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What should I know about statutory rape?

Sex-related charges are some of the most personal charges that a person can face. When the case involves statutory rape, the details associated with the case are often even more disturbing than the details of other sex-related cases. People who are facing statutory rape charges should make sure that the understand some basic information about these charges since this information can have an impact on the defense they present against the charges.

What is the age of consent in Missouri?

One element of a statutory rape charge that must be present is that the alleged victim must be younger than the age of consent. In Missouri, the age of consent is 17 years old. This means that statutory rape wouldn't apply to a case in which a victim is 17, but if the victim is 16 the charge would apply. In some cases, an age discrepancy might be a viable defense for statutory rape if the defendant had an honest reason to think the alleged victim was over the age of consent.

Are there any other elements that must be present?

One interesting element of a statutory rape case is that the sexual acts that are part of the case are only illegal based on the age of the alleged victim. That is, if two consenting adults did the same things that the defendant and alleged defendant did, there wouldn't be a crime present. Also, there isn't a requirement of force in statutory rape case. This means that even if the alleged victim consents to the sexual activity, it is still a crime based on the age of the alleged victim.

Source: FindLaw, "Statutory Rape," accessed April 08, 2016

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