Sex Crimes


What are the State Variations of Statutory Rape

What are the State Variations of Statutory Rape

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What are the State Variations of Statutory Rape
Statutory rape is the act of sexual intercourse of someone over a certain age with someone under the statutory age of consent. Statutory rape, unlike other forms of rape, only considers the age of the people involved in a sexual act. Consent is not a factor in the prosecution of  the case of statutory rape. The age of consent is the determining factor in statutory rape cases. 
The age of consent varies from state to state extensively. In Louisiana, the age of consent is 17. This means that a 19-year old may not legally have sex with a 16-year-old. In New Jersey, the legal age of consent applies for teenagers between ages 13 and 16 as long as the other sexual actor is within four years of age. Montana's age of consent is 16, meaning anyone under sixteen is not legally able to consent to sex. For example, a 16 year-old may not have sex with 15 year old, and could face 2 to 100 years in prison as a result of doing so. Other statutory rape laws take into account who does the penetration, meaning that only men are targeted by the law. 
The diversity of statutory rape laws speaks volumes of the controversy of the topic; nobody can seem to agree what age is appropriate because people vary so much in their developmental capacity. Statutory rape also applies if the victim is of the legal age of consent yet their mental age is less than that of the age of consent. This protects the mentally disabled from being taken advantage of sexually, even if the victim gave consent. 
It is clear that teenagers are at different developmental ages and older people can use their seniority to passively coerce sexual consent from the younger individual. The reason why statutory rape laws vary so much from state to state is because developmental psychologists have trouble determining when a child develops enough reason to make their own decision in consenting to sexual intercourse. 
The laws also vary due to the state's attitude regarding the nuance of each case. Generally, statutory rape laws are meant to protect the youth from having sex with an adult much older than the minor. This is mainly because the act raises concerns of power dynamics that constitute the victim's hindered ability to make a reasonable decision to consent to sexual intercourse.      

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