Your year-old son is dating a year-old female classmate - no big deal, right? 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. She claimed it was rape, he claimed it was consensual, and a jury acquitted him of the charges. 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. He walked out of prison on May 3, , at age 19, a free man.
When it comes to having the capacity to undertake certain legal actions, California law allows a minor to sue to enforce his or her rights - although a guardian must conduct the actual lawsuit for the minor. In California, except for a few restrictions relating to real and personal property, a minor may also make valid legal contracts. ©NATIONAL CENTER FOR YOUTH LAW, thatliz.com, revised: Jan. CALIFORNIA MINOR CONSENT LAWS: Which minors can consent for what services and providers' confidentiality obligations MINORS OF ANY AGE MAY CONSENT LAW CONFIDENTIALITY AND/OR INFORMING OBLIGATION OF THE HEALTH CARE PROVIDER PREGNANCY. 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. 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.
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Search: Search. Such laws are there to punish adults who take sexual advantage of minors.
Do age of consent laws work?
If your date is below the legal age of consent, you could be charged with statutory rape, even if the sex is consensual. Statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent, as determined by state law.
This applies even if the parties are in a long-term romantic relationship or the sex is consensual. Age of consent is the age at which a person chooses to take part in sexual activity without it being considered statutory rape. In the U.
However, some states have lower ages of consent under certain circumstances. For example, in Iowa a person may consent to sex at age 14 provided their partner is no more than 48 months older. Most statutory rape laws exist to punish an adult who takes sexual advantage of a minor, not to punish two people close in age who have consensual sex.
For the most part, there is no single age at which a person can consent to sexual activity. Only 12 states set a specific age ranging from 16 to 18while 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. The following are just a few examples of Romeo and Juliet laws currently in place in the United States:. Exceptions and Other Considerations In addition to Romeo and Juliet laws, some states have specific exemptions when both parties to the sexual act are minors, or the person to be charged is legally married to the minor.
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.
All states have special provisions if any physical force was used or serious physical injury resulted.
Until recently, statutory rape laws applied only to females, ignoring situations involving sex between an adult female and underage male. Today, most laws are gender neutral, and a number of women in authority positions such as Mary Kay Letourneau, Debra Lafave, Pamela Rogers Turner, and Pamela Smart have been prosecuted for engaging in sexual relationships with younger males.
Does the Punishment Fit the Crime? 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.
Nov 18, This applies even if the parties are in a long-term romantic relationship or the sex is consensual. Depending on state law, the minor or the minor's parent, guardian or anyone who is involved with the minor professionally, such as a school counselor or a coach, can report allegations of statutory rape to the police. California State Law Regarding Child at Bar Beginning to date can be very challenging to tackle, not just for teenagers, but also for their parents. As frightening as this time may be, it could also be a time of training and helping minors form healthy relationships. The following are CA statutes: (a) Unlawful sexual intercourse is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator, if the person is a minor. For the purposes of this section, a "minor" is a person under the age of 18 years and an "adult" is a person who is at least 18 years of age. (b) Any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual.
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. 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.
Are Statutory Rape Laws Outdated?
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.