October 24, 2023 | Kentucky Law
Consent can be defined as the ability to voluntarily and willfully agree to someone else’s proposition. For example, the age of consent for entering into contracts is typically 18 years. If a person is under the age of consent, the law presumes they lack the capacity to make an informed decision.
The age of consent for sexual activity differs by state. In Kentucky, the age of consent to have sex is 16 years old.
Kentucky Revised Statute §510.020 states that a person less than 16 years old is deemed incapable of consent. Furthermore, 16 and 17-year-olds cannot give consent to have sex with someone who is ten years old or older than the minor at the time of the sexual act. There is an exception when the individuals are legally married.
Therefore, an adult who has sex with someone under the age of 16 years old can be charged with statutory rape. Likewise, an adult at least ten years older than a 16 or 17-year-old can be charged with statutory rape for having sex with a minor.
What Is Statutory Rape in Louisville, KY?
Statutory rape is different from standard rape charges. The state does not need to prove there was force or coercion for a statutory rape conviction. Instead, they must prove that the defendant had sex with a minor who lacked the capacity to give consent.
Therefore, if an 18-year-old has sex with a 15-year-old, the 18-year-old can be charged with statutory rape. Even if the 15-year-old said they were willing and consented, the 18-year-old can still be convicted of statutory rape charges.
As discussed above, if a 26-year-old has consensual sex with a 16-year-old, the state can charge the adult with statutory rape. The 16-year-old is above the age of consent, but they cannot consent to having sex with someone who is ten years or more older than them. It is also statutory rape if a 16 or 17-year-old has sex with an adult charged with their care or is any type of authority figure.
It is important to note that the victim’s age could lead to charges of first-degree sexual abuse of a child instead of statutory rape. If you have sex with a child 12 years old or younger, it is sexual abuse.
What Are the Penalties for Statutory Rape in Kentucky?
The penalties for statutory rape depend on the facts of the case. The relationship and age of the parties determine the charges and severity of the penalties. A person could face various degrees of rape, sexual abuse, sodomy, and sexual assault.
Examples of penalties for statutory rape charges include:
- Third Degree Sexual Abuse is a lesser offense for minors under 18 years old who have sexual contact with a minor under 16 but over 14 years old. It is a Class B misdemeanor with no mandatory sentencing requirement, so the person could receive probation instead of jail time.
- Third Degree Rape/Sodomy charges carry a sentence of one to five years in prison for a conviction as a Class D felony.
- Second Degree Rape/Sodomy charges carry a sentence of five to ten years in prison for a conviction as a Class C felony.
- First Degree Sexual Abuse charges are a Class A felony charge when the child is under 12 years old or a person over 21 years old has sex with a minor between 12 and 15 years old.
In addition to jail time, a person convicted of statutory rape is considered a sexual offender. Therefore, they are required to register as a sex offender (failure to do so can result in further penalties). The number of years required to stay on the sex offender registry depends on the severity of the crime.
Are There Defenses to Statutory Rape Charges in Louisville, KY?
You could have one or more defenses to statutory rape charges that could result in an acquittal or dismissal of charges. Possible defense your attorney might use include:
- False allegations defenses are used when there is insufficient evidence or no evidence to prove the legal elements of a statutory rape charge.
- Your attorney may argue that there was a mistake of age. You need to convince a jury that you genuinely believed the minor was of legal age to consent to sexual conduct.
- Violation of constitutional rights results in evidence being inadmissible in court or charges being dismissed.
- The parties are over 12 years old but close in age. In that case, the prosecutor might choose not to prosecute the case because both minors could be charged with statutory rape.
If you are charged with statutory rape, do not talk to the police or a prosecutor without legal counsel. Contact a Louisville sex crimes attorney as soon as possible for help.
Contact the Louisville Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates, LLC For Help Today
Suhre & Associates, LLC – Louisville
214 Clay Street, Suite A
Louisville, KY 40202