Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree - MCL 750.520g(2)

Assault with Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree, MCL 750.520g(2), is a felony punishable by up to 5 years. It is a crime that we see charged much less often than the four main Degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan.

As referenced above, the official statute for Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree, also called Assault With Intent to Commit CSC Second Degree (or similar) for short, MCL 750.520g(2), simply states:

"Assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct in the second degree is a felony punishable by imprisonment for not more than 5 years."

The language of that statute alone doesn’t explain very much at all about what actions constitute Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree. To begin, you must understand some of the legal terms involved.

First, under Michigan law, an "Assault" refers to either:

  • An attempt to commit a Battery; or
  • An act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate Battery.

A “Battery“ essentially means any intentional (I.e., not accidental) touching which is forceful, violent, or offensive, which is against the other person's will, and not otherwise done for a lawful purpose, such as self-defense. Think of an Assault as an incomplete or unsuccessful Battery.

But the type of attempted touching we are concerned with here in the context of Criminal Sexual Conduct of course refers to a Sexual Assault - generally meaning unwanted touching of a sexual nature, as opposed to trying to punch or kick someone, etc.

Just by defining the word “Assault“ along with its corollary, a "Battery," we begin to see that the charge of Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree under MCL 750.520g(2) involves an allegation of something like an unwanted touching of a sexual nature that is attempted, but not completed.

Next, let's address the word "intent." In the law, the concept of "intent" is very complex, but perhaps the most concise statement of how a Jury should judge intent for our purposes here is contained in the standard Michigan Criminal Jury Instruction 4.16:

"The Defendant’s intent may be proved by what he/she said, what he/she did, how he/she did it, or by any other facts and circumstances in evidence."

Considering the above knowledge, because you can see just from the name of Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree that we need a more specific definition of what type of touching was intended but not completed. In other words . . . what is the definition of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan?

Like many legal terms, the definition of Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct 2nd Degree under MCL 750.520c is very broad and can include several "multiple variables," but generally speaking, it means “sexual contact“ (meaning touching only, as opposed to "sexual penetration") that is unlawful for a variety of reasons, either because of someone’s age, the use of "force or coercion“ (which is closely related to lack of consent), or other factors. For these purposes, think of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct simply as unlawful sexual touching.

RELATED: You can learn more about Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct, MCL 750.520c, by visiting our Main Page for that charge.

Finally, Putting all of this together, the Michigan crime of Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree under MCL 750.520g(2) basically means trying unsuccessfully to touch someone in a sexual way that would be unlawful (i.e., it would fit the definition of Second Degree CSC) if the touching had actually happened. That is probably the best way to think of it, and that definition would cover most situations where this crime is charged.

More specifically, if you were sitting on a Jury where the accused person was is facing a charge of Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree, here is exactly how the Judge would define it for you, referring in pertinent part to Michigan Criminal Jury Instruction 20.18:

"(1) The Defendant is charged with the crime of Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct involving Sexual Contact. To prove this charge, the prosecutor must prove each of the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

(2) First, that the Defendant either attempted to commit a Battery on [Complainant] or did an act that would cause a reasonable person to fear or apprehend an immediate Battery. A Battery is a forceful or violent touching [without lawful consent] of the person or something closely connected with the person of another.

(3) Second, that the Defendant intended either to injure [Complainant] or to make [Complainant] reasonably fear an immediate Battery.

(4) Third, that at the time, the defendant had the ability to commit a Battery, appeared to have the ability, or thought he/she had the ability.

(5) Fourth, that when the Defendant assaulted [Complainant], the Defendant intended to commit a sexual act involving criminal sexual contact. This means that the Defendant must have specifically intended to [touch (name Complainant)’s / have (name Complainant) touch (his / her)] genital area, groin, inner thigh, buttock, breast, or the clothing covering those areas.

(6) Fifth, that when the Defendant assaulted [Complainant], the defendant must have specifically intended to do the act involving criminal sexual contact for the purpose of sexual arousal or gratification.

(7) Sixth [Follow this instruction with one or more of the alternatives found at M Crim JI 20.3 through 20.11d as warranted by the evidence.]

(8) However, an actual touching or penetration is not required."

You might be wondering “What if the touching actually happens, instead of just an attempt?", or "What if the allegation was sexual penetration, rather than just touching?"

If that were the case, the charge would probably be something more serious, such as the actual crime of Second Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct (or First Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct or Third Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct). Again, we do not see many cases come in with Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree as the original charge.

More often than not, this charge is used in a "bargaining" sense, such as something offered by the Prosecution at some point to “plead down“ to form one of the above-mentioned, more serious Michigan Criminal Sexual Conduct charges. Whether a person chooses to accept a plea deal that is offered or go to trial in their case is a separate matter, and we certainly are not saying whether or not it would be a good idea in any particular case - just that a plea may be offered at some point depending on the case.

If you or someone you know is currently being charged with Assault With Intent to Commit Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Second Degree, contact Prain Law, PLLC today for a free consultation. At Prain Law, PLLC, we specifically concentrate our practice on defending those accused of Criminal Sexual Conduct in Michigan - and that is legitimate, as opposed to simply having a website.

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Prain Law, PLLC is focused only on the types charges featured on our website. This helps us deliver the decisive, effective advocacy for which our clients know us. We only serve individuals currently under investigation or who have a current case pending in court. Our firm does not represent injury victims, defendants who have already taken a plea or have been sentenced, or those seeking to expunge a criminal record. We do not respond to anyone who is not involved in a pending investigation or who has a court case for a type of charge we do not handle, but we wish you the very best of luck.