What penalty is my son looking at for a potential statutory rape charge?

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What penalty is my son looking at for a potential statutory rape charge?

My son is 18 and just started dating a 15 year-old girl. What are the legal ramifications for this? Should we consult with a criminal law attorney? In Beaufort, SC.

Asked on November 6, 2010 under Criminal Law, South Carolina

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

As I read the applicable statute, since the girl is older than 14 year of age and your son is not over 18, there may not be any criminal liability here for sexual misconduct with a minor (statutory rape).

SC Code of Laws, Section 16-3-655. Criminal sexual conduct with a minor; aggravating and mitigating circumstances; penalties; repeat offenders.

...(B) A person is guilty of criminal sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree if:

...(2) the actor engages in sexual battery with a victim who is at least fourteen years of age but who is less than sixteen years of age and the actor is in a position of familial, custodial, or official authority to coerce the victim to submit or is older than the victim. However, a person may not be convicted of a violation of the provisions of this item if he is eighteen years of age or less when he engages in consensual sexual conduct with another person who is at least fourteen years of age.

At this point, since this is an area of the law that carries potentially serious penalties, you really should place a call into a local criminal law attorney to be sure of your son's legal standing.  For one thing, there may be other charges that can be filed.  Additionally, if he turns 19 and the girl is still 15, criminality could attach to their relationship.


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