A bill in the Missouri General Assembly would change the age of consent in Missouri from a minimum of 14 years old.
The bill defines statutory rape as someone 18 years of age or older having sexual intercourse with someone 15 years of age or younger.
The bill removes gender from the language of the law, allowing both men and women to be prosecuted for statutory rape.
The bill “changes the laws regarding the age of victims and offenders in various sexual offenses,” according to the Missouri General Assembly Web site.
Rep. Stanley Cox, R-Sedalia, is sponsoring the bill.
“The present law only applies to children 13 and younger and should be included to protect children older than 13,” Cox said.
On Jan. 9, the bill was read in its first hearing. The bill was read in a second hearing Jan. 10. After the second reading, the bill was referred to the Crime Prevention and Public Safety Committee for approval.
The committee has not yet endorsed the bill, and no one has testified in opposition of the bill.
If the committee approves it, the bill will be debated on the House floor.
“There is no way to know if it will pass, but I think it has a good chance of passing if it gets to floor debate,” Cox said.
According to the Missouri General Assembly Web site there is not another hearing scheduled to discuss the bill and the bill is not currently on a calendar in the House.
“I think the bill will pass in the House, but it is difficult to say what will happen,” Cox said.