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Indecency with a Child

People who expose their genitals to arouse or gratify their own sexual desires are often charged with the misdemeanor offense of indecent exposure. When a child is present, the alleged crime can become the felony offense of indecency with a child by exposure.

Criminal charges can become even more serious if alleged indecency with a child involved alleged contact. A conviction for either type of indecency with a child will not only result in possible imprisonment and fines, but can also require a person to register as a sex offender.

Attorney for Indecency with a Child Arrests in Fort Worth, TX

If you were arrested for any kind of alleged indecency with a child offense in the greater DFW area, it will be in your best interest to immediately retain legal counsel. Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC understands how often these charges are based on innocent actions being misconstrued and fights to possibly get criminal charges reduced or dismissed.

Fort Worth criminal defense lawyers Andrea Townsend, Steven Gebhardt, and Brian Eppes defend clients accused of sexual offenses in Cleburne, Arlington, Weatherford, Fort Worth, and several surrounding areas of Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County. Call 817-502-3600 to have our attorneys review your case and answer all of your legal questions during a free initial consultation.


Tarrant County Indecency with a Child Information Center


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Indecency with a Child by Exposure Penalties in Texas

An alleged offender commits indecency with a child by exposure if that person, with a child younger than 17 years of age regardless of whether the child is of the same or opposite sex, and with intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, either:

  • Exposes his or her anus or any part of his or her genitals, knowing the child is present; or
  • Causes the child to expose the child's anus or any part of the child's genitals.

Texas Penal Code § 22.011 classifies indecency with a child by exposure as a third-degree felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.


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Indecency with a Child by Contact Penalties in Tarrant County

An individual commits indecency with a child by contact if that person, with a child younger than 17 years of age regardless of whether the child is of the same or opposite sex, engages in sexual contact with the child or causes the child to engage in sexual contact. Sexual contact is defined as either of the following acts, if committed with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person:

  • Any touching by a person, including touching through clothing, of the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a child; or
  • Any touching of any part of the body of a child, including touching through clothing, with the anus, breast, or any part of the genitals of a person.

Indecency with a child by contact is a second-degree felony under Texas Penal Code § 22.011. Convictions are punishable by up to 20 years in prison and/or a fine of up to $10,000.


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Affirmative Defenses for Indecency with a Child Charges in Fort Worth

Texas Penal Code § 22.011 also establishes certain affirmative defenses to prosecution for indecency with a child crimes. An affirmative defense is a particular fact or set of facts that, if proven by the alleged offender, negates the criminal consequences of that person’s otherwise unlawful conduct.

One affirmative defense against indecency with a child charges is the alleged offender being the spouse of the child at the time of the offense. It is also an affirmative defense to prosecution for these crimes that the alleged offender:

  • Was not more than three years older than the victim and of the opposite sex;
  • Did not use duress, force, or a threat against the victim at the time of the offense; and
  • At the time of the offense was not required to register for life as a sex offender or was not a person who had a reportable conviction or adjudication for an indecency with a child offense.

In addition to affirmative defenses, alleged offenders often have many other types of defenses that may be raised to challenge a prosecutor’s case. Because indecency with a child charges are often based solely on the testimony of a child or witness, any errors in how these individuals recollect the alleged incidents and/or a lack of evidence can make it difficult to prove an alleged offender’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.


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Texas Indecency with a Child Resources

Cook Children's | Child maltreatment early detection training — Cook Children's Health Care System is a not-for-profit organization comprised of eight companies, and the Center for Prevention of Child Maltreatment addresses not only child abuse but also encompasses related issues such as sexual abuse, neglect, and related trauma. Visit this website to learn more about early detection training, predicting maltreatment, and encouraging survivors. You can also ready recent blog posts about child maltreatment.

Cook Children's Medical Center
801 Seventh Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76104
682-885-4000

Harris v. State, PD-0945-10 (Tex. Crim. App. 2011) — Owen Thomas Harris was convicted of three offenses of indecency with a child by exposure after he masturbated in his car knowing that a six-year-old girl and two nine-year-old girls were present. The trial court sentenced him to 10 years in prison for each count, with two counts running consecutively, and the third count running concurrently with the other two. Harris argued in his appeal that double jeopardy bars multiple prosecutions for the same criminal episode, when the offense is a non-victim-based crime. The Corpus Christi Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s judgment, but the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals concluded that Harris’ right against double jeopardy was violated when he was convicted on three counts of indecency with a child by exposure that resulted from a single act of exposure. The Court of Criminal Appeals reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and remanded the case to the trial court to reform the judgment and sentence in accordance with this opinion.


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Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC | Fort Worth Indecency with a Child Defense Lawyer

Were you recently arrested in the DFW area for alleged indecency with a child? Do not say anything to authorities without legal representation. Contact Townsend, Gebhardt & Eppes, PLLC as soon as possible.

Andrea Townsend, Steven Gebhardt, and Brian Eppes are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Fort Worth who represent individuals all over Tarrant County, Parker County, and Johnson County, including Fort Worth, Cleburne, Arlington, Weatherford, and many other nearby communities. Call 817-502-3600 or fill out an online form today to have our lawyers provide a complete evaluation of your case during a free, confidential consultation.


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