I found out my husband has been touching my 21 year old daughter inappropriately, what are the legal ramifications?

I have been married for 10 years. Apparently this has been going on for about a year but my daughter just told me because she couldn’t handle it anymore. She wanted me to be happy and didn’t want to hurt me. She was scared. He is her stepfather.I am going to file for divorce but it worries me if I don’t take legal action he could do this to someone else’s daughter.

Asked on July 29, 2010 under Criminal Law, Missouri

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your husband touched your daughter against her will, he has very likely committed sexual assualt. The exact legal nature or severity of such assault will depend on all the circumstances--e.g. was force or threat of force involved? did this occur when your daughter was inebriated or otherwise not in full possession of her faculties? Etc. Those elements--force, intoxication, etc.--will make the offense more serious.

(Note that if the contact  was consensual, even if it was later regretted, there may not be any liability for it, inasmuch as your daughter was over the age of consent and is not a bllod relation to her stepfather.)

If you believe that assult has been committed, you should contact the police. You should also, on a non-legal note, try to get some counseling or support for your daughter.


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