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Wyoming Sex Offenses and Why They are Different

In Wyoming, sex-related offenses generally refer to a sub-section of criminal offenses where the defendant establishes sexual contact, intrusion, or sexually assaults a victim without the victim offering prior consent. These offenses differ in severity, depending on the age of the victim, degree of sexual contact/assault, age of the victim, and the preexisting conditions in which such an offense took place. These conditions may include the mental, emotional, or physical incapacitation of the victim, position of authority of the defendant, and many more. Sex offenses differ from other criminal offenses in Wyoming because they specifically target society’s morals and decency. As such, they are prosecuted with more sterner laws than other felonies and misdemeanors in the state. At the peak of the penalty lies the Wyoming Sex Offender Registry. Convicted sex offenders are mandated to register on this public registry, sometimes for the rest of their lives.

What is a Wyoming Sex Crime?

In the state of Wyoming, sex crimes describe various felonies and misdemeanors that involve sexual contact between a person and the victim during which the actor knowingly (and sometimes with the use of force or coercion) exploits the victim sexually, with the aim of sexual arousal, gratification or abuse. These sexual crimes attract varying punishments and fines based on the severity of the crime, as stated by the Wyoming Statutes (WY STAT 6–2–3). Most of these sexual crimes hinge on either the absence of consent from the victim, incapacity to offer consent, or consent under duress or threats. Wyoming’s legal age of consent is seventeen (17) years (WY. STAT. 6–2–316). Sex crimes also include kidnapping, prostitution, or knowledge that the defendant is capable of all these.

The following are the common sex crimes in the state of Wyoming:

  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual battery
  • Sexual intrusion
  • Statutory rape
  • Sexual contact
  • Soliciting to engage in illicit sexual activity
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Voyeurism

It is important to note that sodomy is not prohibited in Wyoming and hence not classified as a sex crime. However, it becomes a crime when committed on the grounds of sexual intrusion.

What are the Different Types of Sex offenses in Wyoming

According to the Wyoming Statutes, the different types of sex offenses in the state include:

Sexual assault

In Wyoming, sexual assault is defined as an unsolicited sexual intrusion by a defendant on a victim, and it is classified into various degrees, including:

Sexual Assault in the First Degree: A defendant is guilty of sexual assault in the first degree if the defendant achieves sexual penetration in any of the following circumstances:

  • By the use of force or threat of force
  • The victim is physically helpless or mentally incapacitated, and the defendant knows or reasonably knows that the victim suffers such disabilities

Severity: Felony

Sentence: Jail sentence of at least five years. Second offenders get at least 25 years to life imprisonment.

Sexual Assault in the Second Degree

As per WY STAT 6–2–303, an individual is found guilty of second-degree sexual assault if sexual penetration is achieved in any of the following conditions:

  • By the use of threat of reprisal against the victim’s relatives or spouse
  • Submission by the victim to the defendant is obtained by any means that disallows the victim the option of resistance
  • The defendant orders or directly administers a controlled substance to the victim without the victim’s consent
  • The victim submits to the defendant because the victim erroneously believes that the defendant is his/her spouse and the defendant is reasonably aware of this
  • The defendant assumes a position of authority over the victim
  • The defendant is an employee or worker in the county, district, or city or works in any correctional or rehabilitative facilities where the victim is a resident
  • The accused works in an elementary or secondary school, and by reason of such employment, has interactions with the victim, who is enrolled in that school and is older than the victim by more than four years.
  • Sexual contact/sexual intrusion is done on the victim by the accused, with the accused being a healthcare provider tasked with administering medical treatment and care to the victim
  • The accused subjects the victim to sexual contact and, in the process, cause serious bodily injury in any of the instances mentioned above.

Severity: Felony

Sentence: 2–20 years of imprisonment. Second offenders face between 25 years and life Imprisonment.

