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Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years

Facing a court-martial, UCMJ action, Administrative Separation Board, or other Adverse Administrative Action for Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years? Call our experienced military defense lawyers at 1-800-921-8607 for a free consultation.

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Note: This law applies only to Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years offenses committed on and after 1 January 2019.

What is Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years?

Article 120B Ucmj Rape By Threatening Or Placing In Fear A Child Who Has Attained The Age Of 12 YearsArticle 120b of the UCMJ addresses the crime of raping a child aged 12 or older through threats or fear. This offense carries severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences, dishonorable discharge, and mandatory sex offender registration. The prosecution does not need to prove the accused knew the victim’s age, complicating the defense. Those accused face legal repercussions, significant social stigma, and life-long consequences. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.)

Accusations under Article 120b UCMJ necessitate the immediate assistance of the best military defense lawyers. These legal professionals can navigate the complexities of military law, scrutinize the evidence, and craft a robust defense to protect the accused’s rights. A conviction’s severe penalties and lifelong implications underscore the importance of having experienced Article 120 UCMJ lawyers

to ensure a fair trial and the best possible outcome.

If you or someone you know is facing charges under Article 120b UCMJ, it is crucial to seek prompt legal assistance to safeguard your future.

Note: The maximum and minimum punishments for Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years vary depending on the date of the offense.

In the military, the crime of Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years falls under the general offense category of Rape of a Child. It is one of the most serious offenses under the UCMJ and carries significant mandatory punishments. Offenses committed after December 27, 2023, carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence ranging from 240-480 months (20 to 40 years) and a mandatory Dishonorable Discharge or Dismissal. If convicted, the defendant must register as a Federal and State sex offender.

What are the Elements of Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years?

  1. That (state the time and place alleged), the accused committed (a) sexual  act(s) upon (state name of the alleged victim) by (state the alleged sexual act); and

  2. That the accused did so by threatening (state the name of the alleged person threatened) or placing (state the name of the alleged victim) in fear; and

  3. That at the time of the sexual act (state the name of the alleged victim) had attained the age of 12 years but had not attained the age of 16 years.

What are the Article 120b UCMJ Rape of a Child Offenses?

What are the Maximum Punishments for Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years?

For offenses committed between 1 January 2019 and 27 December 2023:

  • Life without eligibility
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • A Dishonorable Discharge or a dismissal is a mandatory minimum sentence for this offense.
  • Federal Felony Conviction
  • Registration as a State & Federal Sex Offender

For offenses committed after 27 December 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years is a Category 5 Offense
  • Mandatory confinement ranges from 240-480 months (20 to 40 years)
  • A Dishonorable Discharge or a Dismissal is a mandatory minimum sentence for this offense.
  • Federal Felony Conviction
  • Registration as a State & Federal Sex Offender
  • Note: The Military Judge MAY impose a period of confinement less than the jurisdictional maximum period of confinement upon finding specific facts that warrant such a sentence. Manual for Courts-Martial, United States (2024 ed.), Appendix 12B-C

Combined UCMJ Maximum Punishment Charts

Sample Specification for Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years

In that SPC Dillan Mullins, US Army, 5th Chemical Regiment, did, Fort Moore, Georgia, on or about 4 July 2025, commit a sexual act upon Jane Victim, a child who had attained the age of 12 years but had not attained the age of 16 years, by causing contact between Jane Victim’s mouth and SPC Dillan Mullins’s penis, with an intent to arouse the sexual desire of SPC Dillan Mullins, by placing Jane Victim in fear.

Model Specification for Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years

In that ________ (personal jurisdiction data), did (at/on board—location), on or about ______ 20__, commit a sexual act upon __________, a child who had attained the age of 12 years but had not attained the age of 16 years, by [penetrating ___________’s (vulva) (anus) (mouth) with __________’s penis] [causing contact between _______’s mouth and ________’s (penis) (vulva) (scrotum) (anus)] [penetrating _______’s (vulva) (penis) (anus) with (______’s body part) (an object) to wit:______, with an intent to [(abuse) (humiliate) (harass) (degrade) _______] [(arouse) (gratify) the sexual desire of _________]] [intentionally touching, not through the clothing, the genitalia of _________, with an intent to [(abuse) (humiliate) (harass) (degrade) _______] [(arouse) (gratify) the sexual desire of _________]], by (threatening ______) (placing _______ in fear).

What are the Definitions for Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years?

