Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? While many states have strict statutory rape laws on the books, prosecutors have been inconsistent in enforcing them, says Mark Chaffin, a researcher with the National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth. One particularly shocking case drew international attention when year-old Georgia resident, Genarlow Wilson, was charged with aggravated child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a year-old girl.
Georgia law, which has since been changed to classify this act as a misdemeanor carrying a maximum penalty of one year in prison, also required Wilson to register as a sex offender when he was released. Are Statutory Rape Laws Outdated? Statutory rape laws are based on the premise that although young girls may want to have sex, they may not have enough experience or discernment to make a mature, informed decision.
The laws are designed to protect young people who have less information and power than their and-over counterparts. For example, minors may be less likely than adults to understand sexually transmitted diseases, have access to contraception, and have the resources to raise a child if they become pregnant. Most people believe there is a clear line between young people wanting to date and have sex, and adults molesting or assaulting a child. And most would agree that the difference between intimacy and abuse should be reflected in the laws of each state. But not all parties agree on how strict the laws should be.
Critics of strict statutory rape laws argue that while sexual relationships between teens relatively close in age may be morally questionable, prosecuting every case would unnecessarily clog up the justice system. But advocates of more diligent enforcement of statutory rape laws believe that the laws help combat the often underreported and hard-to-prove sexual abuse and rape of young girls. Others add that imprisoning men who are convicted of the crime could have a significant impact on teenage pregnancy and birth rates.
Know the Laws in Your State Dating is a normal part of teenage life. But with the privilege of dating comes serious responsibilities. A person is guilty of sexual abuse of a minor if: The person engages in a sexual act with another person, not the actor's spouse, who is either 14 or 15 years of age and the actor is at least 5 years older than the other person. The age of consent in Maryland is The age of consent in Massachusetts is Section 35A of Chapter states: However, Chapter , Section 4 sets another age of consent at 18 when the "victim" is "of chaste life" and the perpetrator induces them.
The age of consent in Michigan is 16 and there is no close-in-age exception, unless one is an authority figure in which case the age of consent is In March the Michigan Senate passed a bill which was to prohibit sexual relations between students of any age and teachers. If the actor is in a position of authority, the age of consent is If the younger party is under the age of 13, the older party must be no more than 36 months older.
If the younger party is 13, 14 or 15, the other person must be no more than 48 months older. The specifics of these laws are covered under Sections The age of consent in Mississippi is Statutory rape; enhanced penalty for forcible sexual intercourse or statutory rape by administering certain substances. Mistake as to the age of the victim may be a defense in some circumstances as defined in RSMo The distinction among those crimes has led some to the false conclusion that Missouri has a close-in-age exception. Missouri has no such exception beyond the degree of crime committed.
While the statutory titles are cast in terms of Rape and Sodomy, the statutes prohibit conduct that is described as "sexual intercourse" and "deviant sexual intercourse". Statutory rape, second degree, penalty. A person commits the crime of statutory rape in the second degree if being twenty-one years of age or older, he has sexual intercourse with another person who is less than seventeen years of age. Statutory sodomy, second degree, penalty. A person commits the crime of statutory sodomy in the second degree if being twenty-one years of age or older, he has deviate sexual intercourse with another person who is less than seventeen years of age.
Child molestation, second degree, penalties.
A person commits the crime of child molestation in the second degree if he or she subjects another person who is less than seventeen years of age to sexual contact. The age of consent in Montana is The age of consent in Nebraska is In addition Nebraska has a law prohibiting "lewdly inducing" a person under 17 to "carnally know" any other person. Sexual assault; first degree; penalty. The sentencing judge shall consider whether the actor caused serious personal injury to the victim in reaching a decision on the sentence.
Sexual assault of a child; first degree; penalty.
