Articles Posted in Statutory Rape

In the wake of the recent tragedy resulting from a teenage sexual encounter in Huron Township, legal experts are saying that Michigan’s criminal sexual conduct laws should be reconsidered. Using felony offenses to punish an older teenage boy against a younger teenage girl (and vice versa) makes bad public policy.

The Huron Township case involves sex between a 14-year-old girl and an 18-year-old boy. Initially, the girl indicated it was consensual, then recanted and said she had been raped. By law, however, 14 year-old is not able to “consent” despite his or her willing participation in a sexual encounter. After receiving intense ridicule at school, the girl committed suicide.

This case has brought the issue of teen sex and Michigan criminal sexual conduct laws to the forefront. The reality is that teens live in a highly sexually society, with significant numbers of teens engaged in sexual relations and sexting. Treating these behaviors as felonies, with the result mandatory registration on the Michigan sex crimes registry, is unjust and disproportionate to the act involved.

A recent article in the Detroit Free Press labeled Michigan’s’ all-or-nothing legal scheme is “lunacy” – with the boundaries between “perpetrator” and “victim” based on calendar age arbitrary, noting “Some 14-year-old girls are sexually savvy, others are shockingly naïve. Some 18-year-old boys are predatory; and some lack the maturity, or at least the superficial sophistication, of the younger women competing for their attention.”

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According to the Detroit News, a Wayne County jury has found a Detroit minister not guilty of all charges stemming from an arrest for alleged statutory rape.

A 16-year-old boy alleged that the minister had sex with him no less than three times when he was only 15. Michigan’s age of consent is 16. The law does not require any criminal intent to prove statutory rape, simply that a person under 16 years of age engaged in sexual relations with an adult.

Because an individual may be convicted of a criminal sexual conduct offense without any physical evidence of an assault or other supporting evidence, it is crucial to hire an aggressive defense attorney if you have been charged with statutory rape or any other criminal sexual conduct charge.

Often, finding the true motivation for making the accusation of sexual misconduct is one of the most important components of a successful defense. Here, evidence presented at trial revealed that the alleged victim and another man made up the stories of sexual relations as revenge against the pastor, a man known for taking troubled teens into his home.

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According to the Detroit News, a 19-year-old was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct for allegedly having sex with a 13-year-old girl he met on Facebook. Third degree sexual conduct is sometimes referred to as “statutory rape.”

Here, the 19-year-old boy had been hiding in the girl’s bedroom for up to two days before the girl’s mother discovered him. The girl told the police they had “sexual contact.”

Under Michigan law, the age of consent is 16. The law doesn’t require the existence of intent to sexually assault another, simply that a person be under 16 years and engaged in sexual relations. Thus, although a younger party may say yes, the older partner may be subjected to the harsh injustice of prolonged prison time and placement of his or her name on the sex crimes registry.

In the instant case, if convicted, the 19-year-old faces up to 15 years in prison and must register as a sex offender.

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