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When young love becomes a sex crime

While no one may bat an eye if a 20 year old and a 25 year old engage in consensual sexual activities in Indiana, the story is very different if the parties ages are ages 14 and 19. While the state has what is known as "Romeo and Juliet laws," allowing individuals ages 14 or 15 to have a consensual sexual relationship with someone up to four years older than them, once that four-year limit is breached, that sexual activity becomes a crime. This is known as statutory rape, and it does not matter at that point whether the teenager has consented or misrepresented his or her age, as, with regards to that age limit, the teenager is deemed incapable of consent.

If an individual between the ages of 18 to 20 engages in sexual activities with a 14 or 15-year-old, it is considered to be a level five felony, which means the person could face between one to six years in prison and a $10,000 fine. Moreover, if there are aggravating factors, the crime could be considered a level one felony, which means a person could face between 20 to 40 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

If an individual is age 21 or above and engages in sexual activities with a 14 or 15-year-old, it is considered to be a level four felony, which means the person could face two to 12 years in prison and a $10,000 fine. As is the case above, if there are aggravating factors, the crime could be considered a level one felony.

As this shows, people in Indiana need to make sure they understand the laws regarding statutory rape and other sex crimes in the state. While a May-December romance is permissible if both parties are of the legal age to engage in sexual conduct, sexual activities involving someone below the age of consent could land a person in prison for many years. Therefore, those who have questions about this and other sex crimes in Indiana may want to consult with an attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Indiana Rape and Sexual Assault Laws," accessed June 19, 2017

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