What is Institutional Sexual Assault and its Punishments?

January 21, 2019By Brian Manchester

18 Pa.C.S.A. § 3124.2§ defines Institutional sexual assault.

Institutional sexual assault specifically applies to sexual contact between two individuals who have a specific relationship. The law includes out many individuals who may be charged with this offense, including employees of the following:

  • Department of Corrections or another correctional authority.
  • Juvenile detention facilities run by the state or county
  • Youth forestry camps, Youth development centers.
  • Groups homes or other residential facilities that serve youth.
  • Mental health facilities. Employees of any of these institutions may be charged with institutional sexual assault if they have sexual contact with a resident, patient, or inmate of the facility in which they work.

Employees of these institution may be charged with ISA if they’ve had sexual contact contact with a resident, patient, or inmate of the facility where they work.

Punishments for Institutional Sexual Assault

Punishments for Pennsylvania institutional Sexual Assault can include:

  • Jail or prison up to 7 years.
  • Fine from $2,500 to $15,000.

The punishments for ISA are rather severe. This is because the employees are responsible for the safety and welfare of those they deal with. In most cases, the person who is sexually assaulted is unable to leave the facility, adding to the severity of the chargers.

Examples of Institutional Sexual Assault Charges

In 2018, Lackawanna County Prison recently had a high profile case where 7 current and former Correctional Officers were charged with Institutional Sexual Assault (among other crimes) of inmates occurring over a period of several years. The guards allegedly used their positions of authority to coerce the women into performing sex acts on them in multiple locations including cells and utility closets. The guards promised the women things like extra phone time, food and cigarettes.

In 2017, a female prison guard was also charged with, and convicted of, institutional sexual assault. A 42 year old Chambersburg woman pled guilty and stated that she touched a male inmate’s in his 20’s genitals. She was sentenced to 2 months of incarceration and 4 months of electronic monitoring.

If Charged, Call an Experienced Lawyer

If you find yourself, or a loved one finds themselves accused of Institutional Sexual Assault, it is crucial to call a Criminal Defense Attorney immediately. For a Free Strategy Session, contact Manchester & Associates immediately to begin building the defense against these charges. We want to help.


Posted in: Criminal Defense Blog , Sex Crimes

Tags: Institutional Sexual Assault,

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About the Author

Brian Manchester is the owner of Manchester and Associates in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. His law firm practices DUI and Criminal Defense exclusively throughout the entire state of Pennsylvania in both state and federal court. He has a team of two other lawyers with a combined 50 years of trial and courtroom experience are also trained in science and many other skills that are relevant to criminal defense to include the psychology of persuasion as well. One of his associates is a former District Attorney (chief prosecutor) in central Pennsylvania.   Mr. Manchester and his team routinely handle serious felony cases including murder, manslaughter, sex crimes, complex financial crimes, and serious assaults. A large part of Mr. Manchester’s practice is the defense of alcohol and drug-based DUI offenses as well as drug cases using science and analytical chemistry. Mr. Manchester has training as a Standardized Field Sobriety Testing Instructor. He is one of a handful of Certified Lawyer-Scientists as recognized by the American Chemical Society in the United States. He is a member of NCDD and is a Founding Member of DUIDLA. He is also a member of the American Chemical Society with over 170,000 members across the world. To date, he is the only practicing criminal defense lawyer to belong to the Society of Forensic Toxicologist where he is an Associate Member. Mr. Manchester speaks nationally on the topic of blood and drug testing for alcohol as well as the metrological (measurement uncertainty) in forensic testing.

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