What is Rape Shield Law and What are its Punishments in Kansas?
In 1976, Kansas passed its Rape Shield Law. This law aims to limit the use of the past sex history of the victim. Kansas does not make any differentiation regarding the gender of the victim of rape, and so, this law applies equally to men and women victims. The act of rape as defined by the state involves:
- Engaging in a definite manner in sexual intercourse with a non-consenting victim to perform,
- The act of overcoming the victim by force or by use of fear, or
- Engaging in sexual intercourse with an unconscious or physically powerless victim
- Having sex with the victim when the latter is not capable of giving consent because of various conditions including mental deficiency, disease or when the victim is not capable of giving consent because of consumption of liquor or narcotics or any substance which the perpetrator knew of
- Having sex with a victim who gave consent because of a misrepresentation made by the offender
Kansas reported an 8.1 percent increase in the number of rapes in the state in the year 2017 over the number reported in the previous year. About 13.2 percent of rapes in the state were cleared by arrest which signified a decrease of about 3 percent in the same period in the year 2016.
In Kansas, the age of consent is sixteen years. This is the minimum age at which an individual can legally give their consent to participate in sexual activity. Kansas statutory rape will be broken when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with anyone under the age of sixteen.
Most of the victims of rape were whites (87 percent) and about 97.4 were females. The victims were mostly less than 25 years of age. Most of the rapists were whites and males and aged between 15 and 29. Most rape crimes in the state occurred during weekends and most of the rapes took place between midnight and two o’clock in the morning.
The Kansas Rape Shield law applies to cases of rape as defined by K.S. A, 21-3502 and involve indecent liberties with children, as well as aggravated indecent liberties with children.
This law also covers sodomy and aggravated criminal sodomy as well as aa aggravated indecent solicitation of a child. The aim of this law is to protect victims and give law enforcement the tools required to successfully prosecute the rapist.
Kansas Rape Shield law protects the victim whose past sexual history may not be admitted in a court of law. It also prevents reference to any proceeding before the court, except under certain conditions.
These conditions include the defendant submitting written motions in court to admit evidence or testimony concerning the victim’s previous sexual conduct with anyone including the defendant. In addition, this motion must be made at least a week before the proceeding commence unless the court waives this condition.
The state defines two degrees of rape crime and each has its own associated punishment. In case the rape is considered a Severity Level 1, then:
- If the victim is under 14 years of age, or
- If the rapist knew of the victim’s incapacitation, or
- If the victim was not able to consent because of mental deficiency, or
- If the victim was unconscious or not physically able, or
- If the victim was afraid or under threat of force, then
The punishment would be 155 months in prison.
In Severity Level 2 cases, if consent was obtained through a misrepresentation (knowingly) of necessity, then the punishment for such an offense would be 117 months in prison. For criminal sodomy, the punishment in the state of Kansas is 59 months in prison. Punishment for rape in the state varies according to the age of the victim.