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Punishments for Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

Note: This law applies only to Article 120 UCMJ Rape offenses committed on and after 1 January 2019.

What is Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ?

Rape By Threatening Or Placing In Fear Article 120 UcmjRape by threatening or placing in fear under Article 120 UCMJ is a grave offense that involves coercing someone into a sexual act through threats or intimidation. This offense is categorized under rape and carries severe penalties, including mandatory confinement of 10 to 20 years, dishonorable discharge, and mandatory sex offender registration.

For those accused of such crimes, seeking the best military defense lawyers possible is imperative. Experienced Article 120 UCMJ lawyers are crucial in navigating the complexities of military law, protecting the accused’s rights, and crafting a strong defense to mitigate severe consequences. Without proper legal representation, the accused risks facing the full brunt of military justice, which can have lifelong repercussions.

Note: The maximum and minimum punishments for Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ vary depending on the date of the offense.

In the military, the crime of Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ falls under the general offense category of Rape. It is one of the more serious offenses under the UCMJ and carries significant mandatory punishments. Offenses committed after December 27, 2023, carry a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 10 to 20 years and a dishonorable discharge. If convicted, the defendant must register as a Federal and State sex offender.

What are the Rape Offenses Under Article 120 UCMJ?

What is the Maximum Punishment for Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear, Article 120 UCMJ (Rape)?

For Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ offenses committed between 1 January 2019 and 27 December 2023:

  • Life without eligibility for parole
  • Total Forfeitures
  • Reduction to E-1
  • A Dishonorable Discharge or a Dismissal is a mandatory minimum sentence for this offense.
  • Note: You must Register as a State & Federal Sex Offender
  • Federal Felony Conviction

For Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ offenses committed after 27 December 2023

  • Under the Sentencing Parameters, Rape by Force, Article 120 UCMJ is a Category 4 Offense
  • Mandatory confinement ranges from 120-240 months (between 10 to 20 years)
  • A Dishonorable Discharge or a Dismissal is a mandatory minimum sentence for this offense.
  • Note: You must Register 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.
  • Federal Felony Conviction

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 Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

A military member convicted of Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ, 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

What are the Elements of Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ (Rape)?

  1. That at or near (location), on or about (date), the accused committed a sexual act upon (victim) by (state the alleged sexual act); and
  2. That the accused did so by threatening or placing (victim) in fear that (victim) would be subjected to death, grievous bodily harm, or kidnapping.

Sample Model Specification: Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

Rape By Threatening Or Placing In Fear Article 120 Ucmj Military Defense LawyersIn that SGT Ronald Don, 82nd Airborne Division, US Army, did, at or near Fort Liberty, NC, on or about 4 July 2024, commit a sexual act upon Jane Victim, by penetrating Jane Victim’s mouth with SGT Ronald Don’s penis, with an intent to arouse the sexual desire of SGT Ronald Don, by placing Jane Victim in fear that Jane Victim would be subjected to death.

Model Specification: Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

In that __________ (personal jurisdiction data), did, (at/on board—location), on or about __________, commit a sexual act upon ______, 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 _________]], by (threatening _________) (by placing _________ in fear) that _________ would be subjected to (death) (grievous bodily harm) (kidnapping).

What are the Definitions for Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ (Rape)?

By threat or placing in fear. When the sexual act is alleged by threat or by placing in fear, the military judge includes the following jury instruction:

“Threatening or placing a person in fear” means a communication or action that is of sufficient consequence to cause a reasonable fear that non-compliance will result in the victim or another person being subjected to the wrongful 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 out the threat.

“Grievous bodily harm” means serious bodily injury. It includes fractured or dislocated bones, deep cuts, torn members of the body, serious damage to internal organs, and other severe bodily injuries. It does not include minor injuries such as a black eye or a bloody nose.

Kidnapping and Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

“Kidnapping” under Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ means the wrongful seizure or confinement and holding of a person against their will.

“Wrongful” under Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ means without legal justification or excuse.

“Holding” under Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ means detention. The detention must be more than a momentary or incidental detention.

“Against their will” under Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 means that the person was held involuntarily. The involuntary nature of the detention may result from force, mental or physical coercion, or from other means, including false representations. (If the person is incapable of having a recognizable will, as in the case of a very young child or a mentally incompetent person, the holding must be against the will of the person’s parents or legal guardian.)

Note under Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ: The person to be (killed) (subjected to grievous bodily harm) (kidnapped) need not be the victim. It is sufficient if the accused threatened or placed the victim in fear that any person would be (killed) (subjected to grievous bodily harm) (kidnapped), which thereby caused the victim to engage in the sexual act.

