Are Statutory Rape Laws Outdated? 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. Know the Laws in Your State Dating is a normal part of teenage life. 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. According to Louisiana law, it is a misdemeanor for someone aged 17 to 19 to have consensual sex with someone aged 15 to 17 if the difference between their ages is more than two years. 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. 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. And most would agree that the difference between intimacy and abuse should be reflected in the laws of each state. If you suspect that your child is sexually involved with someone under the age of 18, talk to your child about the potential consequences and seek the advice of an attorney who is familiar with the laws in your state. The Dixon case is just one in a long line of similar legal battles teens have faced in the last decade. Take, for example, the widely publicized case of Marcus Dwayne Dixon, an year-old high school honor student and star football player who had sex with a year-old female classmate. 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. 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. Find a Treatment Facility Start your recovery today by searching for treatment centers below. The laws are designed to protect young people who have less information and power than their and-over counterparts.
Only 12 states set a specific age ranging from 16 to 18 , while in the majority of states, the age of consent depends on multiple factors, including the ages of each partner and the number of years between them. The purpose behind most statutory rape laws is to punish grown adults who take sexual advantage of a minor. 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. Romeo and Juliet Make a Comeback Statutory rape is defined by the FBI as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent. Until recently, statutory rape laws applied only to females, ignoring situations involving sex between an adult female and underage male. Most people believe there is a clear line between young people wanting to date and have sex, and adults molesting or assaulting a child. In the District of Columbia, it is illegal to engage in sexual intercourse with someone who is under the age of 16 the age of consent if the defendant is 4 or more years older than the victim. 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. But with the privilege of dating comes serious responsibilities. 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. According to Louisiana law, it is a misdemeanor for someone aged 17 to 19 to have consensual sex with someone aged 15 to 17 if the difference between their ages is more than two years. Find a Treatment Facility Start your recovery today by searching for treatment centers below. Research shows that teenage girls tend to have their first sexual experience with male partners who are three or more years older. Others add that imprisoning men who are convicted of the crime could have a significant impact on teenage pregnancy and birth rates. Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? Upon his release from prison, Dixon enrolled at Hampton University in Virginia with a football scholarship. 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 not all parties agree on how strict the laws should be. Or call to speak with a specialist to find a facility. She claimed it was rape, he claimed it was consensual, and a jury acquitted him of the charges. Your year-old son is dating a year-old female classmate — no big deal, right? California law declares it a misdemeanor to have sex with someone younger than 18 if the offender is less than three years older; someone more than three years older could be charged with a felony. However, because of their age difference, the jury still found Dixon guilty of statutory rape and aggravated child molestation, and sentenced him to a mandatory 10 years in prison under Georgia law. Know the Laws in Your State Dating is a normal part of teenage life. However, there are still restrictions in some states about the type of sexual activity that is permissible, such as oral sex and sodomy, as well as restrictions on relationships involving a minor and a person of authority, including teachers, coaches, or tutors. In New Jersey, the age of consent is 16, but individuals who are at least 13 years of age can legally engage in sexual activities if their partner is less than 4 years older than them.
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