What is the legal definition of sexual abuse?
For the purpose of getting a sexual abuse protective order, sexual abuse is defined as any “sexual contact” with a person:
- who does not consent to it; or
- who is incapable (unable) to consent to the sexual contact because the victim is:
- under 18 years of age;
- “mentally defective,” which the law defines as suffering from a qualifying mental disorder that makes the victim unable to evaluate his/her own conduct;
- mentally incapacitated, which the law defines as being unable to evaluate or control his/her own conduct; or
- physically helpless, which the law defines as being unconscious or unable (for any other reason) to communicate his/her unwillingness to the sexual act.1
Sexual contact is when anyone touches your sexual or intimate parts or causes you to touch the sexual or other intimate parts of another person for the purpose of arousing or satisfying the sexual desire of either person.2 In addition to “touching” one’s sexual or intimate parts, it would also include sexual assault, rape, sodomy, and forced oral sex.
Note: There could be some defenses to an accusation of sexual abuse related to the difference in age between the victim and due to other circumstances.3 You can read about these defenses here and here on our OR Statutes page.
1 ORS §§ 163.760(2); 163.315; 163.305(2),(3),(5)
2 ORS §§ 163.760(3); 163.305(6)
3 ORS §163.760(2)(b)