Is Marriage a Defense to Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ?

Marriage under Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ. Marriage is not a defense to any offense in violation of Article 120.

If necessary, include the following instruction: Marriage is not a defense to this offense.

“Sexual act” means:

  1. the penetration, however slight, of the penis into the vulva or anus or mouth;
  2. contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, scrotum, or anus; or
  3. 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.

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.”

If Evidence of Consent to Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ has Been Raised, then the Military Judge Will Give the Following Instruction:

The evidence has raised the issue of whether Jane Victim consented to the sexual conduct listed in The Specification One of The Charge. All of the evidence concerning consent to the sexual conduct is relevant. It must be considered in determining whether the government has proven (the elements of the offense) (that the sexual conduct was done by state the applicable element). 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 applicable element).

Consent and Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

“Consent” means a freely given agreement to the conduct at issue by a competent person. An expression of lack of consent through words or conduct means no consent. Lack of verbal or physical resistance does not constitute consent. Submission resulting from the use of force, threat of force, or placing another person in fear also does not constitute consent. A current or previous dating or social or sexual relationship by itself or the manner of dress of the person involved with the accused in the conduct at issue does not constitute consent.

  • A sleeping, unconscious, or incompetent person cannot consent.
  • A person cannot consent to force causing or likely to cause death or grievous bodily harm.
  • A person cannot consent to being rendered unconscious.
  • A person cannot consent while under threat or in fear.
  • A “competent person” is a person who possesses the physical and mental ability to consent.
  • An “incompetent person” is a person who is incapable of appraising the nature of the conduct at issue, or physically incapable of declining participation in or communicating unwillingness to engage in the sexual act at issue.
  • All the surrounding circumstances are to be considered in determining whether a person
    gave consent.

UCMJ Article 120 Military Defense Lawyers

If you are suspected or accused of Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ, reach out to speak with one of our experienced military court martial lawyers to discuss your best defense strategy.

Overview of Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear: Article 120 UCMJ

Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) addresses sexual offenses within the military, including rape by threatening or placing the victim in fear. This provision aims to maintain the integrity, order, and discipline of the military by protecting service members from sexual violence. Rape by threatening or placing in fear involves coercing a victim into sexual activity through threats or creating a state of fear, rather than physical force.

Basics of Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

To secure a conviction for rape by threatening or placing in fear under Article 120, the prosecution must prove the following elements beyond a reasonable doubt:

  • Sexual Act: The accused committed a sexual act upon another person. A “sexual act” typically includes contact between the penis and the vulva or anus, contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, or anus, or penetration, however slight, of the vulva or anus by any part of the body or by an object.
  • Threat or Fear: The accused used threats or placed the victim in fear to compel the victim to submit to the sexual act. This does not require physical force but involves the use of psychological coercion or intimidation.
  • Non-Consent: The victim did not consent to the sexual act. Consent must be informed, freely given, and mutual; the absence of consent is a critical element of the offense.

Collateral Consequences of a Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ Conviction

A conviction for rape by threatening or placing in fear under Article 120 UCMJ can have numerous severe and long-lasting collateral consequences. These extend beyond the immediate penalties imposed by the court-martial and can affect various aspects of the convicted individual’s life.

Sex Offender Registration for Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

One of the most significant collateral consequences of a conviction for rape is mandatory sex offender registration. This involves several implications:

  • Public Registry: The convicted individual’s information will be listed on public sex offender registries, which are accessible to the public. This can include personal details such as name, photograph, address, and the nature of the offense.
  • Regular Reporting: Registered sex offenders must update their personal information with local law enforcement. This includes changes in residence, employment, and other personal details. Failure to comply with these requirements can result in additional criminal charges.
  • Residency Restrictions: Many jurisdictions impose restrictions on where registered sex offenders can live. These restrictions often prohibit living near schools, parks, playgrounds, and other areas where children are likely to be present. This can severely limit housing options and may force offenders to move away from established support networks.
  • Employment Limitations: Registered sex offenders often face significant challenges in finding employment. Many employers are reluctant to hire individuals listed on sex offender registries, and certain professions may be entirely off-limits due to legal or regulatory restrictions.
  • Travel Restrictions: Registered sex offenders may face restrictions on travel, both domestically and internationally. Some countries deny entry to individuals listed on sex offender registries, and domestic travel may require notifying law enforcement in advance.
  • Social Stigma: Being listed on a public sex offender registry carries a significant social stigma. This can lead to social ostracism, harassment, and difficulty maintaining personal relationships. The stigma can also impact the offender’s family members, who may face discrimination and isolation as a result.

