Legislators working on rewriting the state’s criminal code are now examining the language of sex crimes.
State representatives and senators are working to bring Missouri’s criminal code up to date, and part of that is rewriting definitions and penalties for sex crimes.
Lisa Keithley tells the committee that she was sexually assaulted while sedated at the hospital, but because of language regarding consent, her aggressor received a minimal punishment: A year in county jail and two years probation.
Missouri Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence Direcotr Colleen Coble says the current statute also doesn’t go far enough in defining forcible rape. She says right now, when a man is raped, state law doesn’t call it rape, it defines it as deviant sexual intercourse. She is recommending the committee also look at language in crimes of stalking, harrassing, lack of consent, how sex organs and genitalia are defined, and adult abuse acts.
She says because Missouri law is currently used as a model, especially in cases of aggravated stalking, it’s important certain language be preserved, and other usages updated or changed. She says legislation might want to include a definition of consent.
AUDIO: Lisa Keithley testifies (3:46)
Coble is pushing for gender neutrality in rewriting the laws, which others speaking on crimes regarding drugs and violence have also recommended.
The committee meets one more time before drafting recommendations to hand over to legislative leadership. The last time Missouri’s criminal code was updated was 1977.