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Statute of Limitations

Criminal cases are filed by the state and must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. Convicted offenders may face incarceration, fines or both.

Victims of sexual assault over the age of 18 have 12 years to report sexual assault in Pennsylvania. Victims under the age of 18 who were born before August 27, 2002 have 12 years after their 18th birthday to file criminal charges.

Sexual assault victims under the age of 18 who were born after August 27, 2002 have 32 years after their 18th birthday to file criminal charges.

PA Statutes of Limitations

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3121 Rape

1st Degree Felony

  • By threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution.
  • Who is unconscious or where the person knows that the complainant is unaware that the sexual intercourse is occurring.
  • Where the person has substantially impaired the complainant's power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the complainant, drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance.
  • Who suffers from a mental disability which renders the complainant incapable of consent.

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3122.1 Statutory sexual assault

2nd Degree Felony 

  • A person commits a felony of the second degree when the person engages in sexual intercourse with a victim to whom the person is not married who is under the age of 16 years and that person is either:
    • Four years older but less than eight years older than the victim; or
    • Eight years older but less than 11 years older than the victim.

1st Degree Felony

  • A person commits a felony of the first degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse with a victim under the age of 16 years and that person is 11 or more years older than the victim and the victim and the person are not married to each other.

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3123 Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse

1st Degree Felony

  • By forcible compulsion;
  • By threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution;
  • Who is unconscious or where the person knows that the complainant is unaware that the sexual intercourse is occurring;
  • Where the person has substantially impaired the complainant's power to appraise or control his or her conduct by administering or employing, without the knowledge of the complainant, drugs, intoxicants or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance;
  • Who suffers from a mental disability which renders him or her incapable of consent; or
  • Who is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and person are not married to each other.

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child — A person commits involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, a felony of the first degree, when the person engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant who is less than 13 years of age.

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child with serious bodily injury —  A person commits an offense under this section with a child resulting in serious bodily injury, a felony of the first degree, when the person violates this section and the complainant is less than 13 years of age and the complainant suffers serious bodily injury in the course of the offense.

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3124.1 Sexual assault

2nd Degree Felony

  • Except as provided in section 3121 (relating to rape) or 3123 (relating to involuntary deviate sexual intercourse), a person commits a felony of the second degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a victim without the victim’s consent.

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3124.2 Institutional sexual assault

3rd Degree Felony 

  • A person who is an employee or agent of the Department of Corrections or a county correctional authority, youth development center, youth forestry camp, State or county juvenile detention facility, other licensed residential facility serving children and youth, or mental health or mental retardation facility or institution commits a felony of the third degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse or indecent contact with an inmate, detainee, patient or resident.

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3125 Aggravated indecent assault

2nd Degree Felony

  • A person who engages in penetration, however slight, of the genitals or anus of a victim with a part of the person’s body for any purpose other than good faith medical, hygienic or law enforcement procedures commits aggravated indecent assault if:
    • (a) (1)The person does so without the victim’s consent;
    • (a) (2)The person does so by forcible compulsion;
    • (a) (3)The person does so by threat of forcible compulsion;
    • (a) (4)The victim is unconscious;
    • (a) (5)By administering or employing drugs, intoxicants or other means;
    • (a) (6)The victim suffers from a mental disability;
    • (a) (7)The victim is less than 13 years of age; or
    • (a) (8)The victim is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the victim and the victim and the person are not married to each other.

Aggravated indecent assault of a child

1st Degree Felony

  • A person commits aggravated indecent assault of a child when the person violates subsection (a)(1), (2), (3), (4), (5) or (6) and the victim is less than 13 years of age.

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3126 Indecent assault

  • Misdemeanor of the second degree if offender has indecent contact with victim, and:
    • Offender does so without victim’s consent; or
    • Victim is under 16 and offender is at least four years older than victim and victim and offender are not married to each other
  • Misdemeanor of the first degree if offender has indecent contact with victim, and:
    • Offender does so by forcible compulsion;
    • Offender does so by threat of forcible compulsion that would prevent resistance by a person of reasonable resolution;
    • Victim is unconscious or offender knows that victim is unaware that indecent contact is occurring;
    • Offender has substantially impaired victim’s power to appraise or control victim’s conduct by administering or employing, without victim’s knowledge, drugs, intoxicants, or other means for the purpose of preventing resistance;
    • Victim suffers from a mental disability that renders victim incapable of consent; or
    • Victim is under 13
  • Felony of the third degree if offender has indecent contact with victim, and victim is under 13, and:
    • It is a second or subsequent offense;
    • There has been a course of conduct of indecent assault by offender;
    • Indecent assault was committed by touching victim’s sexual parts with sexual parts of offender; or
    • Indecent assault was committed by touching offender’s sexual parts with sexual parts of victim

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 4302 Incest

2nd Degree Felony

  • A person is guilty of incest if that person knowingly marries or cohabits or has sexual intercourse with an ancestor or descendant, a brother or sister of the whole or half blood or an uncle, aunt, nephew or niece of the whole blood.

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6312 Sexual abuse of children

  • 2nd Degree Felony for photographing, videotaping, depicting on a computer or filming sexual acts
  • 3rd Degree Felony for first offense under other subsections of this section
  • 2nd Degree Felony for second or subsequent offense under other subsections of this section

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6320 Sexual exploitation of children

2nd Degree Felony

  • A person commits the offense of sexual exploitation of children if he procures for another person a child under 18 years of age for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

Related: Statute of limitations in civil cases