“Sexual act” means: (A) the penetration, however slight, of the penis into the vulva or anus or mouth; (B) contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, scrotum, or anus; (C) the penetration, however slight, of the vulva or penis or anus of another by any part of the body or any object, with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, or degrade any person or to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person; or (D) the intentional touching, not through the clothing, of the genitalia of another person who has not attained the age of 16 years with an intent to abuse, humiliate, harass, degrade, or arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.

“Child” means any person who has not attained the age of 16 years.

The prosecution is not required to prove the accused knew the age of (state the name of the alleged victim) at the time the alleged sexual act(s) occurred.

The “vulva” is the external genital organs of the female, including the entrance of the vagina and the labia majora and labia minora.

“Labia” is the Latin and medically correct term for “lips.”

Marriage. Marriage is not a defense for Rape of a Child under Article 120b UCMJ.

By force in Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years cases. When the sexual act is alleged by force, include the following instructions:

“Force” means the use of a weapon; the use of such physical strength or violence as is sufficient to overcome, restrain or injure a child; or inflicting physical harm.

In a parent-child or similar relationship, the use or abuse of parental or similar authority is sufficient to constitute the use of force.

The force that caused the victim to engage in the sexual act need not have been applied by the accused to the victim. It is sufficient if the accused applied such force to any person, which thereby caused the victim to engage in the sexual act.)

By threat in Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years Cases. When the sexual act is alleged by threat or by placing in fear, include the following instructions:

“Threatening or placing a child in fear” means a communication or action that is of sufficient consequence to cause the child to fear that non-compliance will result in the child or another person being subjected to the action contemplated by the communication or action.

In proving that a person made a threat, it need not be proven that the person intended to carry out the threat or could carry it out.

The person subject to the action contemplated by the threat need not be the victim. It is sufficient if the accused threatened or placed the victim in fear that any person would subject to the action contemplated by the threat, which thereby caused the victim to engage in the sexual act.

Evidence of consent in Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years Cases

Generally, the elements of an Article 120b(a)(2) offense require the accused to have committed sexual conduct “by” a certain method. Stated another way, “by” means the sexual conduct occurred because of that method. Consent logically precludes that causal link; when the alleged victim consented, the sexual conduct occurred because of the consent, not because of the charged method.

Accordingly, if the alleged offense is Rape of a Child who has attained the age of 12 years by using force or threatening or placing the child in fear, evidence that the alleged victim consented to the sexual conduct at issue may be relevant to negate an element, even though lack of consent may not be a separate element. In such situations, the following instruction, properly tailored, would be appropriate.

Reasonable Doubt in Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years Cases

This instruction is not applicable where the alleged offense is Rape of a Child who has attained the age of 12 years by rendering the child unconscious or administering a drug to the child. The judge must carefully evaluate the evidence presented by both sides in such cases to determine the applicability of the following instruction.

The evidence has raised the issue of whether (state the alleged victim’s name) consented to the sexual conduct listed in (The) Specification(s) (__________) of (The) (Additional) Charge (___). All of the evidence concerning consent to the sexual conduct is relevant and must be considered in determining whether the government has proven (the elements of the offense) (that the sexual conduct was done by _____________) (state the element(s) to which the evidence concerning consent relates) beyond a reasonable doubt.

Stated another way, evidence the alleged victim consented to the sexual conduct, either alone or in conjunction with the other evidence in this case, may cause you to have a reasonable doubt as to whether the government has proven (every element of the offense) (that the sexual conduct was done by _________) (state the element(s) to which the evidence concerning consent relates).

What are the collateral consequences of having to register as a convicted sex offender?

Sex Offenders Often Cannot Live Near or Visit “Places Where Children Congregate.”
What does that mean? It means a registered sex offender may not be allowed to live near or visit schools, parks and playgrounds, beaches, shopping malls, stores, movie theaters, community centers, places of worship, libraries, recreational facilities, skating rinks, bus stops, and many more.

Potential Collateral Consequences of a Conviction of Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years

A military member convicted of Article 120b UCMJ Rape by Threatening or Placing in Fear a Child Who Has Attained the Age of 12 Years, must register as a sex offender. A registered sex offender may suffer the following collateral consequences:
  • Denied housing
  • Loss of family
  • Isolation
  • No educational opportunities
  • Unemployable
  • Physical assault
  • Increased homelessness
  • Harassment
  • Financial hardship
  • Stigmatization
  • The decline in mental health
  • No internet access
  • Deterioration of social bonds
  • Loss of residency
  • Deterioration of social bonds
  • Difficulty finding employment
  • Difficulty finding housing
  • Difficulty with relationships
  • Social disgrace and humiliation
  • Loss of friends
  • Loss of custody of children
  • Lack of privacy
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