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The elements of taking indecent liberties with children

When you are charged with a sex crime -- especially one involving children -- you may find that the media enters a guilty verdict before you even make your first court appearance. As in many sex crime cases, the prosecution's evidence may rely heavily on a child's testimony.

The elements of the crime of taking indecent liberties with children are:

-- The defendant is 16 years old or older and is a minimum of five years older than the alleged victim.

-- Attempts to take or willfully takes any improper, immoral or indecent liberties with a male or female under the age of 16 for the purpose of gratifying or arousing sexual desire.

-- Attempts to commit or willfully commits any lascivious or lewd act with the body or upon any member or part of the body of any male or female child under 16 years old.

This is a Class F felony in North Carolina, and as such, is punishable by a minimum of 10 years in prison and up to 20 years in prison.

Convictions on sex crimes charges can lead to inclusion on the sex offender registry. This can lead to difficulties in finding employment, housing and much more. In many cases, simply a charge of a sex crime can end in the loss of employment.

Attorneys who are experienced in defending against sex crime charges work to limit the damage to their clients' reputations. While no child should ever be subjected to abuse, everyone charged with a crime is considered innocent until -- and only if -- proven guilty in court.

Source: ncleg.net, "Offenses against Public Morality and Decency," accessed July 22, 2016

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