What is the legal definition of child molestation and gratification of lust?

02/01/2007 - Category:Criminal - child molestation - State: MS #1390

Full Question:

I need to know the legal definition for child molestation and gratification of lust. Is gratification of lust considered a lesser charge? What constitutes the differences between the two charges? If someone goes before the grand jury on child molestation charges and the grand jury does not indict on these charges, but does indict on gratification of lust what does that mean?

Answer:

Molestation has been defined as the crime of sexual acts with children up to the age of 18, including touching of private parts, exposure of genitalia, taking of pornographic pictures, rape, and various sexual acts with the molester or with other children. Incest by a relative with a minor family member and any unwanted sexual acts with adults short of rape may also constitute molestation. Mississippi statutes do not use the term “molestation.”

SEC. 97-5-23. Touching, handling, etc., child.

(1) Any person above the age of eighteen (18) years, who, for the purpose of gratifying his or her lust, or indulging his or her depraved licentious sexual desires, shall handle, touch or rub with hands or any part of his or her body or any member thereof, any child under the age of fourteen (14) years, with or without the child's consent, shall be guilty of a felony and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined in a sum not less than One Thousand Dollars ($1,000.00) nor more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or be committed to the custody of the State Department of Corrections not less than two (2) years nor more than fifteen (15) years, or be punished by both such fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.

Miss. Code Ann. § 97-5-23, has also been called the "gratification of lust" statute and the "unlawful touching" statute.

SEC. 97-3-95. Sexual battery.

(1) A person is guilty of sexual battery if he or she engages in sexual penetration with:
(a) another person without his or her consent;
(b) A mentally defective, mentally incapacitated or physically helpless person; or
(c) A child under the age of fourteen (14) years

(2) A person is guilty of sexual battery if he or she engages in sexual penetration with a child of fourteen (14) but less than eighteen (18) years if the person is in a position of trust or authority over the child including without limitation the child's teacher, counselor, physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, minister, priest, physical therapist, chiropractor, legal guardian, parent, stepparent, aunt, uncle, scout leader or coach.

SEC. 97-3-101. Sexual battery; punishment.

(1) Every person who shall be convicted of sexual battery under Section 97- 3-95(1)(a), (b), or (2) shall be imprisoned in the State Penitentiary for a period of not more than thirty (30) years, and for a second or subsequent such offense shall be imprisoned in the penitentiary for not more than forty (40) years.
(2) (a) Every person who shall be convicted of sexual battery under Section 97-3-95(1)(c) who is at least eighteen (18) but under twenty-one (21) years of age shall be imprisoned for not more than five (5) years in the State Penitentiary or fined not more than Five Thousand Dollars ($5,000.00), or both;
(b) Every person who shall be convicted of sexual battery under Section 97- 3-95(1)(c) who is twenty-one (21) years of age or older shall be imprisoned not more than thirty (30) years in the State Penitentiary or fined not more than Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000.00), or both, for the first offense, and not more than forty (40) years in the State Penitentiary for each subsequent offense.

(3) Every person who shall be convicted of sexual battery under Section 97- 3-95(1)(d) who is eighteen (18) years of age or older shall be imprisoned for life in the State Penitentiary or such lesser term of imprisonment as the court may determine, but not less than twenty (20) years.
(4) Every person who shall be convicted of sexual battery who is thirteen (13) years of age or older but under eighteen (18) years of age shall be sentenced to such imprisonment, fine or other sentence as the court, in its discretion, may determine.


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02/01/2007 - Category: child molestation - State: MS #1390

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