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NY Penal Law § 130.91: Sexually Motivated Felony

June 23, 2020 Federal Criminal Attorneys

If you commit a felony offense, such as kidnapping, assault, or burglary for the purpose of receive sexual gratification, you will have also committed the sex offense of sexually motivated felony as dictated in New York Penal Code section 130.91. To face this charge, the felony offense that you commit or attempt to commit has to be a specific felony listed in the sexually motivated felony statute. The list includes 29 felonies that fall under the categories of:


  • Crimes of Assault 
  • Crimes involgving Murder and Manslaughter
  • Crimes involving Kidnapping
  • Crimes involving the Property of Others
  • Crimes of Arson
  • Crimes of Theft
  • Crimes of Prostitution and Obscenity


On top of to committing a felony in one of these categories, you must also commit, attempt to commit, or have the intent to commit a sex crime.


The repercussions of committing one of the above categorized felonies with a sexual motivation is that the underlying felony will carry more weight.  It will automatically be classed as a “violent felony offense.” As a result, if you are convicted, your sentence will be much more harsh than if the crime was committed without a sexual motivation.


An Example

A man breaks into a woman’s home late one night, sneaks into her bedroom, wakes her up and makes sexually suggestive statements to her. The woman screams, causing the man to flee from her home. If caught, the man could be charged with a sexually motivated felony on the basis of breaking into the woman’s home. The break in can be charged as a burglary in the second degree.  Add in the suggestive statements he made to her when he entered her bedroom, and even though he did not sexually assault her, he made it clear that his intent to commit a sex crime.


Offenses that are Related

Aggravated sexual abuse in the first degree: New York Penal Code section 130.70

Rape in the third degree: New York Penal Code section 130.35

Criminal sexual act in the first degree: New York Penal Code section 130.50


Possible Defenses

To successfully defend against the crime of sexually motivated felony, the first task is to demonstrate that you did not commit the underlying felony. If, for example, you were charged with a burglary offense, you would need to counter testimony that you broke into the person’s property. On top of that, you would also need to address the allegation that you committed or intended to commit a sex crime. For instance, you could bring evidence to show that sexual contact, if any, was consensual.


The Sentence

When a crime has the added component of a sexual motivation, it is treated as both a sex crime and a violent felony. The result of this is that instead of simply being sentenced as a felon, you will be sentenced under the rules for violent felonies in conjunction with the rules for sex crimes. Furthermore, you will have effectively committed at least 2 felonies in the same act. Your sentence would have to include a mandatory minimum prison term.


Because you will have committed a sex crime, you would be obligated to register as a sex offender under the New York Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) for at a minimum of 20 years and maybe even for the rest of your life.



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