As used in NRS The age of consent in New Hampshire is But a close-in-age exception exists where a person may "engage in sexual penetration" with a person older than 13 but younger than 16 but only if their age difference is three years or less. However, if the partner is acting "in loco parentis", e. NH Criminal code Section A: There is an exception. If the victim is less than 18 and the partner is a parent, guardian, sibling or any other person closer than a fourth cousin or has any type of authority over the victim for example, a teacher then the assailant may be charged with a crime.
For instance, it's criminal for a manager of any age to have sex with a year-old subordinate, even if the sex is consensual. State law specifies by not saying anything that minors between 13 and 15 years old may, in general, engage in a consensual sexual relationship with someone up to four years older. Therefore, for example, it is legal for a year-old male or female to engage in consensual sex with a person up to 18 years of age. Specifically, NJ state law details three circumstances of sexual assault under which the age of consent is pertinent.
For aggravated sexual assault a crime of the first degree , a person must have committed sexual penetration that is, intercouse, oral or anal sex or something inserted while either 1 the victim was under 13 or 2 the assailant exercised some legal or occupational authority over the victim who was between 13 and All other conditions for aggravated sexual assault do not impact the NJ age of consent.
Simple sexual assault a crime of the second degree is defined in two ways, according to N.
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First, a person must have committed sexual contact that is, intentional touching of intimate parts for sexual gratification while the victim was under 13 and the assailant was over four years older. Or, second, a person must have committed sexual penetration defined above under aggravated sexual assault while not using force and either 1 the victim was 16 or 17 and one of the following conditions was true:. All other conditions for simple sexual assault do not impact the NJ age of consent. In a period before the age of consent was raised to In May the New Jersey Legislature passed a bill sponsored by Christopher Jackman , the assembly speaker, changed the age of consent to This bill was scheduled to go into effect on September 1, Byrne had refused to sign the bill into law.
The age of consent in New Mexico is 17 with age-gap, marital, and school employee provisions. Whoever commits criminal sexual penetration in the fourth degree is guilty of a fourth degree felony. The age of consent in New York is The latter three acts were known by statute as "deviant sexual intercourse" prior to Non-intercourse sexual activity is also regulated based on age.
Non-intercourse sexual activity, called "sexual contact" is defined as " any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person not married to the actor for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either party. It includes the touching of the actor by the victim, as well as the touching of the victim by the actor, whether directly or through clothing.
Utah Age of Consent & Statutory Rape Laws
If the person is underage such "sexual contact" can constitute the crime of "sexual abuse". It is not a defense that the perpetrator believed the victim was older than is later proven. That age is 16 years old. Someone under that age may be adjudicated a juvenile delinquent, but may not commit these crimes. On the other hand , someone who is 16 years old commits a crime by voluntarily having sex with anyone who cannot themselves legally consent to sex, including another year-old, even if this "victim" is actually older.
Bowman , 88 Misc. In effect, mutual crimes are committed when two unmarried year-old individuals voluntarily have sex with each other in New York State, each being the "victim" of the other. Thus, any person who commits one of these lesser offenses would necessarily commit the greater offense of "Predatory sexual assault against a child. There are other special offenses, namely "Course of sexual conduct against a child in the first degree" and "Course of sexual conduct against a child in the second degree" that punish sex with an underage person combined with an additional illegal sexual act during wide time periods.
These do not subject a person to more punishment than the crimes listed above but provide only a gimmick for prosecutors to avoid the requirement that an individual sex act be specified in a rape indictment. Actual "violence" is irrelevant. New York Penal Law Article The age of consent in North Carolina is However, certain exceptions to this general rule exist. This prohibition covers adults and students who were at the school at the same time, and continues in force as long as the younger person is a student at any K school, regardless of age.
Statutory rape or sexual offense of person who is 13, 14, or 15 years old. North Carolina General Statutes Chapter A person who engages in a sexual act with another, or who causes another to engage in a sexual act, is guilty of an offense if The age of consent in Ohio is 16 as specified by Section However, there exists a close-in-age exception where a minor 13 or older can consent to sex as long as their partner is less than 18 years old.
