Child Abuse in Michigan: What Every Parent Needs To Know (Part 3)

Children often struggle to talk about the sexual assaults they have suffered. They also sometimes get details wrong.


Thanks again for joining us as we navigate the difficult topic of child abuse and how it’s penalized in Michigan. In our introductory article we broke down the different types of child abuse, and in part two we discussed the penalties for physical abuse. In this segment we are going to talk about how child sexual abuse is punished in Michigan.


Sexual Abuse:


  • Child Sexually Abusive Material

Child sexually abusive material is commonly referred to as Child Pornography, or “kiddie porn”. It is illegal under both Michigan and federal law. It refers to any image or video footage of a child in a sexual situation, or engaging in any form of sexual conduct. This could include fondling, masturbation, intercourse, passive sexual involvement, or erotic nudity.


Punishments for child pornography are determined by which crime the defendant is convicted of. There are many child pornography related crimes in Michigan, including producing (making) child pornography, distribution (selling/sharing) of child pornography, and possession (having/keeping) child pornography. All of them are serious felonies under our state law and the federal law. 


  • Child Molestation, Sexual Assault, and Rape

The terms “rape” and “molestation” are not legal terms in Michigan, and as such, they are not used in our state’s penal code. In Michigan, all sex crimes are charged as ‘criminal sexual conduct‘ or CSC. This is the case whether the victim is a child or an adult.


  • First Degree CSC involves penetration and a combination of one or more other factors. Some of these factors include the age, relationship and/or coercion of the alleged victim. This is the most serious of the four degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct, and can result in up to life in prison.
  • Second Degree CSC involves allegations of sexual touching,,rather than penetration. Often, these types of cases are difficult to defend, as many times the only evidence presented is testimony of the alleged victim. Second degree CSC is punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
  • Third Degree CSC involves penetration, much like first degree CSC, however the difference is in more tightly defined aggravating factors. Although the term ‘statutory rape’ is no longer used in Michigan law, this charge would cover situations where the sex between two people is consensual, but one of them is under the age of consent (which is normally 16 years old). Although this is a very serious criminal charge, the penalty is less severe than First Degree CSC. The maximum penalty is up to 15 years in prison.
  • Fourth Degree CSC involves allegations of sexual touching, not penetration, but also includes other factors. Although this is the least severe of the four degrees of CSC, it still carries the potential of spending 2 years in prison plus 25 years on Michigan’s public sex offender registry for many people who are charged with this crime.


Sexual abuse of a child is considered to be one of the most heinous crimes a person can commit. It is treated very harshly by prosecutors in Michigan. For this reason, it is critical that anyone charged with a sex crime in Michigan call The Kronzek Firm immediately at 866 766 5245. Our highly skilled criminal defense attorneys have spent decades defending the people of Michigan against all kinds of crimes, including child abuse and sex assault crimes. WE can help you too! Join us next time for the wrap up on the subject of child abuse, and how CPS involvement can affect your case.




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