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What Does The Prosecution Need To Prove For Statutory Rape



Statutory rape consists of sexual intercourse where the victim is younger than the age of consent and where the parties involved were not married. To prove statutory rape, the prosecution needs to establish three facts beyond a reasonable doubt:

  1. Intercourse occurred.
  2. Parties were not married.
  3. The victimized party was below the age of consent at the time.

Depending on where you live, it may not matter to the eyes of the law if the perpetrator of the act was also younger than the age of consent. However, there are different levels of charge for statutory rape depending on the ages of the individuals involved. Consult with a sex crimes attorney to begin building a prosecution or defense. There are certain ways to defend against a statutory rape conviction, but because it is often considered a heinous crime, greater burden of proof may be on the defense.

Levels Of Statutory Rape Charge

In many states, if the alleged perpetrator and the victim of statutory rape were a) both minors and/or b) less than three years apart in age, a statutory rape charge will only be classified as a misdemeanor. Otherwise, it will be a felony charge.

Defense Against Statutory Rape Charges

While it is relatively easy to prosecute for statutory rape, there are certain defenses that make it less likely for the charge to stick. These include:

  • Mistake of Age - If the alleged perpetrator honestly believed that the victim was over the age of consent, he may be able to mount an effective defense. However, the burden of proof will be on the defense to show a reasonable mistake of age through evidence such as victim statements, fake I.Ds, adult attire/appearance, and location of the initial meeting, i.e. at an adult venue.
  • Questionable Credibility - In the absence of physical evidence, statutory rape defense generally centers around questioning the credibility of the victim as well as the motive of the victim to make false accusations against the alleged perpetrator.

Consult with a sex crimes attorney as soon as possible if you have been accused of or are the victim of statutory rape. This is a very serious charge, and you will need expert consultation to navigate the complexities of statutory rape law.