Gilbert Welsh has been convicted as a sex offender in the past for rubbing his genitals on riders of the New York subway system several times. He has committed the offense at least eight times.
Those eight arrests were not enough to keep him from allegedly going for a ninth. Witnesses say the 61-year-old was recently rubbing his crotch against the buttocks of a woman on the subway. When she tried to elbow him away, he persisted. 2 Welsh was arrested upon exiting the subway.
Welsh will not be charged as a repeat offender for the alleged incident. In fact, he may not face more than a year in prison. According to New York law, persistent sex abuse can lead to a sentence of up to four years in state prison if the person had previously been convicted of a sex offense twice in a decade. Because Welsh was incarcerated for nine of the last 10 years, he will not face this punishment. 3
But what would happen to Welsh if he were a resident of California? Would he be punished more severely for his actions? Let’s take a look at California’s laws regarding repeat sex offenders…
When You Must Register as a Sex Offender (California Penal Code Section 290)
Under California Penal Code Section 290, if you are convicted of any of the following crimes, you will likely have to register as a sex offender:
- Sexual Battery;
- Lewd acts with a minor;
- Other forced sex acts; and
- Indecent exposure.
Megan’s Law requires you to make public your personal information, including your crime, a photo of yourself, and other identifying information. Registration as a sex offender is required in addition to the criminal penalties you may face for these crimes.
California Three Strikes Law
If your alleged sexual offense is considered a “violent” crime, a second or third offense can be punished under California’s “Three Strikes Law.”Rape and sexual battery are considered violent sex crimes.
The goal of the Three Strikes Law is to make sure those who commit a serious or violent offense after already being convicted of such a crime face a greater punishment. Three Strikes only applies to felony convictions.
Under California Penal Code Section 667, if you have a prior felony strike on your record, any subsequent conviction for a felony sex crime will be sentenced more harshly. Your sentence will be doubled for a second strike. For example, if you were sentenced to three years in state prison after being convicted of rape, a second rape conviction will lead to at least six years in state prison.
A third strike for another serious felony will result in a minimum of 25 years in state prison, or triple the base sentence. Your third felony conviction must be serious and violent in order for it to count as a third strike. For example, rape and sexual battery could be considered a third strike, whereas statutory rape would not.
Let the Criminal Defense Attorneys at Wallin & Klarich Help You Today
If you have been arrested for a second sex offense, the consequences will be very severe. Because California punishes repeat sex offenders harshly, it is vital that you have an experienced sex crimes attorney aggressively defend you from these allegations. At Wallin & Klarich, we have been successfully defending our clients accused of sex crimes for over 30 years.
With offices located in Orange County, San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Torrance, Riverside, West Covina, Victorville, Ventura, San Diego and Sherman Oaks, our skilled attorneys are available to provide you legal guidance no matter where you live or work.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.
1. [NYC Subway R160A 9237 on the E” by AEMoreira042281 – Own work. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:NYC_Subway_R160A_9237_on_the_E.jpg#mediaviewer/File:NYC_Subway_R160A_9237_on_the_E.jpg]↩