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Question What do Texas laws say regarding statutory rape?
(From the University of Texas)
For whatever reason, the offense traditionally known as "statutory rape" is not
prosecuted very often when the child victim is older than 14 years of age and the sex is
consensual. However, the laws prohibiting any form of sex with children under the age of
17 are still on the books, and it is within a prosecutor's discretion as to whether or not he
or she wishes to pursue such charges against an individual. A cynical person might
argue that such decisions are usually politically motivated.
Section 22.011 (a) (2) of the Texas Penal Code provides that a person who has sexual
relations with a child younger than 17 years of age is guilty of Sexual Assault. Under this
section of the Penal Code, "sexual relations" may include conventional sexual
intercourse, oral sex, anal sex and/or oral-anal sex.
The most important thing to note about this criminal statute is that it does not actually
require any assault to take place. Thus, an adult who has consensual sex with a child
under 17 years of age is guilty of Sexual Assault, even if the child was the one who
initiated the sexual encounter. In addition, it is not a defense to prosecution that the adult
mistakenly believed that the child was 17 years of age or older.
This statute does not apply if the adult and child engaging in sexual conduct are legally
married. Also, if an adult who has sexual relations with a child can show that the child
was 14 years of age or older at the time of the encounter, and that the adult is no more
than three years older than the child, he or she cannot be convicted under this statute.
Generally, an offense under this statute is a felony of the second degree, punishable by
two to twenty years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.00. If, however, the child victim
is under the age of 14, the offense is enhanced to a felony of the first degree, punishable
by imprisonment for life or for a term of not more than 99 years or less than five years,
and a fine not to exceed $50,000.00.
FROM: (University of Texas at Austin - Office of the Dean of Students - Legal Services for Students)
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