Fri 11 Nov, 2011 12:13 pm
What Is Statutory Rape?
Statutory rape is illegal sexual activity between two people when it would otherwise be legal if not for their age
In accordance with the FBI definition, statutory rape is characterized as non-forcible sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent. The actual ages for these laws vary greatly from state-to-state, as do the punishments for offenders.
Many states do not use the actual term "statutory rape," simply calling it rape or unlawful sexual penetration among a variety of other titles. These laws rarely apply only to intercourse, but rather to any type of sexual contact.
Dating someone without sexual contact cannot be considered a form of statutory rape, and is almost never illegal. All states have an "age of consent," or an age at which a person can legally consent to sexual activity and can then no longer be a victim of statutory rape.
Some states also have laws that take into consideration the "age difference" between both people involved. In many states, the more years there are between the adult and the minor, the more serious the offense. All states have laws with special consideration and age restrictions where a relationship involves a person of authority over a minor; this includes but is not limited to, teachers, coaches, assistant coaches, or tutors.
Generally, the age of consent is 18 in these situations and the penalties for violation of these laws are more severe. These laws change, and can vary depending on other circumstances. For more information on how these laws apply in your state, visit the Answer Board
Statutory rape charges can be reported and filed by the victim, parents of the victim, professionals in mandatory reporting situations, and in most states they can be raised by the state. California has been a primary example of this filing charges against fathers of pregnant women who are, or were, minors at the time of conception and doing it at the protest of both the women and the parents of the involved parties.
The term "Age of Consent" is a term not found in many state statutes, but rather reflects an absence of prohibition. As used on this website, the "Age of Consent" reflects the age at which a person can no longer be a victim of statutory rape; or, the age at which a person may legally consent to most types of sexual activity with another person. This age varies from 14-18 in all states in the USA with over half the states adopting the age of “16” as the legal age of consent.
There are still restrictions in some states on what type of sexual activity is permissible, such as oral sex and sodomy, as well as restrictions on the relationship of the two people involved, for example a teacher-student relationship. These restrictions typically run until the age of 18, though some states still have laws against oral sex or sodomy at any age. There are also differences in the severity of criminal offense based on the age difference between the adult and the minor.