Third-Degree Sexual Assault

In Wyoming, an accused is charged with third-degree sexual assault if the accused achieves sexual penetration under any circumstances not listed under first and second-degree sexual assaults. Third-degree sexual assault also includes sexual contact in any of the circumstances listed under first and second-degree sexual assault, but where the accused does not subject the victim to sexual intrusion or cause serious bodily harm to the victim.

Severity: Felony

Sentence: Not up to 15 years for first offenders and not more than 20 years for second offenders.

Sexual Abuse of a Minor (Statutory Rape)

Statutory rape is not a legal term in Wyoming. Sex crimes relating to minors that are less than the legal age of consent are charged as “sexual abuse of a minor”. The different classes of sexual abuse against a minor in the state include:

First Degree Sexual Abuse of a Minor

An accused party is guilty of first-degree sexual abuse of a minor if the accused inflicts sexual intrusion in the following conditions:

  • The accused is 16 years or older, and the victim is less than 13 years
  • The accused is 18 years or older and is the legal guardian of the victim, and the victim is less than 18 years of age
  • The accused is 18 years or older and occupies a position of authority over the victim who is less than 16 years of age

Severity: Felony

Sentence: Jail term of not more than 50 years. If the convicted individual is up to 21 years of age, they are subject to 25–50 years imprisonment.

Second Degree Sexual Abuse of a Minor

In Wyoming, sexual abuse is regarded as a second degree if the defendant initiates sexual contact with a victim where;

  • The defendant is 17 years or older and commits sexual intrusion against a victim who is between 13 and 15 years of age. Here, the age gap between the defendant and the victim is at least four years
  • The defendant is 16 years or older, and the victim is younger than 13 years
  • The defendant is 18 years or older and is the legal guardian of the minor victim
  • Sexual contact occurred between the accused and the victim, with the accused aged 18 or older and occupying a position of authority over a victim below 16 years of age.

Severity: Felony

Sentence: Prison term of not more than 20 years.

Third-degree Sexual Abuse of a Minor

Under Wyoming Laws, an individual is charged with third-degree sexual abuse of a minor if sexual contact is initiated and;

  • The accused is at least 17 years old, with the victim aged 13–15, and there is at least a four-year difference between the accused and the victim.
  • The accused is aged 20 or older, and the victim is either 16 or 17 years of age, and the accused has a position of authority over the victim
  • The accused is less than 16 years of age, and the victim is less than 13 years of age, with an age difference of at least three years between them
  • The accused knowingly takes indecent liberties, being aged 17 or older, with a victim who is less than 17 years, and there is an age difference of at least four years between them.

Severity: Felony

Sentence: For cases of under-aged offenders, jurisdiction lies with the juvenile courts of Wyoming. Adult offenders are sentenced to not more than 15 years in state prison.

Fourth-degree Sexual Abuse of a Minor

A defendant commits sexual abuse of a minor in the fourth degree if:

  • Sexual contact is initiated by the accused who is less than 16 years of age, with a victim who is less than 13 years, and the age-gap between them is at least three years
  • Sexual contact occurs between the accused who is at least 20 years and a victim between the age of 16–17 where the accused occupies a position of authority over the victim, who is at least four years younger

Severity: Felony

Sentence: Juvenile courts preside over cases involving juvenile offenders. On the other hand, adult offenders attract a sentence of not more than five years.

Soliciting to Engage in Illicit Sexual Activities

An individual is guilty of soliciting to engage in illicit sexual activity if the adult individual knowingly requests, encourages, or deliberately persuades a victim who is less than the age of 14 to engage in a sexual intrusion.

Severity: Felony

Sentence: imprisonment for not more than five years.

Sexual Battery

Any individual that unlawful initiates sexual contact with another person is guilty of sexual battery.

Severity: Misdemeanor

Sentence: Jail time of up to 12 months and/or a fine of not more than $1,000.

Sex offender Levels of Classification in Wyoming

The state of Wyoming classifies sex offenders into three tiers based on the National Sex offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). The tier a convicted offender will fall into depends on the crime committed and the level of risk posed to the public.

