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Missouri's legal definitions of rape

Thursday, November 29, 2012 | 10:46 p.m. CST

The accusations against Michael Dixon Jr., who announced Thursday evening that he is transferring from MU and leaving the Missouri men's basketball team, have created discussion about what constitutes rape.

The Missourian has gathered definitions and information from Missouri statutes to help readers understand the issue and its legal ramifications.

Missouri law includes these definitions of rape:

  • Forcible rape is sexual intercourse by “forcible compulsion.” This may include drugs, intimidation and physical restraint. Punishment for the crime includes at least five years in prison.
    • If the victim suffers serious injury, a deadly/dangerous weapon is displayed or the victim is forced to have intercourse with more than one person, the offense is punishable by a minimum of 15 years.
    • If the victim is a child younger than 12, there's a minimum of a lifetime sentence with parole eligibility after 30 years.
    • If the victim is a child younger than 12 and the crime involved mental or physical torture, minimum is life without parole.
  • Statutory rape in the first degree is committed when a person has sexual intercourse with another person who is less than 14 years old.
  • Statutory rape in the second degree is when someone 21 years old or older has sexual intercourse with someone younger than 17.
  • The crime is charged as sodomy, instead of rape, if the act is deviate sexual intercourse instead of regular sexual intercourse. Deviate sexual intercourse is an action done for the purpose of “arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person” or to terrorize the victim.

Missouri statistics

In 2009, 1,615 forcible rape reports were documented by the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Crime In Missouri report. In 2011, the Missouri Uniform Crime Reporting Program listed 1,464 cases of forcible rape and attempted rape. So far this year, the program has reported 800 cases of forcible and attempted rape.


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