A different "Who's raping who?" thread

the original: http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=376124

My question regards statuatory rape. It’s been held in different jurisdictions that you can still have a prosecution for statuatory rape even if both parties are minors. The tendency is usually to prosecute the male; but also there’s a tendency to prosecute the older of the participants. So what happens when there’s a conflict? For example:
17 1/2 y.o. boy has sex with 13 y.o. girl. Boy gets prosecuted.
17 1/2 y.o. boy has sex with 17 1/2 y.o. girl. Boy gets prosecuted.
13 y.o boy has sex with 13 y.o. girl. Boy gets prosecuted.
17 1/2 y.o girl has sex with 13 y.o. boy. Girl gets prosecuted (if only because no jury in America would buy that the girl was the “victim” is that case).

So where is the turnover point where the presumption of guilt defaults to the male? When the male is within one year’s age of the female? Two years? Three?

I don’t believe that boys are prosecuted for having sex with girls the same age. I’ve never heard of it happening, anyway.

I have. Underage kids have sex; girl gets counseling, boy tossed in jail or flees to Canada; that sort of thing.

Right, because as everyone knows, men and boys cannot ever be victims of rape. :rolleyes:

Personally I think Statutory rape is bullshit. If someone wishes to bring charges, then the people involved should be interviewed- if it can be shown that the participant who is alleged to be the victim has the legal capacity to consent, and that they did so, then it should be thrown out.

We already have legal definitions of when someone can consent (if they understand what they are agreeing to and the possible consequences of their agreement). Not every teenager is able to give consent, but some definitely are, and if it can be shown that their consent was valid, it should remain so.

Personally, I feel that if the “victim” doesn’t feel like a victim, because he or she was doing what they very much wanted to do, and understood exactly what they were doing, then insisting that they “must” be a victim, simply because of their age, and not based on what they actually thought, felt, or wanted is wrong.

Now, do I think 13 year olds should be having sex…no, but I don’t think that treating people who are capable of consent as if they aren’t is the solution. If consent wasn’t valid, charge the perpetrator with sexual assault or rape, if it was valid consent, all parties walk free.

Any law which looks fair to the parents of a 15 year old girl, but monstrous to the parents of a 17 year old boy, cannot be right.


So sayeth the FBI!

Since juvenile records are sealed (generally) by law, that would be difficult to provide. I work w/offenders and have had any number of offenders who did youthful offender camps, and/or adult prisons 'cause their 15 yr old g/f got pregnant, went to get public assistance. Father is identified, she’s underage. he’s on the sex offender registry. I’ve not known of a case where both got prosecuted (although if both were underage, according to the law they’re both guilty of the same offense). take that as you will.

I’ve known of females getting prosecuted for it, but in one case it was the mother of the child, and in the other, it was a 3-some w/an underaged girl and a married (slightly older) couple.

Two questions:

  1. If a reasonable person would expect the rapee to be of a legal age, can / should / is this ever a defense for statutory rape? (it is for a range of other age related laws)

  2. Related but higher level of proof…If I (as a thirty y/o male) pick up a girl where you would have to be legal age to be present (think bar, R rated movie, driving school), have sex, she turns out to be under age is “reasonable presumption” then a defense that has ever worked? And if it’s not, could I reasonably sue the establishment owner in a civil case for my trouble?

That was on Law & Order. I guy had sex with a bartender and it turned out she was underage. Another episode had a teacher caught with a 15 girl, but it later turned out she was 20 something and only pretending to be 15.

Didn’t see it on L & O…but did see it on Judging Amy, the guy picked up a waitress in a bar, DA declined to prosecute…

Is this a reliable source?

BTW - some a source from my own experience…

In new Zealand it is illegal to sell tobacco to under 16s, however it was a defense to say “I considered their age, and on balance considered them to be older” (i.e - just because they were younger than 16 I wasn’t automatically guilty, the old “reasonable person” test was at play)

However as far as the alcohol law goes, it is absolute - it does not matter how old you look, the situation or anything else, so long as give alcohol to underager you are guiilty (gave rise the rather ridiculous situation of being carded at 29 - and refused admission becuase I didn’t have photo id)

I’m with you, as I’d like to believe there was a good intention, and a good reason, for passing said law, and that simply disallowing people under the age of 18 to have sex wasn’t the primary impetus.

Perhaps I’ll look it up sometime. Unless anyone already knows the answer and wants to save me the trouble. :smiley:

A lot of places in California have signs saying that they card anyone looking under 30. I got carded in Vegas at 25, probably because of my brother who was 24 - when they did him they decided to do me also.

adopted- This issue has caused a huge furore recently in Ireland.
Until a few weeks ago, it was not possible in cases of statutory rape to enter a defence that the defendant was genuinely unaware of the age of the alleged victim.

A 16 year old boy lodged an appeal against his conviction for statutory rape, alleging that he believed the girl involved to be older, because she had told him so.

It was then judged in the Supreme Court (which deals with matters of Constitutionality) that preventing this defence was unconstitutional, in that it deprived a defendant of the right to a fair trial.

Unfortunately, this left a rather large problem, in that it meant that there existed a loophole whereby many people convicted of statutory rape, would have had their convictions overturned (even if they could not argue the same defence).

Irish laws on the age of consent are somewhat convoluted and archaic anyway- the age of consent is 17 for females and anyone having anal sex (homosexuality was only legalised in 1993) with a special crime of stautory rape only applying to those having sex with a feale aged under 15 or between 15 and 17. In Ireland, Statutory rape is not an offense that can be committted against males. It’s all a bit odd.

Basically, the whole system needed to be overturned, but it looks like it will just be slightly modified after this issue threw up some of the problems with the current system as it stood. It looks like the age of consent will remain 17, but that offenses against someone aged between 15 and 17 will have to be covered by existing laws on rape and sexual assualt (or, if both parties consented, quietly ignored).

Some cites:
Irish law on the age of consent and sexual offenses as it stood before the Supreme Court’s ruling
Someone tries to use the loophole to get out of jail
The public response to the Judge’s ruling
How Ireland closed the loophole left by the Supreme Court judgement

not in my jurisdiction (MI). only issue is “what is the persons age”

same answer here. Sue the bar? no. you’re responsible for your own actions, its your responsability (here) to make sure you’re not breaking the law. the bar could also, however, be held responsible for selling to an underaged person, and/or allowing them in the establishment.

not in my jurisdiction (MI). only issue is “what is the persons age”

same answer here. Sue the bar? no. you’re responsible for your own actions, its your responsability (here) to make sure you’re not breaking the law. the bar could also, however, be held responsible for selling to an underaged person, and/or allowing them in the establishment.

This ties in to a thread I participated in a while ago on the age of consent as it applies to minors. In California at least, a minor cannot legally consent to have sex with another minor; in effect they are both doing something illegal. Some states can prosecute both parties even if both are underage. Cites on that page on post #30.

I’ve commented in other threads on the statutory rape laws. My first sexual experiences were statutory rape, even though as far as I was concerned they were consensual. To say I would have been upset if my partners had been prosecuted is putting it mildly. I think that irishgirl’s idea is a pretty good one. In fact, I would like it if there were no action taken unless the alleged injured party was the one to make the complaint.

On a lighter note, when I was in San Diego, I used to see billboards about California’s statutory rape laws featuring a guy with his head in his hands and a caption reading something like, “Statutory rape; if she’s under 18, it’s against the law.” I have no doubt that that law was enthusiastically and regularly broken with many a freshman girl at all of the schools in SD, including the religious ones.