Another rationale comes from the fact that minors are generally economically, socially, and legally unequal to adults. By making it illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor, statutory rape laws aim to give the minor some protection against adults in a position of power over the youth. Another argument presented in defense of statutory rape laws relates to the difficulty in prosecuting rape against a victim of any age in the courtroom. Because forced sexual intercourse with a minor is considered a particularly heinous form of rape, these laws relieve the prosecution of the burden to prove lack of consent.
This makes conviction more frequent in cases involving minors.
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The original purpose of statutory rape laws was to protect young, unwed females from males who might impregnate them and not take responsibility by providing support for the child. This rationale aims to preserve the marriageability of the girl and to prevent unwanted teenage pregnancy. Historically, a man could defend himself against statutory rape charges by proving that his victim was already sexually experienced prior to their encounter and thus not subject to being corrupted by the defendant.
Often, teenage couples engage in sexual conduct as part of an intimate relationship. This may occur before either participant has reached the age of consent, or after one has but the other has not. In the latter case, in most jurisdictions, the person who has reached the age of consent is guilty of statutory rape. In some jurisdictions such as California and Michigan , if two minors have sex with each other, they are both guilty of engaging in unlawful sex with the other person.
Some jurisdictions have passed so-called "Romeo and Juliet laws", which serve to reduce or eliminate the penalty of the crime in cases where the couple's age difference is minor and the sexual contact would not have been rape if both partners were legally able to give consent.
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- Ages of consent in the United States - Wikipedia!
Such laws generally apply to a couple whose ages differ by less than a specified number of years. This is normally accomplished by making acts involving these circumstances separate crimes to which the "Romeo and Juliet" defense does not apply. An example is Texas Penal Code , Section It provides an affirmative defense to a charge of sexual assault if all of the following apply:. A similar affirmative defense exists in the Texas Penal Code for the related crime of "continuous sexual abuse of a young child or children".
Until the late s, sex involving an adult female and an underage male was often ignored by the law, due to the belief that it is often sexual initiation for the younger male. Underaged males in these sexual relationships may view the women as trophies and choose not report them to the authorities; it is often a parent who reports these relationships. While in contrast, women who were involved with adult men when they were underaged mainly showed negative reactions once they left the relationship.
That is, they had come to view the adult men as perverts who could not find willing partners their own age so they resorted to exploiting young, naive girls. In at least one case, the U. In County of San Luis Obispo v. The court stated the boy was "not an innocent victim" of the sexual intercourse.
There have also been high-profile cases in which the adult female is in a position of responsibility over the boy; these include Mary Kay Letourneau , Debra Lafave , Pamela Rogers Turner and Jennifer Fichter. A Star-Ledger analysis reported that, for various reasons, men average longer jail terms in cases of teacher-student sex.
In some jurisdictions, relationships between adults and minors are penalized more when both are the same sex. For example, in Kansas , if someone 18 or older has sex with a minor no more than four years younger, a Romeo and Juliet law limits the penalty substantially. As written, however, this law did not apply to same-sex couples, leaving them subject to higher penalties than opposite-sex couples for the same offense.
Resulting in higher statutory rape convictions, larger fines, and sex offender registration for teens in the LGBTQ community. The Kansas law was successfully challenged as being in conflict with the U.
Statutory Rape: The Age of Consent
Supreme Court rulings Lawrence v. Texas and Romer v. Limon invalidated age of consent laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation in Kansas. For England and Wales , the legal framework of the Sexual Offences Act differentiates between sexual contact with children under 13 , and sexual contact with those at least 13 but under Sexual penetration of a child under 13 is termed Rape of a child under 13 , an offence created by section 5 of the Act, which reads:. The Explanatory Notes read: A minor can also be guilty for sexual contact with another minor section 13 , but the Explanatory Notes state that decisions whether to prosecute in cases where both parties are minors are to be taken on a case by case basis.
In Scotland , the Sexual Offences Scotland Act also fixes an age of consent of 16, and is also two tiered, treating children under 13 differently than children 13— Section 18, Rape of a young child , applies to children under The law reads in Danish: In determining the penalty, it shall be an aggravating circumstance if the perpetrator has gained intercourse by exploiting their physical or mental superiority. If the offender has gained intercourse by coercion or threats, the penalty may increased to imprisonment for up to 12 years. Article A person who, with a person younger than twelve years, performs indecent acts comprising or including sexual penetration of the body, will be punished with imprisonment up to twelve years or a fine up to that of the fifth category.
Article A person who, out of wedlock, with a person who has reached the age of twelve but has not reached sixteen years, performs indecent acts comprising or including sexual penetration of the body is liable to a term of imprisonment up to eight years or a fine up to that of the fifth category. While there is broad support for the concept of statutory rape as criminal in the United States, there is substantial debate on how vigorously such cases should be pursued and under what circumstances. In May , the Irish Supreme Court found the existing statutory rape laws to have been unconstitutional , since they prevented the defendant from entering a defense e.
On June 2, the Irish Supreme Court upheld an appeal by the state against the release of one such person, "Mr.
Dating laws for minors in texas
A was rearrested shortly afterwards to continue serving his sentence. In the aftermath of the December disclosure by thenyear-old actress Jamie Lynn Spears , the sister of pop star Britney Spears , that the father of her baby is year-old Casey Aldridge,  there was talk of the prosecution of Aldridge for statutory rape, which could be done under current Louisiana state law.
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