WHAT CONSTITUTES A LEWD ACT?
Posted: May 09, 2017
Lewd conduct is any unlawful act committed by a person with the purpose of sexually arousing himself or herself, or even the individual towards which this action is directed. In Missouri, lewd conduct crimes involve sexual misconduct (commonly known as indecent exposure), which means exposing genitalia to others in public.
Sexual misconduct in Missouri is a criminal offense that is divided into three types with varying degrees of severity and associated penalties: sexual misconduct in the first degree, sexual misconduct in the second degree, and sexual misconduct involving a child.
First-degree sexual misconduct is defined as exposing one’s genitalia knowing it will likely alarm another person, having sexual contact in the presence of others and causing intentional alarm, or sexual intercourse in a public place in the presence of other people. It is considered a Class B misdemeanor, punishable by a maximum jail sentence of six months and a fine of up to $500. However, if a person who committed first-degree sexual misconduct has a prior conviction, then it is a Class A misdemeanor, resulting in a maximum jail sentence of one year and a fine of up to $1,000.
Sexual misconduct in the second degree is requesting sexual conduct from someone else in a manner that will likely cause alarm, which is also known as solicitation. It is considered a Class C misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum jail sentence of 15 days and a fine of up to $300.
Lastly, sexual misconduct involving a child entails exposing one’s genitalia to a minor child under 15 years of age knowing it will likely cause alarm, coercing a minor under 15 to expose their genitalia for sexual gratification, or coercing a female less than 15 years old to expose her breasts online or through electronic means – such as text message – for the sexual gratification of anyone. It is a Class D felony, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of four years and a fine of up to $5,000. However, if the defendant had a prior sex offense conviction, then the crime of sexual misconduct involving a child is elevated to a Class C felony, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of seven years.