Michigan Criminal Law: Sex Crimes; Sexual Conduct Charges, “CSC’s” Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree

Michigan law prohibits certain types of behavior related to sexual activity. These series of laws are collectively known as “criminal sexual conduct” or CSC charges. The charges vary significantly depending upon the alleged conduct.

These charges may fall various different sections; however the “criminal sexual conduct” section of Michigan’s penal code, MCL 750.520-520n is fairly comprehensive. Penalties if convicted depend on the alleged conduct and range from misdemeanors to capitol charges. Further, charges under this code may also require registration pursuant to SORA; see MCL 750.520b (2)(a-d);(Sex Offender Registration Act, MCL 295.723 et. seq.) and up to lifetime monitoring.

Criminal Sexual Conduct, Fourth Degree, MCL 750.520e is factually similar to Criminal Sexual Conduct, Second Degree; however, it also has certain key distinguishing features which mean that penalties for conviction of this charge are the least severe out of all the charges listed above. This charge is a misdemeanor. If convicted, a person may be sentenced “by imprisonment for not more than 2 years or a fine of not more than $500.00, or both,”MCL 750.520e (2) probation, possible SORA requirements, or other sanctions.

The statute reads as follows:

(1) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree if he or she engages in sexual contact with another person and if any of the following circumstances exist:

(a) That other person is at least 13 years of age but less than 16 years of age, and the actor is 5 or more years older than that other person.

(b) Force or coercion is used to accomplish the sexual contact. Force or coercion includes, but is not limited to, any of the following circumstances:

(i) When the actor overcomes the victim through the actual application of physical force or physical violence.

(ii) When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to use force or violence on the victim, and the victim believes that the actor has the present ability to execute that threat.

(iii) When the actor coerces the victim to submit by threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim, or any other person, and the victim believes that the actor has the ability to execute that threat. As used in this subparagraph, “to retaliate” includes threats of physical punishment, kidnapping, or extortion.

(iv) When the actor engages in the medical treatment or examination of the victim in a manner or for purposes which are medically recognized as unethical or unacceptable.

(v) When the actor achieves the sexual contact through concealment or by the element of surprise.

(c) The actor knows or has reason to know that the victim is mentally incapable, mentally incapacitated, or physically helpless.

(d) That other person is related to the actor by blood or affinity to the third degree and the sexual contact occurs under circumstances not otherwise prohibited by this chapter. It is an affirmative defense to a prosecution under this subdivision that the other person was in a position of authority over the defendant and used this authority to coerce the defendant to violate this subdivision. The defendant has the burden of proving this defense by a preponderance of the evidence. This subdivision does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(e) The actor is a mental health professional and the sexual contact occurs during or within 2 years after the period in which the victim is his or her client or patient and not his or her spouse. The consent of the victim is not a defense to a prosecution under this subdivision. A prosecution under this subsection shall not be used as evidence that the victim is mentally incompetent.

(f) That other person is at least 16 years of age but less than 18 years of age and a student at a public school or nonpublic school, and either of the following applies:

(i) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, or administrator of that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district. This subparagraph does not apply if the other person is emancipated or if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(ii) The actor is an employee or a contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district in which that other person is enrolled, or is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(g) That other person is at least 16 years old but less than 26 years of age and is receiving special education services, and either of the following applies:

(i) The actor is a teacher, substitute teacher, administrator, employee, or contractual service provider of the public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district from which that other person receives the special education services. This subparagraph does not apply if both persons are lawfully married to each other at the time of the alleged violation.

(ii) The actor is a volunteer who is not a student in any public school or nonpublic school, or is an employee of this state or of a local unit of government of this state or of the United States assigned to provide any service to that public school, nonpublic school, school district, or intermediate school district, and the actor uses his or her employee, contractual, or volunteer status to gain access to, or to establish a relationship with, that other person.

(h) The actor is an employee, contractual service provider, or volunteer of a child care organization, or a person licensed to operate a foster family home or a foster family group home, in which that other person is a resident, that other person is at least 16 years of age, and the sexual contact occurs during that other person’s residency. As used in this subdivision, “child care organization”, “foster family home”, and “foster family group home” mean those terms as defined in section 1 of 1973 PA 116, MCL 722.111.

MCL 750.520e.

Similar to the differences between Criminal Sexual Conduct, First Degree and Third Degree, a key distinction with this charge is the age-range of the alleged victim. Consent is a significant element. Criminal Sexual Conduct Fourth Degree prohibits any sexual contact if the alleged victim is between the ages of thirteen and sixteen and the alleged actor is five years or older than the alleged victim. MCL 750.520e (1)(a)In contrast, charges for Criminal Sexual Conduct, Second Degree for alleged sexual contact for an alleged victim between the ages 13 and 16 is only appropriate if the alleged circumstances meets the criteria listed in MCL 750.520c (2)(b)(i-vi). 

For more information on Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct charges, click here.

For more information on Michigan’s Criminal Sexual Conduct, First Degree charge, click here.

For more information on Michigan’s Criminal Sexual Conduct, Second Degree charge, click here.

For  more information on Michigan’s Criminal Sexual Conduct, Third Degree charge, click here.

For information on polygraph tests, click here.
For information on Michigan’s charge, “Gross Indecency,” click here.
For information on Michigan’s Sex Offender Registration Act, or “SORA,” click here.

Our experienced and dedicated attorneys have represented clients regarding a variety of CSC charges throughout the state of Michigan. We fight hard for our clients. For a free initial consultation, please call our Lansing office at (517) 507-5077.

The following series of posts is for general educational purposes only. Circumstances may vary significantly. If you need specific legal advice, please privately consult with a lawyer.