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Mistake as to Age as a Defense in Sex cases

Typically, Mistake as to Age of an alleged victim is not a defense in Pennsylvania in sex charges. Defenses to Corruption of Minors Charge For instance, mistake of age is not a defense if you are charged with Statutory Rape, however it is a defense in a Corruption of Minors charge, so long as the alleged victim is at least 16 years of age.

The Corruption of Minors statute states:

whoever, being of the age of 18 years and upwards, by any act corrupts or tends to corrupt the morals of any minor less than 18 years of age, or who aids, abets, entices or encourages any such minor in the commission of any crime, or who knowingly assists or encourages such minor in violating his or her parole or any order of court, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.

(d) Mistake as to age.--

(1) Whenever in this section the criminality of conduct depends upon the corruption of a minor whose actual age is under 16 years, it is no defense that the actor did not know the age of the minor or reasonably believed the minor to be older than 18 years.

(2) Whenever in this section the criminality of conduct depends upon the corruption of a minor whose actual age is 16 years or more but less than 18 years, it is a defense for the actor to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he reasonably believed the minor to be 18 years or older.

In order to be found guilty of a Corruption of Minors charge, Read about Sex Crimes against Minors Charges the government must prove that the Defendant committed an act which corrupted the morals of someone under 16. This can be anything from giving someone under 18 an illegal drug to having sexual intercourse with them. However, so long as the alleged victim is at least 16, a Defendant may argue that they thought the victim was at least 18, and if the jury believes it, will be acquitted of the charge.

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