Statutory Sexual Assault/ Statutory Rape is a very serious Sex Crimes charge. The Sex Crime is graded as a felony of the second degree and punishable by up to 10 years in state prison. In order to be found guilty of Statutory Rape the government must prove that:

Statutory Sexual Assault:

1) the alleged victim was under 16 years of age;

2) the accused is four or more years older than the alleged victim

3) And that they engaged in sexual intercourse.

So assuming that there was sexual intercourse between the accused and the alleged victim, the only elements that the government has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt deal with the age of the accused and the age of the alleged victim. So what defenses are available to an accused in a Statutory Sexual Assault case, if the government is able to prove that sexual intercourse occurred between the two parties? Under the law of Pennsylvania, there is a Mistake to Age defense, so long as the alleged victim in the Statutory Sexual Assault case was over the age of 14. The Mistake to Age defense states:

The Mistake to Age defense states:

Whenever the criminality of conduct depends on a child being below the age of 14 years, it is no defense that the defendant did not know the age of the child or reasonably believed the child to be the age of 14 years or older.

When criminality depends on the child’s being below a critical age older than 14 years, it is a defense for the defendant to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he or she reasonably believed the child to be above the critical age.

Thus, so long as the alleged victim in the statutory Sexual Assault case was over 14 and the accused can prove by a preponderance of the evidence (51%) that he reasonably believed that the alleged victim was over 14, he can use the Mistake to Age defense when charged with Statutory Sexual Assault/Rape.

Read more about Defending Rape Cases here and Sex Crime Lawyers here