The Joint Committee on the Criminal Code had its fourth meeting yesterday and finally got to take some public testimony. I was dismayed to hear people who represent domestic violence shelters and children separately detail several huge loopholes in Missouri’s laws against rape and child sexual abuse. For example:
- Statutory rape in the first degree is not considered a dangerous felony.
- Sex offenders are allowed to be placed in a 120 day treatment program, and if they are, that’s not allowed to be held against them later if they re-offend.
- First-degree statutory rape sentences may be run concurrently, allowing perpetrators to get out early.
- Incest is not an aggravating factor to increasing the severity of a charge.
- SIS and SES is not allowed for first degree or forcible rape, but it is allowed for first-degree statutory rape and sodomy.
- The definition of forcible rape does not include rape that occurs when the victim is incapacitated when the incapacity is caused by someone other than the perpetrator – for example, a drugged hospital patient who took pain medication after surgery.
I plan to file legislation next year to fix all of these problems. Statutory rape should be considered a dangerous felony. Sex offenders shouldn’t be given slap-on-the-wrist 120 day treatment sentences. SIS and SES shouldn’t be allowed for statutory rape or sodomy. And the definition of rape should be updated to include incapacity.