2006 Federal Sentencing Guidelines


CHAPTER TWO - PART A - OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON

3. CRIMINAL SEXUAL ABUSE

§2A3.2. Criminal Sexual Abuse of a Minor Under the Age of Sixteen Years (Statutory Rape) or Attempt to Commit Such Acts

(a) Base Offense Level: 18

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

(1) If the minor was in the custody, care, or supervisory control of the defendant, increase by 4 levels.

(2) If (A) subsection (b)(1) does not apply; and (B)(i) the offense involved the knowing misrepresentation of a participant’s identity to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct; or (ii) a participant otherwise unduly influenced the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct, increase by 4 levels.

(3) If a computer or an interactive computer service was used to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct, increase by 2 levels.

(c) Cross Reference

(1) If the offense involved criminal sexual abuse or attempt to commit criminal sexual abuse (as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2241 or § 2242), apply §2A3.1 (Criminal Sexual Abuse; Attempt to Commit Criminal Sexual Abuse). If the victim had not attained the age of 12 years, §2A3.1 shall apply, regardless of the "consent" of the victim.

Commentary

Statutory Provision: 18 U.S.C. § 2243(a). For additional statutory provision(s), see Appendix A (Statutory Index).

Application Notes:

1. Definitions.—For purposes of this guideline:

"Computer" has the meaning given that term in 18 U.S.C. § 1030(e)(1).

"Interactive computer service" has the meaning given that term in section 230(e)(2) of the Communications Act of 1934 (47 U.S.C. § 230(f)(2)).

"Minor" means (A) an individual who had not attained the age of 16 years; (B) an individual, whether fictitious or not, who a law enforcement officer represented to a participant (i) had not attained the age of 16 years, and (ii) could be provided for the purposes of engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or (C) an undercover law enforcement officer who represented to a participant that the officer had not attained the age of 16 years.

"Participant" has the meaning given that term in Application Note 1 of §3B1.1 (Aggravating Role).

"Prohibited sexual conduct" has the meaning given that term in Application Note 1 of §2A3.1 (Criminal Sexual Abuse; Attempt to Commit Criminal Sexual Abuse).

2. Custody, Care, or Supervisory Control Enhancement.—

(A) In General.—Subsection (b)(1) is intended to have broad application and is to be applied whenever the minor is entrusted to the defendant, whether temporarily or permanently. For example, teachers, day care providers, baby-sitters, or other temporary caretakers are among those who would be subject to this enhancement. In determining whether to apply this enhancement, the court should look to the actual relationship that existed between the defendant and the minor and not simply to the legal status of the defendant-minor relationship.

(B) Inapplicability of Chapter Three Adjustment.—If the enhancement in subsection (b)(1) applies, do not apply subsection (b)(2) or §3B1.3 (Abuse of Position of Trust or Use of Special Skill).

3. Application of Subsection (b)(2).—

(A) Misrepresentation of Identity.—The enhancement in subsection (b)(2)(B)(i) applies in cases involving the misrepresentation of a participant’s identity to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct. Subsection (b)(2)(B)(i) is intended to apply only to misrepresentations made directly to the minor or to a person who exercises custody, care, or supervisory control of the minor. Accordingly, the enhancement in subsection (b)(2)(B)(i) would not apply to a misrepresentation made by a participant to an airline representative in the course of making travel arrangements for the minor.

The misrepresentation to which the enhancement in subsection (b)(2)(B)(i) may apply includes misrepresentation of a participant’s name, age, occupation, gender, or status, as long as the misrepresentation was made with the intent to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct. Accordingly, use of a computer screen name, without such intent, would not be a sufficient basis for application of the enhancement.

(B) Undue Influence.—In determining whether subsection (b)(2)(B)(ii) applies, the court should closely consider the facts of the case to determine whether a participant’s influence over the minor compromised the voluntariness of the minor’s behavior.

In a case in which a participant is at least 10 years older than the minor, there shall be a rebuttable presumption, for purposes of subsection (b)(2)(B)(ii), that such participant unduly influenced the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct. In such a case, some degree of undue influence can be presumed because of the substantial difference in age between the participant and the minor.

4. Application of Subsection (b)(3).—Subsection (b)(3) provides an enhancement if a computer or an interactive computer service was used to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct. Subsection (b)(3) is intended to apply only to the use of a computer or an interactive computer service to communicate directly with the minor or with a person who exercises custody, care, or supervisory control of the minor.

5. Cross Reference.— Subsection (c)(1) provides a cross reference to §2A3.1 (Criminal Sexual Abuse; Attempt to Commit Criminal Sexual Abuse) if the offense involved criminal sexual abuse or attempt to commit criminal sexual abuse, as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2241 or § 2242. For example, the cross reference to §2A3.1 shall apply if (A) the victim had not attained the age of 12 years (see 18 U.S.C. § 2241(c)); (B) the victim had attained the age of 12 years but not attained the age of 16 years, and was placed in fear of death, serious bodily injury, or kidnaping (see 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a),(c)); or (C) the victim was threatened or placed in fear other than fear of death, serious bodily injury, or kidnaping (see 18 U.S.C. § 2242(1)).

6. Upward Departure Consideration.—There may be cases in which the offense level determined under this guideline substantially understates the seriousness of the offense. In such cases, an upward departure may be warranted. For example, an upward departure may be warranted if the defendant committed the criminal sexual act in furtherance of a commercial scheme such as pandering, transporting persons for the purpose of prostitution, or the production of pornography.

Background: This section applies to offenses involving the criminal sexual abuse of an individual who had not attained the age of 16 years. While this section applies to consensual sexual acts prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 2243(a) that would be lawful but for the age of the minor, it also applies to cases, prosecuted under 18 U.S.C. § 2243(a), in which a participant took active measure(s) to unduly influence the minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct and, thus, the voluntariness of the minor’s behavior was compromised. A two-level enhancement is provided in subsection (b)(2) for such cases. It is assumed that at least a four-year age difference exists between the minor and the defendant, as specified in 18 U.S.C. § 2243(a). A two-level enhancement is provided in subsection (b)(1) for a defendant who victimizes a minor under his supervision or care. However, if the minor had not attained the age of 12 years, §2A3.1 (Criminal Sexual Abuse; Attempt to Commit Criminal Sexual Abuse) will apply, regardless of the "consent" of the minor.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 93); November 1, 1991 (see Appendix C, amendment 392); November 1, 1992 (see Appendix C, amendment 444); November 1, 1995 (see Appendix C, amendment 511); November 1, 2000 (see Appendix C, amendment 592); November 1, 2001 (see Appendix C, amendment 615); November 1, 2004 (see Appendix C, amendment 664).