim.

If you are a first-time offender, you could be eligible for the accelerated rehabilitation program , which would result in a dismissal of the charges against you without having to plead guilty or accept responsibility. Using a diversionary program avoids the uncertainty and expense of a trial and results in a dismissal of the allegations.


The penalties for a violation of C.G.S. § 53a-73a range in severity based on the age of the alleged victim.

C.G.S. § 53a-73a is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,000.

If the victim is under the age of 16 years old, then C.G.S. § 53-73a is a Class D Felony punishable by up to five years in jail and a fine of up to $5,000.

Any conviction for sexual assault in the fourth degree can expose the offender to very intrusive and invasive sex offender probation and sex offender registration.

Contact us Today!

If you have been charged with a sex crime, we are here to give you five-star customer service with compassion and fight to achieve the most favorable result possible. Attorney Allan F. Friedman has over 30 years of experience defending criminal cases. Call Attorney Friedman at (203) 357-5555 to schedule your free initial consultation. We are available 24/7. Or you can contact us online for a prompt response.

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