Tier 1 offenders pose the lowest risk of re-offense and are required to register for life. Offenses in tier 1 include:

  • False imprisonment of a minor victim
  • Sexual assault in the second degree
  • Sexual battery
  • Unlawful restraint of a victim who is a minor
  • Public indecency
  • Possession of child pornography
  • Voyeurism

Tier 2 offenders pose a moderate risk of re-offense and are required to remain registered on the state sex offender registry for life. Offenders in tier 2 must present themselves semiannually for verification of registration data. Wyoming sex crimes in tier 2 include:

  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the first degree, where the age of the victim is between 16–17
  • Sexual assault in the second degree of a victim between 16–17
  • Sexual assault in the second degree of a victim between 13–18
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, with the victim being between 13–18 years of age
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the second degree, with the victim between the ages of 13 and 16
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the third degree
  • Sexual abuse of a minor in the fourth degree
  • Sexual exploitation of minors
  • Promoting prostitution, if the defendant or victim is a minor
  • Soliciting to engage in illicit sexual relations
  • Incest with a minor victim
  • Soliciting an act of prostitution, where the victim is a minor

Tier 3 sex offenders pose the highest risk of re-offense. They also register for life and undergo periodic, quarterly registration data verification. Tier 3 sex offenses in Wyoming include:

  • First-degree sexual assault
  • The kidnapping of a minor
  • Sexual assault in the second degree, excluding those noted under tier 1 and 2
  • Sexual assault in the third degree, with the victim being less than 13
  • First-degree sexual abuse of a minor
  • Second-degree abuse of a minor, encompassing that against victims under 13 and over 13
  • Third-degree sexual abuse of a minor
  • Incest, where the victim is a minor

How Do I Find a Sex Offender near Me in Wyoming

Interested persons can find a sex offender near a designated location by searching the online Sex Offender Registry provided by the Wyoming Division of Criminal Investigations. Users can search this database by address, zip code, name, city, internet names, and phone numbers. The search features allow the public to view all registered and published sex offenders within a specific radius of a home, school, business, or other desired address.

It is also recommended that the public register for email notification alerts. Registered addresses receive email alerts directly from the law enforcement agency responsible for registering convicted sex offenders in Wyoming.

Wyoming Sex Offender Registry

The Wyoming Sex Offender Registry is a detailed and systematic compilation of information about all persons convicted of sex crimes in the state. By law, all convicted sex offenders are required to remain registered for life, regardless of the tier. A convicted offender must immediately register with the sheriff of the county where they reside, attend school, or are employed. The following information is provided on every registered offender in Wyoming.

  • The offender photograph and fingerprint
  • Names of the offender, including previously used aliases
  • Date of birth and place of birth of the offender
  • Offender’s social security number
  • Offender’s physical address of employment
  • Convicted crime
  • Date and time of conviction
  • Offender’s place of school
  • Offender’s vehicle plate number
  • A sample of the offender’s DNA
  • The age of the victim
  • Internet identifiers such as emails and other internet facilities used by the offender
  • Offender’s current work and home contact information

Not all of the above information is available on the Sex Offender Registry. The registry features basic information such as the name, address, and personal descriptors of the offender. While Wyoming provides the SOR as a public safety tool, state laws do not permit the dissemination of information about victims of sex crimes. Anyone found guilty of such a crime is charged with a misdemeanor and may get jail time of three to six months and/or a fine of not more than $750. Additional information about offenders and victims that are contained on the registry but not permitted for public use is only accessible by court order or consent of the victim. Failure of convicted offenders to register in the state’s registry attracts grievous penalties.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that a person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent of government sources and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

Sex Offender Restrictions in Wyoming

Wyoming Statutes imposes the following restrictions on registered sex offenders in the state.

  • A prohibition from school premises or any grounds owned or leased by a school institution
  • A prohibition from coming within 1000 feet of school premises where there are pupils below the age of 18 (Wyoming Statutes Section 6–2–320(a)).

Exceptions for the above restrictions apply to offenders who attend school in that institution, with permission from the proprietors of the school.

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