Federal Felony Conviction for Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

A conviction for rape by threatening or placing in fear under Article 120 UCMJ results in a federal felony record. The implications of a federal felony conviction are extensive and can affect many areas of the offender’s life:

  • Loss of Civil Rights: Federal felons lose certain civil rights, including the right to vote, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to hold public office. In some states, these rights can be restored after serving the sentence, but the loss may be permanent in others.
  • Firearm Restrictions: Federal law prohibits convicted felons from owning or possessing firearms. This restriction applies for life and can impact personal freedoms and recreational firearms-related activities.
  • Employment Barriers: Many employers conduct background checks and may be unwilling to hire individuals with a felony conviction. This can severely limit job opportunities and career advancement. Certain professions, such as law, medicine, and education, may be inaccessible to convicted felons due to licensing requirements.
  • Public Assistance and Housing: A felony conviction can result in denying certain public benefits, including housing assistance and food stamps. Additionally, finding housing can be challenging, as many landlords are hesitant to rent to individuals with a felony record.
  • Educational Opportunities: A felony conviction can affect eligibility for student loans and grants, making it difficult to pursue higher education. Some educational institutions may also deny admission to individuals with a felony record.
  • Social Consequences: The social stigma of a felony conviction can impact personal relationships and community standing. Felons may experience isolation, discrimination, and challenges in rebuilding their lives post-conviction.

Dishonorable Discharge for Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

A conviction for rape by threatening or placing in fear under Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ typically results in a dishonorable discharge from the military. This is the most severe type of discharge and has numerous negative repercussions:

  • Loss of Military Benefits: A dishonorable discharge results in the loss of all military benefits, including retirement pay, healthcare benefits, and access to military facilities and services. This can create significant financial and personal challenges, especially for those who have served for many years and planned to rely on these benefits.
  • Employment Challenges: Characterizing a dishonorable discharge is a significant barrier to employment. Many employers view it as a reflection of serious misconduct and hesitate to hire individuals with such a discharge. It can also preclude employment with federal and state government agencies.
  • Social Stigma: A dishonorable discharge carries a heavy social stigma, impacting personal relationships and standing within the community. Veterans organizations and social groups may deny membership to those with a dishonorable discharge.
  • Educational and Housing Benefits: Those with a dishonorable discharge are ineligible for educational benefits under the GI Bill and may face challenges in securing housing due to the loss of VA home loan benefits.

Confinement Consequences of Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

A conviction for Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ often results in significant periods of confinement. The experience and aftermath of confinement carry multiple adverse effects:

  • Loss of Income: Confinement results in the loss of income and the inability to support one’s family. This can lead to financial hardship and long-term economic instability.
  • Impact on Family: The incarceration of a family member can cause emotional and financial strain on the family. Children, spouses, and other dependents may face significant challenges in coping with the absence and the stigma associated with incarceration.
  • Reintegration Challenges: Reintegrating into society after confinement is challenging. Former inmates may struggle with finding employment, securing housing, and reestablishing personal relationships. The period of confinement can create a gap in work history and skills, making it difficult to compete in the job market.
  • Mental Health Issues: Incarceration can have severe mental health impacts, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The prison environment is often stressful and can exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions.

Impact on the Military Community of Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

The conviction of a service member for rape by threatening or placing in fear under Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ not only affects the individual but also has broader implications for the military community:

  • Unit Cohesion and Morale: Such offenses can undermine unit cohesion and morale. Fellow service members may feel betrayed and demoralized by a colleague’s actions, affecting overall unit effectiveness and trust.
  • Public Perception: High-profile cases of sexual misconduct can damage the reputation of the military and erode public trust. The military’s commitment to maintaining discipline and order is crucial for its standing and relationship with the civilian community.
  • Victim Support: The military has a responsibility to support victims of sexual assault. Convictions highlight the need for effective victim support services and comprehensive measures to prevent sexual misconduct within the ranks.

Military Defense Lawyers for Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ

Rape by threatening or placing in fear under Rape By Threatening or Placing in Fear Article 120 UCMJ is a serious offense with significant legal and personal consequences. The collateral consequences of such a conviction, including mandatory sex offender registration, a federal felony record, a dishonorable discharge, and confinement, extend far beyond the immediate penalties.

These consequences impact many aspects of the convicted individual’s life, including employment, housing, personal relationships, and mental health. Understanding the full scope of these consequences underscores the gravity of the offense and the importance of maintaining good order and discipline within the military.

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