Sexual Misconduct Law & Legal Definition


Sexual misconduct encompasses a range of behavior used to obtain sexual gratification against another’s will or at the expense of another. Sexual Misconduct includes sexual harassment, sexual assault, and any conduct of a sexual nature that is without consent, or has the effect of threatening or intimidating the person against whom such conduct is directed. State laws vary on defining acts which constitute sexual misconduct. Generally sexual misconduct can involve any of the following acts:

  • Intentional touching without consent;
  • Exposing his or her genitals under circumstances likely to cause affront or alarm;
  • Having sexual contact in the presence of a third person or persons under circumstances likely to cause affront or alarm;
  • Having sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse in a public place in the presence of a third person;
  • Soliciting or requesting another person to engage in sexual conduct under circumstances in which he knows that his requests or solicitation is likely to cause affront or alarm;
  • Forcing a victim to touch, directly or through clothing, another person's genitals, breast, groin, thighs or buttocks;
  • Vaginal or anal intercourse;
  • Fellatio or cunnilingus;
  • Sexual penetration with an object without consent.

Example of a State Statute ( Missouri) on Sexual Misconduct.

§ 566.090 R.S.Mo. Sexual misconduct, first degree, penalties

1. A person commits the crime of sexual misconduct in the first degree if such person purposely subjects another person to sexual contact without that person's consent.

2. Sexual misconduct in the first degree is a class A misdemeanor unless the actor has previously been convicted of an offense under this chapter or unless in the course thereof the actor displays a deadly weapon in a threatening manner or the offense is committed as a part of a ritual or ceremony, in which case it is a class D felony.

§ 566.093 R.S.Mo. Sexual misconduct, second degree, penalties

1. A person commits the crime of sexual misconduct in the second degree if such person:

(1) Exposes his or her genitals under circumstances in which he or she knows that his or her conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm;

(2) Has sexual contact in the presence of a third person or persons under circumstances in which he or she knows that such conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm; or

(3) Has sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse in a public place in the presence of a third person.

2. Sexual misconduct in the second degree is a class B misdemeanor unless the actor has previously been convicted of an offense under this chapter, in which case it is a class A misdemeanor.

§ 566.095 R.S.Mo. Sexual misconduct, third degree, penalty

1. A person commits the crime of sexual misconduct in the third degree if he solicits or requests another person to engage in sexual conduct under circumstances in which he knows that his requests or solicitation is likely to cause affront or alarm.

2. Sexual misconduct in the third degree is a class C misdemeanor.

§ 566.083 R.S.Mo. Sexual misconduct involving a child, penalty -- applicability of section -- affirmative defense not allowed, when

1. A person commits the crime of sexual misconduct involving a child if the person:

(1) Knowingly exposes his or her genitals to a child less than fifteen years of age under circumstances in which he or she knows that his or her conduct is likely to cause affront or alarm to the child;

(2) Knowingly exposes his or her genitals to a child less than fifteen years of age for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person, including the child; or

(3) Knowingly coerces or induces a child less than fifteen years of age to expose the child's genitals for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person, including the child.

2. The provisions of this section shall apply regardless of whether the person violates the section in person or via the Internet or other electronic means.

3. It is not an affirmative defense to prosecution for a violation of this section that the other person was a peace officer masquerading as a minor.

4. Sexual misconduct involving a child or attempted sexual misconduct involving a child is a class D felony unless the actor has previously pleaded guilty to or been found guilty of an offense pursuant to this chapter or the actor has previously pleaded guilty to or has been convicted of an offense against the laws of another state or jurisdiction which would constitute an offense under this chapter, in which case it is a class C felony.