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Posted by / 13-Aug-2018 04:25

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.Critics argue that an age limit cannot be used to determine the ability to consent to sex, since a young teenager might possess enough social sense to make informed and mature decisions about sex, while some adults might never develop the ability to make mature choices about sex, as even many mentally healthy individuals remain naive and easily manipulated throughout their lives.Another rationale comes from the fact that minors are generally economically, socially, and legally unequal to adults.Consensual teenage sex is common in the United States. In fact, it is estimated that there are more than 7 million incidents of statutory rape every year.However, it is clear that most incidents are not prosecuted and do not lead to arrests and convictions. It is generally intended to punish heinous cases of an adult taking sexual advantage of a minor.While in contrast, women who were involved with adult men when they were minors mainly showed negative reactions once they left the relationship. courts have held that male victims of statutory rape may be liable for child support for any children resulting from the crime. In another case of a 21-year-old female who raped an 11-year-old male, the woman was convicted and sentenced to six months with suspended time; the sentence appeared to criminalize the victim, as the judge said, "Having read everything before me, it was quite clear he was a mature 11-year-old and you were an immature 20-year-old so that narrows the arithmetic age gap between you." 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.

Such laws generally apply to a couple whose ages differ by less than a specified number of years.

An analysis of 97 cases in New Jersey over a decade showed that 54% of male suspects went to prison vs 44% of female suspects, with an average of 2.4 years for men and 1.6 years for women.

However, the paper also reported that 96% of the cases studied ended in plea bargains, obscuring the cause of this tendency.

Although it usually refers to adults engaging in sexual contact with minors under the age of consent, it is a generic term, and very few jurisdictions use the actual term statutory rape in the language of statutes. In statutory rape, overt force or threat is usually not present.

Statutory rape laws presume coercion, because a minor or mentally handicapped adult is legally incapable of giving consent to the act.

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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.