On Tuesday, March 29, an 18-year-old Kentucky man was charged with the sexual assault of a 13-year-old girl who was reportedly missing from NJ. Lance Jyrkinen allegedly had sex with the girl on several occasions, according to prosecutors who say Jyrkinen met her online before the two traveled together to Philadelphia earlier in March.
Jyrkinen and the 13-year-old Hamilton, NJ girl engaged in sexual relations on at least three different occasions toward the end of February and first of March, according to prosecutors. The two met online on a social media site and struck up conversations regularly before they traveled together and engaged in sex, authorities said. Jyrkinen is reportedly homeless.
The victim, whose name was not mentioned in news reports, was reported missing by her family on February 29. Ultimately, social media is what led to Jyrkinen’s arrest, as authorities tracked what they called a “long trail” of social media activity by both Jyrkinen and the girl before apprehending the two in a Philadelphia Starbucks.
Jyrkinen has a public defender representing him, who claims the two were dating. Jyrkinen and the girl admit they had a sexual relationship. The two traveled to Trenton before taking a train to Camden and eventually Philadelphia.
Even though the 13-year-old girl was in a “dating” or consensual relationship with Jyrkinen, it is still a crime under the law. In Michigan, an individual who engages in any type of sexual act with a person under the age of consent (age 16) may be charged with statutory rape, or the rape of a minor. This is true even when the minor consents to a sexual act, as Michigan law maintains that anyone younger than 16 is not mature enough to make the decision to engage in consensual sexual relationships.
Considered a felony, an individual who allegedly engages in sexual penetration with a 13-year-old may be charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct. If convicted, the penalties for this offense include a maximum of 15 years in prison. Additionally, the offender will be required to register as a sex offender for 25 years. Registered sex offenders face extremely damaging consequences, as it is often difficult to secure employment, housing, and more. The social stigma related to being a sex offender is like a dark cloud that hangs over your head everywhere you go.
It’s easy to see the consequences of a conviction for having sex with a minor are extremely serious, even life-changing. However, in many cases it is possible to reach a positive outcome, particularly for those who immediately contact an experienced Michigan sex crimes attorney with a proven track record of success. If you have been accused of statutory rape or sexual assault of a minor, do not hesitate before contacting a capable defense lawyer.