For clarity, the report also uses uniform labels for participants in the violations discussed. The term “accused” refers to the accused or person who would be prosecuted under the law in question. “Victim” means the person against whom the act is alleged to have been committed. While these terms may be overly simplistic, they communicate the legal role that each party plays in relation to the laws discussed in the report. [6] 12 Sexual acts with persons who are at least 16 years of age are illegal only if the accused is 30 years of age or older. Unlike most rape laws, where violence is a key element of the crime, legal rape laws assume that any sexual activity with people under a certain age constitutes coercion, even if both parties believe their participation is voluntary. In general, legal rape laws define the age at which a person is legally incapable of consenting to sexual activity. For example, the Idaho Supreme Court has defined the ability to give legal consent, including: (1) the ability to recognize the potential consequences of sexual intercourse and, given that understanding, (2) the ability to make a conscious choice. [4] As mentioned above, few states use the term rape in their codes. Instead, penal codes determine the legality of certain sexual acts. Current legislation is often incorporated into the section of the Code dealing with other sexual offences (e.g., sexual assault, violent rape). The laws of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia were the primary sources of information for this report.

Each state`s laws were accessible via the internet – usually through the state legislature`s website. At the time of writing, all laws were in force until at least 2003. This report is not a legal document. It shall be based on the most recent information available; However, many of the state laws mentioned were not commented. However, every effort has been made to seek additional resources to learn about recent changes in applicable law or jurisprudence and prosecutors` general views on legislation. In other states, there are fewer limits on the applicability of reporting requirements to legal rape. Often, these restrictions are based on the age of the victim and/or accused. For example, in California, any sexual activity with minors is illegal. However, the reporting requirements only apply to violations of certain crimes, that is, situations involving victims under the age of 16 where there is a particularly large age difference between the two parties.27 Depending on the situation, Tennessee`s age limit may completely exempt eligible near-age couples from the application of the Age of Consent Act. or simply provide a legal defense that can be used in the event of criminal prosecution. Most often, however, all acts are illegal (with the same age requirements), but the severity of the penalty differs depending on the type of sexual activity. In Kentucky, for example, sexual activity with children under the age of 12 is illegal, regardless of the age of the accused.

If the activities involve sexual contact, the accused is guilty of first-degree sexual assault (Class D felony); if it is sexual intercourse, the accused is guilty of first-degree rape (a Class A felony). Tennessee`s age of consent law currently only applies to heterosexual behavior. Tennessee has laws that make homosexual behavior illegal, regardless of the age of the actors. However, the Supreme Court recently declared unconstitutional such laws, which apply to consenting adults in private settings. Because it`s unconstitutional to ban homosexual conduct, it`s unclear exactly what Tennessee`s age of consent is for homosexual conduct, since the state has yet to change its age of consent. Therefore, it is not clear whether homosexual behavior counts as legal rape, even sodomy. In States where the definition of child abuse does not explicitly refer to legal rape, discrepancies between the legality of certain sexual activities and whether they are reportable crimes are more frequent. Consider the following examples: Oberman notes that the rise of feminism has greatly influenced changes to legal rape laws. The laws remained largely unchanged until the late 19th century, when feminists sought to raise the age of consent to protect young women from potentially forced relationships. As a result of these efforts, the average age of consent has increased from 12 to 18. In Tennessee, the age of consent is 18. This is the age at which a person can consent to sex with an adult.

If both partners are over 18, any age difference between them is irrelevant. However, if one of them is under 18, Tennessee classifies that sex as legal rape because the partner under 18 is considered incapable of consenting. Each state`s reporting obligations identify specific individuals who are required to inform authorities of alleged abuses. Although it varies from state to state, mandated rapporteurs are usually people who meet children through their professional abilities. In Pennsylvania, the law requires everyone who faces abuse because of their job skills to report it. More commonly, a state`s law refers to a number of specific professions.29 Common occupations include: physical and mental health care providers, teachers, daycare workers, legal professionals (e.g., judges, judges, lawyers, law enforcement officials), clergy, and employees of state agencies who care for children and families.30 In addition, some states designate anyone who cares for or treats children as a mandatory filer (e.g., Alabama, Missouri, Montana). In 18 states, anyone who suspects that a child has been abused must notify the appropriate authorities.31 We would also like to thank a number of reviewers for their assistance.