How to Understand Statutory Rape

Written by ehow legal editor
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Statutory rape is a crime defined as sexual relations between an adult and a minor.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Know that statutory rape laws were created to prevent sexual contact between adult males and underage girls.

  2. 2

    Recognize that the laws now apply to sexual intercourse between any adult and any underage person. Anyone under age 18 is considered underage in most states, although this can vary.

  3. 3

    Understand that statutory rape is sexual intercourse, whether consensual or not, with an underage person.

  4. 4

    Realize that the penalties for statutory rape are not as severe as for aggravated rape, but still include imprisonment. Check your state laws for details about penalties in your state.

  5. 5

    Recognize that these laws are rarely enforced unless a complaint is made.

  6. 6

    Notice that the new laws limiting public assistance require some states to address the issue. For example, when a woman who is a minor applies for assistance for herself and her child, the agency will generally inquire as to the identity of the father. This is done so that child support can be collected. In these cases the state may prosecute for statutory rape.

  7. 7

    Do understand that sexual relations between minors can also be prosecuted under these laws, but this generally happens only if the boy is several years older and can be tried as an adult.

Tips and warnings

  • The laws of each state vary with regard to this issue. Consult your state's laws for detailed information.

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