We now have added "Informational Posts" which are tidbits of information that may come in handy at some point.

Adolescent Sexual Behavior and the Law

March 2011:

Statutory rape laws have been enacted to protect minors from sexual abuse from either adults or peers. The intent of the laws when they were passed was to protect minors from coercive and involuntary sexual activity. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that some teenagers engage in sexual activity even before they reach the legally defined age of consent. In the eyes of the law, persons below that age cannot give “consent.” Given the changing mores in this country and the increasing acceptance by teenagers of early sexual intimacies, more and more young people are finding themselves facing sexual assault charges, whether or not either partner feels victimized. States have responded to these cases in a variety of ways. This report presents an overview of the efforts to handle such cases and calls attention to suggested ways to address the dilemmas caused by the laws as they are written.

For the remainder of this paper: by Brittany Logino Smith and Glen A. Kerche, Crime Victims’ Institute • Criminal Justice Center • Sam Houston State University

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