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Statutory Rape Elements Vary From Other Sex-Related Charges

Statutory rape charges vary from rape charges because statutory rape doesn't require that physical force be present. That means that even if someone who is under the age of consent agrees to the sexual relationship, a charge of statutory rape is still possible.

If a person uses force to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact with a person who can't legally consent, statutory rape might not be the charge placed against the person. Use of force or coercion often means that the statutory rape charge is upgraded to aggravated rape or child molestation. Both of those charges are more serious than statutory rape.

Use of force and coercion are only two of the factors that can affect the charge placed against a person. The age of the victim, the age difference between the defendant and the alleged victim, pregnancy that resulted from the sexual contact and prior offenses can also affect the charge.

When it comes to sexual contact with a minor, it often doesn't matter how old a person thought the minor was. Instead, it only matters what the alleged victim's age actually was.

Statutory rape is a serious sex-related crime. Knowing the penalties you are facing and exploring your defense options can help you to decide what you want to do about your defense.

Source: FindLaw, "Statutory Rape," accessed July 01, 2015

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