Age of Consent, Child Molestation, & Statutory Rape in Missouri
Age of consent laws varies from state to state throughout the United States. Often, they are confusing as typically there is not just one age that becomes the cutoff, such as the ability to buy alcohol at age 21. The laws were created this way to prevent a 17-year-old from getting in trouble for being in a relationship with someone who could be only a week younger, but hasn’t had their 17th birthday yet.
If you have been charged with statutory rape, child molestation, or if you are unsure if your relationship is legal, contacting an experienced criminal defense attorney will ensure that you understand all of your rights and responsibilities.
Learn more about Twibell Pierson Criminal Law
Definition of Sexual Conduct
Firstly, it is important to define how sexual conduct has been defined in Missouri. Sexual conduct includes sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, and sexual contact
Sexual Intercourse is defined rather simply in Missouri. It is considered any penetration of the female genitalia by a penis. Other types of activity that might otherwise be considered sexual intercourse are defined in the two other categories.
Deviate Sexual Intercourse includes any act involving the genitals of one person and the hand, mouth, tongue, or anus of another person. It also includes the penetration of the penis, female genitalia, or anus by a finger or another object.
Lastly, Sexual Contact includes either someone touching another person with their genitals or touching the genitals, anus, or female breast of another person (even through clothing) for the purpose of sexual gratification or to terrorize the other person.
Note that per these definitions, kissing alone does not meet the standard for sexual conduct.
Age of Consent for Sexual Conduct
- Anyone 13 and younger cannot consent to any sexual conduct
- A 14-year-old could consent to sexual activity with someone from age 14 to age 17
- A 15-year-old could consent to sexual activity with someone from age 14 to age 18
- A 16-year-old could consent to sexual activity with someone from age 14 to age 19
- A 17-year-old could consent to sexual activity with someone from age 14 and older
Between two people of different ages, it does not matter the genders of who is older and who is younger.
Statutory Rape vs. Child Molestation
If two people engage in sexual activity outside the age ranges listed above, the older of the two could be charged with either statutory rape or child molestation, depending on how far apart the ages of the two participants are.
If the younger of the two people is 13 or less, no matter the age of the other person, the older participant could be charged with Child Molestation in the First Degree, which is a Class A felony. Further, if the younger person is 11 or less, the felony will come with no possibility of parole.
If the younger of the two people is between 14 and 16 and the other person is over 21, they could be charged with Statutory Rape in the Second Degree, which is a Class D felony.
If the younger of the two people is between 14 and 16, if the older person is both younger than 21 but four or more years older than the other person, they could be charged with Child Molestation in the Fourth Degree, which is a Class E felony.
Twibell Pierson Criminal Law has defended many cases that revolved around the age of consent. With a great track record of success, if you or a loved one find themselves in a situation outlined above, immediately call to get an attorney on your side.