Skip to content


Child Molestation

Judges Hammer


In Rhode Island, the state takes child molestation sexual assault charges very seriously, but few people understand the definition of child molestation. Whether or not you’re accused of the act, it’s important to understand what qualifies as molestation and how you can fight charges.

A sex crime attorney in Rhode Island can take on your case and prevent you from facing unfair penalties. Brett V. Beaubien, Esquire has the experience necessary to work towards a positive outcome for you.


There are many misconceptions regarding child molestation. According to Rhode Island laws, child molestation is any sexual or indecent activity between an adult and someone who is 14 or younger. If you touch a young child in a lewd manner, consent is irrelevant. You’re guilty of a crime and could face serious penalties. 

What Acts Qualify as Child Molestation?

Legally, there are several forms of sexual assault against a child. All of the following acts could be considered child molestation:

  • Sexual contact
  • Touching a child’s sex organs
  • Fondling
  • Speaking in a sexual manner
  • Prostitution
  • Forcing pornography
  • Sexual penetration
  • Voyeurism

Often, the abusers attempt to entice children to commit the act. However, the child’s consent does not make the act legal.

The Penalties for Child Molestation

Every state punishes child molestation with different penalties. In Rhode Island, the crime can be either a first-degree offense or a second-degree offense. 

First-degree child molestation involves the sexual penetration of a child who is 14 or younger. Meanwhile, second-degree molestation involves sexual contact with a child who is 14 or younger.

Generally, the penalties vary depending on the degree of the conviction, the relationship between the two parties, and the frequency of the molestation. However, there are some general guidelines for the consequences. 

First Degree Child Molestation

If there was no relationship between the defendant and the victim and there was no injury, this crime can be punished with between 10 and 15 years in prison. However, defendants who are related to the victims face harsher sentences. As long as no injury occurred, the defendant could face 15 to 20 years in prison.

Incidents that involve physical injury are treated with more severity by the state. They could be sentenced to anywhere between 20 to 30 years in prison. If the incident was recurring or there are other circumstances, the defendant could serve a life sentence.

Second-Degree Child Molestation

A defendant with no family ties to the victim could receive up to three years in prison. But if the defendant touches the victim under the clothing more than once, they could receive between 3 and 8 years in prison. 

An incident involving a family member can be punished with between 7 and 12 years of prison time. Even after you serve your time, your conviction can haunt you.

Working with an Attorney

In 2017, there were 2,404 reports of child abuse neglect in Rhode Island. While not all of those cases involved child molestation, some of them do. If you are accused of such a crime, you need legal representation. Contact Brett V. Beaubien, Esquire, today for aggressive legal representation.

Contact The Law Office of Brett V. Beaubien today to get started with our Providence appeals attorney.