Rape Shield Laws in Alaska
Alaska has the most significant number of rapes in the US. Almost sixty percent of Alaskan women have experienced rape, sexual violence in their lifetime, and about twelve percent have experienced rape or sexual violence in the last year. It is disheartening to know that approximately 37 percent of adult Alaskan women have experienced sexual violence in their lives, and almost fifty percent have experienced some form of intimate partner sexual violence in their lives.
Rape is a horrible crime and is a major problem in the US where every 107 seconds a woman in the country experiences sexual assault. This amounts to 31, 536, 000 rapes or sexual violence incident seconds every year. Worryingly, about two-thirds of all rapes are committed by someone that is known to the victim.
Seventy-three percent of sexual assaults are attributed to someone who is not a stranger to the victim. More than half the rape and/or sexual assault cases reportedly occurred within a mile of the victim's home. In Alaska, a rape occurs two and a half times more often than the national average. Child sexual assault cases are also 6 times higher in the state than the national average.
Lax sexual violence laws have also plagued Alaska. To persecute crimes involving sexual assault in any degree there is need to protect the victim. Thanks to Alaska Rape Shield Law the victim’s previous sexual conduct may not be admitted.
Besides, this law also does not allow reference to be made about the victim’s previous sexual conduct in front of a jury except according to the provisions in section 12.45.045 (2010). When the person accused of the crime wants evidence to be admitted for any purpose, they need to apply for a court order at any time prior to or during the trial or preliminary hearing.
The Alaska Rape Shield law affects an offender that is charged with sexual assault in the first degree when:
- He has sexually penetrated the victim without the latter’s consent
- He has tried to engage in sexual penetration with the victim without their consent and in the process has seriously physically injured the victim
- He has attempted to sexually penetrate the victim who the defendant knew was mentally incapable and who was in the care of the offender.
- He sexually penetrates the victim who does not know that a sexual act is being committed and when the offender is a healthcare worker and when the incident takes place while the offender was engaged in the professional treatment of the victim
According to the Alaska Rape Shield Law, anyone that breaks this law will be punished in the first degree. A first-degree offense is punishable by ninety-nine years in prison, or in accordance with the following:
- First-time offenders will face the following punishment:
- In case the victim is under the age of 13, then the offender will have to spend between 25 and 35 years in prison
- If the victim is more than 13 years of age, then the offender will be sent to prison for a period ranging from 20 to 30 years
- If the offender also used a dangerous instrument or firearm or seriously injured the victim, then he will have to spend between 25 and 35 years in prison
- Second-time offenders, when the prior felony was not a sexual felony, will need to spend between 30 and 40 years in prison
- Second-time offenders who have previously committed a sexual violence felony will have to spend between 35 and 45 years in prison
- Third-time offenders who did not previously commit a sexual offense in the previous two convictions can be sentenced to between 40 and 60 years in prison
- Third-time felons who have previously committed sexual violence acts or another serious felony will be sentenced to 99 years in prison
Sexual-assault acts in the second degree entail a lesser amount of punishment ranging from five to fifteen or ten to twenty-five years in prison. Furthermore, a fine of 100, 000 dollars may also be levied on the offender.
Sexual-assault cases of the third degree also attract lower punishment ranging from 2 to 12 years in prison to 8 to 15 years and a maximum of 99 years in prison. A fine of 50,000 dollars may also be levied on the offender.