Police: Crime classification change means more sexual assaults are considered rape

Wichita police are changing the way they classify some sexual assaults.

The change brings the department into accord with changes in federal reporting guidelines, Lt. Randy Reynolds said Wednesday.

It won’t change how cases are charged by the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office, Reynolds said, but it will cause the number of rapes reported to the FBI to increase. With the new guidelines, “all crimes of forced sexual penetration” will be classified as rapes, he said.

Until the change went into effect on July 1, he said, many sexual assaults – particularly those in which males were the victims – were classified as sodomy. Under the previous guidelines, males could not be classified as victims of rape.

Using recent years as a guideline, Reynolds said, the change is likely to see the number of rape cases climb by about 50. That would put the total number of rapes reported at more than 300 in a typical year, based on recent crime statistics provided by police officials.