Sexual assault charges can occur for a number of reasons, but the story that has been reported in the news draws attention to a problem that could occur more in the age of the Internet. When teens and adults get online, it's simple for one person to lie about his or her age or even to look past age because of not seeing a person in person; the problem is that the law is very strict and in favor of the alleged victim in these cases. If a person is a minor and the other is within a few years of age, any kind of sexual relationship might be forgiven. Outside that age range, there begins to be problems, like in this case.
The news reported that a man from Arlington, Texas, has been taken into custody for accusations of sexual assault against a minor. The Belknap County Sheriff's Department reported that it was working with the Joint Fugitive Task Force to locate the 20-year-old man before they found and arrested him.
He has been accused of sexual assault of a child under 17. He allegedly had multiple sexual encounters with a 15-year-old girl that he met online. The police didn't indicate if the girl was willingly participating; if she was, this may be a case of statutory rape.
When police found the man, they were able to take him into custody without incident. He was held on $10,000 cash, but a family member bailed him out of jail.
In Texas, the age of consent is 17; however, a minimum age is 14 with a three-year differential. So, a 17-year-old could potentially have a sexual relationship with anyone of any age, but a 15-year old would be able to have a sexual relationship with anyone between 14 and 18. That puts this man just two years outside the age where this would have been a legal interaction.
Source: Laconia Daily Sun, "Texas Man Accused of Sexual Assault Arrested In Guilford," July 12, 2016