On Monday, May 18, a resident of Dickinson, TX was arrested and charged with sexual assault of a child, according to a news article at The Citizen, a Bay area publication. Dickinson is located near Galveston.
The suspect, 21-year-old Juan Antonio Contreras, was allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl in March of this year. When the girl’s parents learned of the relationship, they reported it to the police, who investigated the allegations and reviewed the case with the district attorney’s office in Galveston County last week before formally charging Contreras.
Investigators do not suspect there are any other victims. Contreras was jailed and his bond set at $15,000. The article states the punishment for a conviction of sexual assault of a child, which is a second-degree felony, is between two and 20 years in prison along with a $10,000 fine.
There are many situations such as this one in which a 16-year-old teenager chooses to have a relationship with someone who is older. Many young men who are in relationships with a younger girl do not realize the serious implications it may have on their lives. Even when a minor agrees to a sexual relationship or even encourages it, the older partner may face criminal charges should the minor decide to report the sexual relationship, or as in the case above, the parents report the incidents to police.
In the state of Michigan, the age of consent to sexual activity with another person is 16. This means that a 16 year old may engage in sexual relations with another individuals who is of age, whether that person is 16, 21, 30, or even older. However, when a person who is of age engages in sexual intercourse with someone younger than 16 but older than 13, he or she may be charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a crime that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison. Additionally, a conviction will result in the defendant being required to register as a sex offender for 25 years.
Laws regarding sexual relations with minors vary from state to state, as does the punishment for a conviction. In Michigan, the penalties for most sex offenses are extremely harsh; not only may the offender face prison time and registration on the sex offender list, but a ruined career and reputation as well. If you have been arrested or are under investigation for a sex crime against a minor, consult with an experienced and aggressive Michigan sex crime attorney right away to protect your legal rights and freedom.