Statutory Rape (Sex with a Minor)
When an adult has sexual intercourse with a minor, even when entirely consensual, this may considered to be a form of rape. Some states refer to this
sex crime as statutory rape or sex with a minor. Although physically forced sexual intercourse is not involved, statutory rape is still considered rape because the victim is under the age of legal consent. As such, he or she is legally unable to give consent to engage in sexual intercourse with an adult.
Age and Statutory Rape Charges
One of the most important issues in a statutory rape case will be the age of the alleged perpetrator compared with the age of the victim. If the defendant is only slightly older than the minor, criminal charges may not be filed or the defendant may face lesser penalties. If the minor is particularly young and the adult is over the age of 21, however, severe penalties will likely be enforced. For example, a 20-year-old defendant may face misdemeanor charges for engaging in sexual intercourse with a 17-year-old. A 35-year-old defendant, on the other hand, will likely face felony charges for engaging in sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old. The court may also take the nature of the relationship between the defendant and the victim into account when determining sentencing. Sexual activity between a therapist and patient, teacher and student or father and daughter may be taken more seriously than between two people who were close in age and in a publicly recognized romantic relationship.
Due to the often complex nature of statutory rape cases, it is highly recommended that any person accused of this offense act immediately to consult an attorney. You may have engaged in what you believed was mutually consensual intercourse, only to find that you are now facing serious criminal charges. It is crucial that you take no chances with your freedom and reputation.
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