In Missouri, it is against the law for someone to knowingly exposure his
or her genitalia or private parts to others in public, thereby causing
alarm. Although this
sex crime is commonly known as “indecent exposure” or “public
lewdness” in other states, it is referred to as “sexual misconduct” in Missouri.
The following are the three types of sexual misconduct charges in the state:
First-degree sexual misconduct – Exposing one’s genitals knowing it will likely alarm another,
having sexual contact in the presence of others knowing it will likely
alarm them, or having sexual intercourse in a public place in presence
of another individual or more.
Second-degree sexual misconduct – Requesting sexual conduct from someone else in a manner which
will likely cause alarm. This is also referred to as “solicitation.”
Sexual misconduct involving a child – Exposing one’s genitals to a child under 15 years of age
knowing it will likely alarm them or for the sexual gratification of another
person, coercing a child of under 15 to expose their genitals for the
sexual gratification of any individual including the child, or coercing
a girl of less than 15 years old to expose her breasts over the internet
or through electronic means (.e.g. texts, emails) for the sexual gratification
While first- and second-degree sexual misconduct are considered misdemeanors,
sexual misconduct involving a child is classified as a felony.
Common Defenses to Sexual Misconduct
Sexual misconduct is a combination of both intentional and reckless conduct.
The intentional component often focuses on the exposure of the genitals.
For instance, did the individual intend to unzip his pants, or did he
accidentally forget to zip his pants back up after using the restroom?
If the defendant can show that the intent was an accident, he has a chance
to win his case.
The reckless component focuses on the conduct surrounding the exposure.
For example, if a male defendant publicly urinated on an alley wall, the
question is if he was reckless about whether or not a child or others
would see the act. If a defendant’s attorney presents evidence that
the defendant took steps to avoid having others view his genitals, such
going behind a dumpster where no other person can see, then he could negate
the reckless part of a sexual misconduct charge.
When it comes to cases involving children, a common defense is to present
a mistake of fact, in regard to the child’s age. Although a defendant
essentially admits that the exposure occurred, he did not intend for the
child to be the recipient.
If you have been arrested for sexual misconduct in Missouri,
request a free consultation with our
Springfield criminal defense attorney at
Worsham Law Firm today.