Statutory rape is sex between an adult and a minor below the age of consent. Every state has a statutory rape law in some form. The age of consent varies from state to state, but is generally from 16 - 18 years of age. Many state statutes also specify a minimum age of the perpetrator or an age differential (as at least four years) between the perpetrator and the victim. Consent of the victim and belief that the victim is of the age of consent are usually considered immaterial.
Some of the issues statutory rape laws are designed to prevent include:
* Sexual coercion and abuse of the child involved
* Increased rates of teenage pregnancy
* Increased rates of fatherlessness
* Higher rates of child poverty and welfare dependency.
The California State Assembly recently passed a bill which would add penalties of up to five years in jail for statutory rape when a minor becomes pregnant. This penalty can be sought in addition to civil and/or criminal suits for statutory rape. Criminal charges may be a reason supporting denying a father's parental rights.
The following is an example of a state law dealing with statutory rape:
2907.04. Unlawful sexual conduct with minor.