Missouri Rape and Sexual Assault Laws

Missouri law prohibits all forms of non-consensual sexual acts, including oral, vaginal, and anal intercourse as well as contact with any private parts and the hands, mouth, etc. The legal term for the prohibited sexual act depends on the anatomy involved and whether penetration or intercourse occurred. For example, rape is defined as a man inserting his penis into a woman's vagina, while touching a breast would be called "sexual abuse." Higher penalties are assessed when weapons or other force is involved and when the victim is a child.

Children are considered too young to consent to certain sexual conduct in Missouri. Even if a child claims to consent to the sexual act, it's illegal. This is called "statutory rape" or "statutory sodomy." These acts are considered rape under the law even if the minor doesn't believe it to be rape.

Defenses to Sexual Offenses

If you're accused of committing any sex crime, you should seek the advice of a local Missouri sex crime defense attorney or a public defender. An experience attorney can help determine what defense strategy is best for you. Several of the possible defenses include:

  • Consent - When you can show that the person you had sexual contact with was capable and did consent to all of the sexual acts involved.
  • Innocence or false allegations - You didn't do it. Your current or former romantic partner may want to hurt you by accusing you of rape. Proving you couldn't have done it because you weren't there, i.e. that you have an alibi, will help you defend yourself .
  • Insanity - If you or a loved one were acting under a mental disorder at the time or couldn't understand that the sexual act was legally prohibited, you may have an insanity defense.

Missouri Rape and Sexual Assault Laws: Statutes

The Missouri rape, sodomy, and sexual Abuse laws are outlined in the table below. For more information, see the FindLaw Sex Crimes section.

Code Sections

Missouri Chapter 566: Sexual Offenses

  • 566.030 - Rape in the first degree: Sexual intercourse (penetration of a vagina by a penis, even if slight or without emission) with a person who's incapacitated, incapable of consent, or by force (includes date rape drugs)
  • 566.031 - Rape in the second degree: having sexual intercourse with another person knowing he or she doesn't consent
  • 566.032 - Statutory rape in the first degree: having sexual intercourse with a person under 14 years old
  • 566.034 - Statutory rape in the second degree: sexual intercourse between a person 21 or older with a victim less than 17 years old (i.e. 14, 15, or 16 year olds)
  • 566.060 - Sodomy in the first degree: "deviate sexual intercourse" (oral or anal sex or penetration or the victim's vagina or anus by a finger or object) with a person who's incapacitated, incapable of consent, or by force (includes date rape drugs)
  • 566.061 - Sodomy in the second degree: "deviate sexual intercourse" knowing the victim doesn't consent
  • 566.062 - Statutory sodomy in the first degree: "deviate sexual intercourse" with a person less than 14 years old
  • 566.064 - Statutory sodomy in the second degree: "deviate sexual intercourse" with a person less than 17 (i.e. 14, 15, or 16 year olds) when the defendant is 21 or older
  • 566.100 - Sexual abuse in the first degree: subjecting a person to "sexual contact" (touching genitals, anus, or breasts directly or through clothes to arouse anyone) when the person is incapacitated, can't consent, or by force
  • 566.101 - Sexual abuse in the second degree: subjecting a person to sexual contact without that person's consent

Penalty Levels

Penalties vary depending on the conduct committed, the force used, and the age of the victim:

  • Class A felony - 1st degree rape and sodomy with serious physical injury, using a weapon, or of a child less than 12
  • Class B felony - 1st degree rape and sodomy (except above), 1st degree sexual abuse with serious physical injury, deadly weapon, or of child under 14
  • Class C felony - 2nd degree rape or sodomy, statutory rape or sodomy in the 2nd degree, 1st degree sexual abuse (except above)
  • Class D felony - 2nd degree sexual abuse with prior sex offense, using a deadly weapon, or if committed as part of ceremony or ritual
  • Class A misdemeanor - 2nd degree sexual abuse (except above)

Penalties

Punishments for felonies and misdemeanors in Missouri vary by class. The penalty ranges by offense class are:

  • Class A felony - imprisonment for 10-30 years or life imprisonment (Note: Rape using a weapon or with serious physical injury has a 15-year minimum, whereas the same for sodomy has a 10-year minimum. Also, rape or sodomy in the first degree of a child under 12 has a mandatory life in prison without release for 30 years or 15 years if offender is 75 years or older. If the rape or sodomy of a child was particularly vile or involved torture, no parole option is available.)
  • Class B felony - imprisonment for 5-15 years
  • Class C felony - imprisonment for 7 years or less and/or a fine up to $5,000
  • Class D felony - imprisonment for 4 years or less and/or a fine up to $5,000
  • Class A misdemeanor - jail for one year or less and up to a $1,000 fine

Sex Offender Registry: In addition to any prison sentence and fines you may incur, you will almost certainly be placed on the national sex offender registry which has a serious impact on where you can live, where you can work, and what your neighbors and friends will think of you when they find you on the registry. For several years to the rest of your life, you'd need to check in with your local police on a regular basis.

Civil Case

Sexual battery (harmful or offensive sexual touching) can result in the victim suing their abuser. A civil lawsuit for financial compensation is separate from any criminal case for the sexual offenses. If you're a victim of sexual assault, you may want to consult with a personal injury attorney about suing your abuser. If you've been accused of a sexual crime, be aware that a civil suit is possible and you may need to hire a civil defense attorney in addition to your criminal defense attorney or public defender.


Note: State laws are constantly changing -- it's important to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

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Missouri Sexual Assault Laws: Related Resources

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