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17 Mar

For example, in Kansas, if someone 18 or older has sex with a minor no more than four years younger, a Romeo and Juliet law limits the penalty substantially.Critics argue that an age limit cannot be used to determine the ability to consent to sex, since a young teenager might possess enough social sense to make informed and mature decisions about sex, while some adults might never develop the ability to make mature choices about sex, as even many mentally healthy individuals remain naive and easily manipulated throughout their lives.Another rationale comes from the fact that minors are generally economically, socially, and legally unequal to adults.A non-scientific analysis of 97 cases in New Jersey over a decade showed that 54% of male suspects went to prison vs 44% of female suspects, with an average of 2.4 years for men and 1.6 years for women.However, the paper also reported that 96% of the cases studied ended in plea bargains, obscuring the cause of this tendency.

Historically, a man could defend himself against statutory rape charges by proving that his victim was already sexually experienced prior to their encounter (and thus not subject to being corrupted by the defendant).

Often, teenage couples engage in sexual conduct as part of an intimate relationship.

Any defense under either law, however, does not apply to the separate crime of "improper educator/student relationship" (sexual relations between a licensed teacher or school employee and a student of the same school), or for "aggravated sexual assault" (the forcible rape statute of Texas law).