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What is Statutory Rape?

October 21, 2015

Each state in the United States observes a legal age of consent. Individuals above this age are considered able to legally consent to sexual activities. When an individual that has not yet reached the age of consent engages in sexual activities with a party above the age of consent, the older party may be charged with statutory rape, which is a serious sex crime.

Understanding Statutory Rape

Rape is a serious criminal offense that constitutes the forcing of an individual to engage in non-consensual sexual activities via physical force, threat, or other duress. Statutory rape, however, encompasses any sexual activity, consensual or non-consensual, that includes an individual below the age of consent. Thus, a person may be charged with statutory rape even if a minor engaged in sexual acts willingly or no type of force or duress was involved. In this case, the charge of rape refers to the inability of a minor to give consent for sex under the law. If a minor is forced or coerced into sexual activities, the offending individual may be charged with aggravated rape or child molestation, rather than statutory rape.

Understanding Statutory Rape in Arizona

Statutory rape charges are made based on state laws. In Arizona, the age of consent is 18. Thus, any sexual relationship with an individual less than 18 years of age may carry with it a charge of statutory rape. Arizona law considers statutory rape a felony, with sentencing dependent upon the age of the parties involved and the type of sexual interactions that occurred. The penalties for statutory rape in Arizona include fines, time spent in prison, or a combination of these two punishments; repeat offenders face greater penalties for subsequent convictions.

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