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What is statutory rape?

On Behalf of | Mar 18, 2016 | Sexual Assault

Statutory rape is a criminal act that can get you into trouble, even if the other party was willing to participate in sexual acts with you. This term only applies when a minor is involved with someone several years older than him or her and agrees to acts that he or she cannot yet consent to.

What is statutory rape?

Statutory rape is any kind sexual relationship that involves someone under the age of consent. The age of consent may not be 18; it can be lower depending on the state you live in. People who are younger than the age of consent are not legally able to consent to having sex, and even if they do consent, the law has still been violated and you will have to defend yourself and your actions.

Does statutory rape require force?

Unlike child molestation or other kinds of rape, statutory doesn’t require force or violence. Even if a child gives consent and has sex with other person who also consents, the fact is that a law has been violated.

Most states set the age of consent at around 17 or 18 years old. Interestingly, it doesn’t matter if the person who violates the law believes the person was 17 or 18; statutory rape is a strict liability offense, which means that person can still be charged. Today, some states do allow the defense that the alleged perpetrator did not know that the minor was under the age of consent. Even if a state does allow for this defense, it’s unlikely to be legal if a child is 14 or younger.

Source: FindLaw, “Statutory Rape,” accessed March 18, 2016


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