Incest in New Jersey

According to New Jersey Principals and Supervisors Association data, nearly one in ten children are estimated to experience some form of sexual abuse. The rate is much higher among females than males. Over 30% of offenses are committed by relatives and approximately 60% by adults that they know.

New Jersey's Department of Children and Families addresses sexual abuse involving a child and a parent or guardian. They explain that contact of a sexual nature is not justifiable or appropriate under any circumstances. They created a list of actions that are examples of sexual abuse with a child when committed by a parent or caretaker as follows:

  • Raping or allowing a child to be raped
  • Creates an injury or allows an injury involving the genitals, anus, breasts, or mouth that results from intercourse
  • Has intercourse, fellatio, or cunnilingus with a child
  • Touch a child's genitals or another personal area directly or through clothes
  • Having a child manipulate the offender's personal areas in some manner
  • Exposure of the genitals to a child
  • Causing, encouraging, or participating in acts of sexual engagement
  • Exploitation through acts of commercial sex or taking photos or filming a child engaging in sexual acts
  • Makes no effort to prevent someone else from sexually abusing a child
  • Placing a child in a position where they are vulnerable to a convicted sex offender

Certain Marriages or Unions Prohibited (37:1-1)

New Jersey law does not allow marriage or civil unions among those who are related. This includes a sibling, son, daughter, parent, etc.  Any marriage or civil union among relatives will be voided.

Aggravated Sexual Assault (2C:14-2)

A crime of aggravated sexual assault is a crime of the first degree and is committed when an act of sexual penetration occurs under the following scenarios:

  • Involving anyone under the age of 13
  • Involving someone who is 13 but less than 16 and
    • The perpetrator is a relative or
    • The perpetrator is a supervisor or is otherwise responsible for disciplining the child based on the law or through employment or
    • The perpetrator is a parent, guardian, or another caregiver of the victim
  • The act is committed while engaging in or attempting to commit a serious crime such as robbery, arson, etc.
  • The perpetrator is in possession of a weapon or implies they are
  • Physical force or coercion is involved with assistance from one or more people
  • The perpetrator is aware that the victim is mentally or physically impaired or otherwise not capable of consenting to sexual activity

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a crime of the second degree and is committed when an act of sexual contact occurs under the following scenarios:

  • The victim is under the age of 13 and the offender is four or more years older
  • If the offender sexually penetrates the victim and any of the following apply:
    • The offense is committed using coercion or force but the victim does not incur a physical injury
    • The perpetrator is a supervisor or is otherwise responsible for disciplining of the victim based on the law or through employment
    • The victim is 16 or 17-years-old and:
    • Is a relative including a parent, guardian, or caretaker
    • The perpetrator is a supervisor or is otherwise responsible for disciplining of the victim based on the law or through employment
  • The victim is 13, 14, or 15 years of age and the offender is four or more years older

Potential Penalties

  • First-degree offenders may face a prison sentence of up to 20 years and up to a $200,000 fine
  • Second-degree offenders may face a prison sentence of up to 10 years and up to a $150,000
  • Third-degree offenders may face a prison sentence of up to five years and up to a $15,000 fine

Federal Law (18 U.S.C.S. § 3509)

Under federal law, child abuse occurs when someone under the age of 18 is subjected to physical or emotional harm, sexual abuse, is exploited, or treated with negligence. Examples of exploitation are if a child was exposed to pornography or prostitution. Negligence in this context may involve depriving a child of food, clothes, medical care, or some other act that may be detrimental to the child's health. They define sexual abuse as meaning acts that seek to encourage, persuade, or coerce a child to participate in sexual assault, molestation, prostitution, or incest.

Federal law allows children who are victims to request and participate in court hearings or trials from a location that is offsite via closed-circuit television or a similar means of communication. Any request by the attorney for the victim must be made at least seven days prior to a hearing or trial. The court allows this in cases where the child is experiencing fear, trauma, mental incapacity, or another significant problem.

Plea Agreements (2C:14-2.1)

Victims of sexual abuse are afforded an opportunity to speak with the prosecutor prior to entering a plea agreement with the defense. The prosecutor will consider the wishes of the victim in these discussions; however, the prosecutor may not be able to fully resolve the matter in a way that satisfies the victim.

Sexual Offense Restraining Order (SORO)

According to Nicole's Law in New Jersey, victims may be issued a SORO. This is a condition that involves the release of the alleged offender from jail during the pretrial process. A SORO is an order that the alleged offender may not contact the victim. Efforts are also made to maintain information regarding the victim's location of residence or employment as confidential. Ultimately, the court may impose a permanent restraining order if the alleged offender is convicted.

Requirement to Register as a Sex Offender (2C:7-1)

The New Jersey State Police manages a sex offender registry that was implemented according to Megan's Law. It is a resource for those in law enforcement when investigating sexually-related crimes. Offenders are required to keep their current home address and work address up to date. Photos of the offender and a description of the crimes committed are available for the public to access.

A federal database that mergers this state information has also been implemented. Some offenders are required to register for life. Registered sexual offenders are classified in one of three tiers that reflect their level of risk to the community. Offenders who fail to initially register or maintain the accuracy of their information may face additional criminal charges.

Requirements to Submit to HIV Testing and Provide a DNA Sample

Those convicted of crimes such as sexual assault may be tested for HIV/AIDS. This also applies to juveniles who were found to be delinquent resulting from these types of offenses. These individuals will also have a sample of their DNA taken and maintained in a central database for the interest of public safety.

New Jersey Attorney Represents Those Facing Serious Criminal Charges

A conviction for a crime such as sexual assault can result in a lengthy prison sentence, massive fines, and hinder your long-term employment opportunities. Attorney Joseph D. Lento understands the potential ramifications and has spent years providing effective legal defense in the New Jersey courts. Contact the office today at (888) 535-3686 for a consultation.

​​​Contact The Lento Law Firm Today


When it comes to criminal defense cases, you need the right person in your corner. To learn more about how Mr. Lento can help you, call the Lento Law Firm today at 888-535-3686. or contact him online.

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