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Sex Crimes

Rochester Sex Crimes Defense Lawyer

Accomplished attorney representing Western New Yorkers accused of sexual assault and other offenses

New York lists more than 20 variants of sex offenses in Penal Code Article 130, and regardless of the specific allegation, someone facing this type of charge needs an experienced attorney to protect their rights and reputation. The Law Office of James L. Riotto in Rochester provides strong defense representation to accused individuals across Western New York in matters involving charges of rape, sexual abuse, online misconduct and other sex crimes. Mr. Riotto not only has experience defending these matters successfully, but also understands how authorities approach these cases based on his police and prosecutorial background.

Unlike other crimes, sexual offense cases often center not on whether the alleged conduct occurred, but whether it was consensual. This requires a detailed understanding of investigative techniques and witness analysis. To maximize the likelihood of a favorable result, someone accused of a sexual crime needs a lawyer like Mr. Riotto who excels both in the courtroom and during the vital discovery process.

Mr. Riotto will work diligently to deliver strongest defense possible. He knows that an unjust conviction might not only require prison time, but inclusion on the New York State Sex Offender Registry, which requires community notification. This can affect someone’s job and home life not only in the Rochester area, but throughout the country permanently. Along with criminal prosecutions, we represent clients at hearings under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), arguing for reduction of classification and lower levels of notification.


A change in New York law expanded the state’s definition of rape to cover various types of nonconsensual sexual contact occurring after September 1, 2024. The previous standard only addressed vaginal intercourse. A first-degree charge can be brought if the alleged assault involves forcible compulsion, a physically helpless victim or a child under a certain age. The specific age differs based on whether the accused is an adult or not. First-degree rape is a violent Class B felony, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. Second- and third-degree rape counts typically relate to cases of sexual activity with underage or incapacitated individuals. Though prison terms might be shorter in those cases, they still can lead to years of incarceration and inclusion with the Sex Offender Registry. 

Child pornography charges and other federal sex crime cases

Though most sex crimes are prosecuted on the state level, certain conduct related to online or interstate activity violates federal law and are tried in U.S. District Courts. If you’re being prosecuted by a U.S. Attorney, your defense lawyer well versed in federal court procedure and the strict guidelines that govern sentencing in these cases. Many federal cases stem from charges that someone has produced, viewed, downloaded or distributed child pornography. A conviction for Sexual Exploitation of Children can lead to decades of incarceration. Even if you believe you have a valid defense, such as mistakenly visiting a site or a belief that an image is not actually child porn, strong legal counsel is a necessity. Other sex crimes frequently tried in federal court include cases where the allegations include human trafficking, interstate prostitution or transporting a minor across state lines. Alleged sexual assaults occurring on U.S. government property also qualify for U.S. District Court jurisdiction.  

Sexual abuse

With the rape statute expanding to cover prosecutions for cases of alleged oral and anal contact in addition to vaginal intercourse, the sexual abuse provision remains in effect to prosecute matters arising from other forms of nonconsensual activity, such as touching someone’s breasts or rubbing against them in a crowded place. A first-degree count is charged as a felony and could trigger a prison sentence of up to seven years. There are also four levels of aggravated sexual abuse charges relating to manual contact and foreign objects in a victim’s genital area. 

Computer-related sex crimes

Technological advances and the proliferation of explicit material online have led to an increased focus on sex crimes associated with computer use. Many offenses in this area were created to protect minors, such as statutes prohibiting the possession of child pornography and the use of digital communication in an attempt to lure someone underage into a sexual relationship. Even if someone is an adult, disclosing an intimate image of them with the intent to cause harm, sometimes referred to as “revenge porn,” is against the law. These allegations are very serious, but the underlying conduct might be the result of an innocent mistake or the misinterpretation of a specific comment. Don’t wait to speak with a criminal defense lawyer even if you believe the accusations against you have no merit. 

Contact a proven New York defense lawyer if you’ve been charged with a sex crime

The Law Office of James L. Riotto represents Western New York clients who have been accused of sexual offenses. Our Rochester firm serves residents of Monroe, Ontario, Wayne, Orleans, Genesee and Livingston counties. Please call 866-772-2122 or contact us online for a consultation regarding your legal rights.  


James L. Riotto Attorney Photo
James L. Riotto
Criminal Defense Lawyer

James L. Riotto is an accomplished criminal defense attorney serving clients in New York. With an extensive background in law enforcement and criminal prosecution, his approach to each case is unique and informed by years of experience with the New York criminal justice system. As a graduate from Albany Law School and before going on to start his own practice, James worked at the Albany County District Attorney's Office, where he helped prosecute many DWI offenses. His inside knowledge of the tactics used to gain convictions provides him with a particular advantage when defending against DUI and other criminal charges.

Adam D. Staier Attorney Photo
Adam D. Staier
Of Counsel

About Attorney Adam Staier has spent the last seven years practicing criminal defense law throughout upstate New York and the Capital Region. He began his legal career through internships in civil law, indigent legal representation and federal energy law regulation. Finding a passion in criminal law, Mr. Staier held internships handling both prosecution and defense…

William M. Swift Attorney Photo
William M. Swift
Associate Attorney

About William M. Swift is an associate attorney at the Law Office of James L. Riotto and brings 20 years of experience to our clients. His practice focuses on personal injury cases and criminal matters. He has successfully represented individuals in felony, misdemeanor cases. Additionally, he has extensive knowledge in DMV administrative proceedings involving suspensions…

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    Responsible, responsive, results-oriented law firm. Would highly recommend for any relevant legal matters.

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    Highly professional, communicative, and worry-free!

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