2006 Federal Sentencing Guidelines


CHAPTER TWO - PART A - OFFENSES AGAINST THE PERSON

3. CRIMINAL SEXUAL ABUSE

§2A3.4. Abusive Sexual Contact or Attempt to Commit Abusive Sexual Contact

(a) Base Offense Level:

(1) 20, if the offense involved conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a) or (b);

(2) 16, if the offense involved conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2242; or

(3) 12, otherwise.

(b) Specific Offense Characteristics

(1) If the victim had not attained the age of twelve years, increase by 4 levels; but if the resulting offense level is less than 20, increase to level 20.

(2) If the base offense level is determined under subsection (a)(1) or (2), and the victim had attained the age of twelve years but had not attained the age of sixteen years, increase by 2 levels.

(3) If the victim was in the custody, care, or supervisory control of the defendant, increase by 2 levels.

(4) If the offense involved the knowing misrepresentation of a participant’s identity to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct, increase by 2 levels.

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

(c) Cross References

(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).

(2) If the offense involved criminal sexual abuse of a minor or attempt to commit criminal sexual abuse of a minor (as defined in 18 U.S.C. § 2243(a)), apply §2A3.2 (Criminal Sexual Abuse of a Minor Under the Age of Sixteen Years (Statutory Rape) or Attempt to Commit Such Acts), if the resulting offense level is greater than that determined above.

Commentary

Statutory Provisions: 18 U.S.C. § 2244(a)(1), (2), (3). 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 18 years; (B) an individual, whether fictitious or not, who a law enforcement officer represented to a participant (i) had not attained the age of 18 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 18 years.

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

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

2. Application of Subsection (a)(1).—For purposes of subsection (a)(1), "conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2241(a) or (b)" is engaging in, or causing sexual contact with, or by another person by: (A) using force against the victim; (B) threatening or placing the victim in fear that any person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping; (C) rendering the victim unconscious; or (D) administering by force or threat of force, or without the knowledge or permission of the victim, a drug, intoxicant, or other similar substance and thereby substantially impairing the ability of the victim to appraise or control conduct.

3. Application of Subsection (a)(2).—For purposes of subsection (a)(2), "conduct described in 18 U.S.C. § 2242" is: (A) engaging in, or causing sexual contact with, or by another person by threatening or placing the victim in fear (other than by threatening or placing the victim in fear that any person will be subjected to death, serious bodily injury, or kidnapping); or (B) engaging in, or causing sexual contact with, or by another person who is incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct or physically incapable of declining participation in, or communicating unwillingness to engage in, the sexual act.

4. Application of Subsection (b)(3).—

(A) Custody, Care, or Supervisory Control.—Subsection (b)(3) is intended to have broad application and is to be applied whenever the victim 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 victim and not simply to the legal status of the defendant-victim relationship.

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

5. Misrepresentation of a Participant’s Identity.—The enhancement in subsection (b)(4) applies in cases involving the misrepresentation of a participant’s identity to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct. Subsection (b)(4) is intended to apply only to misrepresentations made directly to a minor or to a person who exercises custody, care, or supervisory control of the minor. Accordingly, the enhancement in subsection (b)(4) 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)(4) 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 a 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.

6. Application of Subsection (b)(5).—Subsection (b)(5) provides an enhancement if a computer or an interactive computer service was used to persuade, induce, entice, or coerce a minor to engage in prohibited sexual conduct. Subsection (b)(5) is intended to apply only to the use of a computer or an interactive computer service to communicate directly with a minor or with a person who exercises custody, care, or supervisory control of the minor.

Background: This section covers abusive sexual contact not amounting to criminal sexual abuse (criminal sexual abuse is covered under §§2A3.1-3.3). Alternative base offense levels are provided to take account of the different means used to commit the offense. Enhancements are provided for victimizing children or minors. The enhancement under subsection (b)(2) does not apply, however, where the base offense level is determined under subsection (a)(3) because an element of the offense to which that offense level applies is that the victim had attained the age of twelve years but had not attained the age of sixteen years.

Historical Note: Effective November 1, 1987. Amended effective November 1, 1989 (see Appendix C, amendment 95); 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).