It is the wisdom of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that adults should not have sex with people under 16 years of age. People who act against this law can be charged with statutory rape. When the underage person is between 13 and 15 years old and the other party is at least four years older, the charge is statutory sexual assault. Sex with a minor under 13 is charged as rape of a child.
The difference between statutory rape and statutory sexual assault is that people between 13 and 15 are not considered capable of giving consent under the law — no matter what they may say or do.
Many cases of statutory sexual assault occur in a dating situation: Two young people, one between 13 and 15 and the other a mere four years older, do what young people do. It is imperative to seek out experienced counsel if you or a family member is charged with this crime.
There are several standard defenses to rape charges. The defense most commonly deployed is that the accused did not know the age of the other party — or was misled about it. Another is mistaken identity — someone else committed the crime. In some situations, the accused can plead not guilty by insanity — lacking the capacity to control his or her behavior, to have criminal intent or to understand what he or she was doing or that the actions were unlawful.
Choose A Sexual Assault Lawyer With Care
Whatever defensive strategy you pursue, it is critical to have a team of attorneys who know how the courts deal with the charge of statutory sexual assault. Our goal is always to minimize your pain throughout this challenging process.
We want to hear your side of the story, in English or Spanish. Call our West Chester offices to schedule a confidential consultation at 610-314-7066. Or send us your questions using this form.