It is illegal for a person of any age to have sex with a child beneath 13 years of age who they are not married to. However, the preceding statute, Section Ohio law also contains a rule against importuning, which means a perpetrator of any age sexually soliciting a minor over the internet if the minor is under the age of 13, or in the case of a perpetrator 18 years of age or older, sexually soliciting any minor who is under the age of These two crimes are not considered to be sexual offenses. The age of consent in Oklahoma is An employee of a school system who has sexual conduct with a student of that school system aged between 16 and 18 may face criminal charges in Oklahoma.
Statutory Rape: The Age of Consent
The age of consent in Oregon is Sexual offenses are defined under the Oregon Revised Statutes Chapter With regards to age only, the following offenses are defined. Consent for all laws. Additionally, Oregon has a three-year rule defined under ORS However, this does not apply to Rape 1, or Sodomy 1, effectively limiting the age to The age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16 years of age for sexual consent. Teenagers aged 13, 14 and 15 may or may not be able to legally engage in sexual activity with partners who are less than 4 years older.
Such partners could not be prosecuted under statutory rape laws, but may be liable for other offenses, even when the sexual activity is consensual. In December the Pennsylvania Legislature passed an amendment stating that an employee of a school who engages in sexual relations with any student or athletic player under the age of 18 may receive a third-degree felony charge. In Governor of Pennsylvania Tom Corbett signed into law an amendment making this law apply to athletic coaches who work outside of an educational setting. Historically Pennsylvania prosecutors were only allowed to issue misdemeanor charges such as corruption of minors against teachers and coaches who had sex with 16 and year-old students.
Under Pennsylvania law, a defendant is strictly liable for the offense of rape, a felony of the first degree, when the complainant is 12 or younger. Pennsylvania has enacted several other strict liability sexual offenses when the complainant is under 16, but 13 years old or older.
Except as provided in section relating to rape , a person commits a felony of the second degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse with a complainant under the age of 16 years and that person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other. When the alleged victim is 16 or older and less than 18 years of age, and the alleged offender is over the age of 18, the Commonwealth may charge the offense of corruption of minors or unlawful contact with a minor, even if the activity was consensual:. The crime of corruption of minors is usually a crime that accompanies another "more serious" crime such as statutory rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse or accompanies some drug or alcohol use, possession or sale.
Tending to corrupt like contributing to delinquency is a broad term involving conduct toward a child in an unlimited variety of ways which tends to produce or to encourage or to continue conduct of the child which would amount to delinquent conduct. The question of whether consensual intercourse with a minor 16 years or older tends to corrupt the morals of that minor is a jury question to be decided by the "common sense of the community".
There is also a corruption of minors statute against adults corrupting the morals of minors under 18 years of age. In JoAnne Epps, a former prosecutor and Temple University Beasley School of Law dean of academic affairs, stated that the corruption of minors charge is considered to be a separate crime from that of statutory rape; she stated that the consideration of whether a minor is consenting to sexual activity is a separate issue from whether someone is corrupting the minor's morals.
The age of consent in Rhode Island is Sexual intercourse with a minor aged 14—15 by an actor 18 or older is third degree sexual assault, sexual intercourse with a minor under the age of 14 by an actor of any age is child molestation.
However, there is a close-in-age exception that allows people aged 16—17 to have sex with a minor aged 14 or 15, but not younger. The age of consent in South Carolina is However, a person may not be convicted of a violation of the provisions of this item if he is eighteen years of age or less when he engages in consensual sexual conduct with another person who is at least fourteen years of age.
C A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the third degree if the actor is over fourteen years of age and the actor wilfully and lewdly commits or attempts to commit a lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body, or its parts, of a child under sixteen years of age, with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust, passions, or sexual desires of the actor or the child.
However, a person may not be convicted of a violation of the provisions of this subsection if the person is eighteen years of age or less when the person engages in consensual lewd or lascivious conduct with another person who is at least fourteen years of age.