There are many types of sex crimes as defined by Mississippi law. These include:
- Rape, including acquaintance rape, date rape and spousal rape
- Statutory rape (sex with a minor)
- Sexual assault
- Sexual abuse
- Child molestation
- Internet sex crimes
- Trafficking in child pornography
- Pimping, pandering and/or prostitution
- Sexual harassment
- Indecent exposure
- Lewd and lascivious conduct
- Unnatural intercourse
- Any other illegal sexual behavior
There are a number of sex crimes that are regarded as misdemeanors. These include prostitution and pimping (also known as pandering), indecent exposure, and lewd and lascivious conduct. Someone convicted of prostitution can expect a sentence of a fine of up to $200 and/or jail time for up to six months.
Sex crimes also involve some of the most serious crimes with extremely harsh penalties, including:
Rape: This is a felony that can lead to a punishment of up to life imprisonment. It is common in rape cases for there to be no witnesses. Many cases are therefore decided by juries on the basis of which party has more credibility – the accused or the alleged victim. The defense against a rape charge is often going to depend on the cross-examination skills of the defense attorney.
Statutory rape: This is a case in which an older person has sexual intercourse with a child. In Mississippi, the children in these cases are always considered to be insufficiently mature to understand the consequences of their actions. Consequently, regardless of whether the child consented to the intercourse or even encouraged it, if the prosecution can prove that the intercourse actually took place, then the older person is guilty of statutory rape. This is known as a “strict liability” crime, in which the act itself, regardless of the actions of both parties beforehand, is a crime.
With statutory rape, the penalty can vary according to the age of both the victim and the convicted individual. If the convicted criminal is between 18 and 21 years old and the victim is 14 to 16, then the penalty can be up to five years in jail. If the convicted criminal is 21 or over and the victim is 14 to 16 years old, then the penalty is anything up to 30 years in jail.
If the victim is less than 14 years old, then the penalty can be life imprisonment or any term of imprisonment that the court decides.
Child pornography: This felony includes the manufacture, distribution and possession of child pornography. It has extremely serious penalties – for a first offense, a minimum of five years in jail to a maximum of 40 years and a fine of up to $500,000. For a second offense, the penalty is a minimum of 20 years and a maximum of life imprisonment and fines of up to $1 million.
Mississippi Sex Offender Registry: Mississippi requires those convicted of certain types of sex crimes to be entered onto a state register of sex offenders. These crimes include:
- Kidnapping, if the victim was below the age of 18
- Statutory rape
- Rape and assault with intent to ravish
- Sexual battery
- Enticing a child for concealment, prostitution or marriage
- Touching of a child or a mentally defective, incapacitated or physically helpless person for lustful purposes
- Dissemination of sexually oriented material to children; computer luring of a minor to engage in sexual conduct
- Exploitation of a child
- Carnal knowledge of a stepchild, adopted child or child of a cohabiting partner
- Unnatural intercourse
- Attempt to commit any of the above-referenced offenses
- Adultery or fornication between teacher and pupil
- Sexual abuse of a vulnerable adult
- Procuring sexual servitude of a minor
- Filming another without permission when there is an expectation of privacy
- Any offense that would be considered one of the above in Mississippi committed in another jurisdiction
- Any offense committed in another jurisdiction for which registration is required in that jurisdiction
Being charged with a sex crime can be a most traumatic experience. Sex crimes can arouse strong emotions in your family, among co-workers, among your neighbors and in the media. The prospect of being placed on a sex offender registry creates the possibility of being blighted for life.
Amidst all this emotion, your own judgment may be affected. Anyone accused of a sex crime must get an experienced attorney to represent them so that no errors that jeopardize your defense are made.