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Punitive Articles of the UCMJ

Article 120—Rape and carnal knowledge

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Text.

“(a) Any person subject to this chapter who commits an act of sexual intercourse by force and without consent, is guilty of rape and shall be punished by death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.”

(b) Any person subject to this chapter who, under circumstances not amounting to rape, commits an act of sexual intercourse with a person—

    (1) who is not his or her spouse; and

    (2) who has not attained the age of sixteen years, is guilty of carnal knowledge and shall be punished as a court-martial may direct.

(c) Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete either of these offenses.

(d)

    (1) In a prosecution under subsection (b), it is an affirmative defense that—

      (A) the person with whom the accused committed the act of sexual intercourse had at the time of the alleged offense attained the age of twelve years; and

      (B) the accused reasonably believed that the person had at the time of the alleged offense attained the age of 16 years.

    (2) The accused has the burden of proving a defense under subparagraph (d)(1) by a preponderance of the evidence.

Elements.

(1) Rape.

    (a) That the accused committed an act of sexual intercourse; and

    (b) That the act of sexual intercourse was done by force and without consent.

(2) Carnal knowledge.

    (a) That the accused committed an act of sexual intercourse with a certain person;

    (b) That the person was not the accused’s spouse; and

    (c) That at the time of the sexual intercourse the person was under 16 years of age.

Explanation.

(1) Rape.

    (a) Nature of offense. Rape is sexual intercourse by a person, executed by force and without consent of the victim. It may be committed on a victim of any age. Any penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense.

    (b) Force and lack of consent. Force and lack of consent are necessary to the offense. Thus, if the victim consents to the act, it is not rape. The lack of consent required, however, is more than mere lack of acquiescence. If a victim in possession of his or her mental faculties fails to make lack of consent reasonably manifest by taking such measures of resistance as are called for by the circumstances, the inference may be drawn that the victim did consent. Consent, however, may not be inferred if resistance would have been futile, where resistance is over-come by threats of death or great bodily harm, or where the victim is unable to resist because of the lack of mental or physical faculties. In such a case there is no consent and the force involved in penetration will suffice. All the surrounding circumstances are to be considered in determining whether a victim gave consent, or whether he or she failed or ceased to resist only because of a reasonable fear of death or grievous bodily harm. If there is actual consent, although obtained by fraud, the act is not rape, but if to the accused’s knowledge the victim is of unsound mind or unconscious to an extent rendering him or her incapable of giving consent, the act is rape. Likewise, the acquiescence of a child of such tender years that he or she is incapable of under-standing the nature of the act is not consent.

    (c) Character of victim. See Mil. R. Evid. 412, concerning rules of evidence relating to an alleged rape victim’s character.

(2) Carnal knowledge. “Carnal knowledge” i s sexual intercourse under circumstances not amounting to rape, with a person who is not the accused’s spouse and who has not attained the age of 16 years. Any penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense. It is a defense, however, which the accused must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that at the time of the act of sexual intercourse, the person with whom the accused committed the act of sexual intercourse was at least 12 years of age, and that the accused reasonably believed that this same person was at least 16 years of age.

Lesser included offenses.

(1) Rape.

(2) Carnal knowledge.

Maximum punishment.

(1) Rape. Death or such other punishment as a court-martial may direct.

(2) Carnal knowledge with a child who, at the time of the offense, has attained the age of 12 years. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for 20 years.

(3) Carnal knowledge with a child under the age of 12 years at the time of the offense. Dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and allowances, and confinement for life without eligibility for parole.

Next Article> Article 121-Larceny and wrongful appropriation >

Above Information from Manual for Court Martial, 2002, Chapter 4, Paragraph 45

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