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Interpreting sex offense laws

April 29, 2002

These are the major components of the following sex offenses as prescribed by Maryland law.

- First-degree rape. Sexual intercourse with another person by force or threat of force; against the will and without consent; with a dangerous or deadly weapon; inflicts serious physical injury; or while committing a felony burglary.

- Second-degree rape. Sexual intercourse with another person by force or threat of force; against the will and without consent; if victim is mentally or physically incapacitated; or if the victim is under 14 and defendant is at least four years older

- First-degree sex offense. A sex act with another person by force or threat of force; against the will and without consent; with a dangerous or deadly weapon; inflicts serious physical injury; or while committing a felony burglary.

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- Second-degree sex offense. A sex act with another person by force or threat of force; against the will and without consent; if victim is mentally or physically incapacitated; or victim is under 14 and defendant is at least four years older

- Third-degree sex offense. Sexual contact with another person by force or threat of force; against the will and without consent; with a dangerous or deadly weapon; inflicts serious physical injury; if victim is mentally or physically incapacitated; victim is under 14 and defendant is at least four years older; or sexual act or intercourse where victim is 14 or 15 and defendant is at least 21.

- Fourth-degree sex offense. Sexual contact with another person against the will and without the consent except where the victim is 14 or under and the defendant is four or more years older.

- Perverted or unnatural sexual practices. Specifically relates to certain other sexual acts other than intercourse.

- Sodomy. Also specifically relates to certain other sexual acts other than intercourse.

- Child sexual abuse. Any act that involves the sexual molestation or exploitation of a child by a parent or other person who has permanent or temporary care or custody or responsibility for supervision of a child; includes but not limited to incest (blood relative), rape, sex offense in any degree, sodomy or unnatural or perverted sexual practices.

- Child pornography. Defined as person who permits a minor to engage in pornography, or who possesses or distributes such material via computer or other means.

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