Missouri Revised Statutes

Chapter 568
Offenses Against the Family
Section 568.060

August 28, 2013


Abuse or neglect of a child, penalty.

568.060. 1. As used in this section, the following terms shall mean:

(1) "Abuse", the infliction of physical, sexual, or mental injury against a child by any person eighteen years of age or older. For purposes of this section, abuse shall not include injury inflicted on a child by accidental means by a person with care, custody, or control of the child, or discipline of a child by a person with care, custody, or control of the child, including spanking, in a reasonable manner;

(2) "Abusive head trauma", a serious physical injury to the head or brain caused by any means, including but not limited to shaking, jerking, pushing, pulling, slamming, hitting, or kicking;

(3) "Mental injury", an injury to the intellectual or psychological capacity or the emotional condition of a child as evidenced by an observable and substantial impairment of the ability of the child to function within his or her normal range of performance or behavior;

(4) "Neglect", the failure to provide, by those responsible for the care, custody, and control of a child under the age of eighteen years, the care reasonable and necessary to maintain the physical and mental health of the child, when such failure presents a substantial probability that death or physical injury or sexual injury would result;

(5) "Physical injury", physical pain, illness, or any impairment of physical condition, including but not limited to bruising, lacerations, hematomas, welts, or permanent or temporary disfigurement and impairment of any bodily function or organ;

(6) "Serious emotional injury", an injury that creates a substantial risk of temporary or permanent medical or psychological damage, manifested by impairment of a behavioral, cognitive, or physical condition. Serious emotional injury shall be established by testimony of qualified experts upon the reasonable expectation of probable harm to a reasonable degree of medical or psychological certainty;

(7) "Serious physical injury", a physical injury that creates a substantial risk of death or that causes serious disfigurement or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any part of the body.

2. A person commits the offense of abuse or neglect of a child if such person knowingly causes a child who is less than eighteen years of age:

(1) To suffer physical or mental injury as a result of abuse or neglect; or

(2) To be placed in a situation in which the child may suffer physical or mental injury as the result of abuse or neglect.

3. A person commits the offense of abuse or neglect of a child if such person recklessly causes a child who is less than eighteen years of age to suffer from abusive head trauma.

4. A person does not commit the offense of abuse or neglect of a child by virtue of the sole fact that the person delivers or allows the delivery of child to a provider of emergency services.

5. The offense of abuse or neglect of a child is:

(1) A class C felony, without eligibility for probation or parole until the defendant has served no less than one year of such sentence, unless the person has previously been found guilty of a violation of this section or of a violation of the law of any other jurisdiction that prohibits the same or similar conduct or the injury inflicted on the child is a serious emotional injury or a serious physical injury, in which case abuse or neglect of a child is a class B felony, without eligibility for probation or parole until the defendant has served not less than five years of such sentence; or

(2) A class A felony if the child dies as a result of injuries sustained from conduct chargeable under the provisions of this section.

6. Notwithstanding subsection 5 of this section to the contrary, the offense of abuse or neglect of a child is a class A felony, without eligibility for probation or parole until the defendant has served not less than fifteen years of such sentence, if:

(1) The injury is a serious emotional injury or a serious physical injury;

(2) The child is less than fourteen years of age; and

(3) The injury is the result of sexual abuse as defined under section 566.100 or sexual exploitation of a minor as defined under section 573.023.

7. The circuit or prosecuting attorney may refer a person who is suspected of abuse or neglect of a child to an appropriate public or private agency for treatment or counseling so long as the agency has consented to taking such referrals. Nothing in this subsection shall limit the discretion of the circuit or prosecuting attorney to prosecute a person who has been referred for treatment or counseling pursuant to this subsection.

8. Nothing in this section shall be construed to alter the requirement that every element of any crime referred to herein must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.

9. Discipline, including spanking administered in a reasonable manner, shall not be construed to be abuse under this section.

(L. 1977 S.B. 60, A.L. 1984 H.B. 1255, A.L. 1990 H.B. 1370, et al., A.L. 1997 S.B. 56, A.L. 2012 S.B. 628, A.L. 2013 H.B. 505)

Effective 7-09-13


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