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What is statutory rape in Maryland?

In our blog post last week, we discussed the former Ravens cheerleader who is facing criminal charges for alleged inappropriate contact with a minor. If you remember correctly, one of the charges she is facing is rape. That might have some of our Maryland readers wondering about some various forms of rape. One form of rape that some people might have questions about is statutory rape. Answers to some common questions might help our readers to better understand this charge.

What is statutory rape?

Statutory rape occurs when someone who is legally an adult has sexual contact with a person who isn't legally an adult. In Maryland, the age of consent is 16 years old; however, there are some special considerations in this state. If a person is under 16 years old, sexual relations wouldn't be considered statutory rape if the older person is less than four years older than the victim. For example, if a 15-year-old child who willingly has intercourse with a 19-year-old person, the older person wouldn't be guilty of statutory rape.

Is force required?

Force isn't necessary in a statutory rape case. None of the four offenses in Maryland that are classified as statutory rape require force. Three of the offenses, sexual offense in the 4th degree, sexual offense in the 3rd degree and 2nd degree rape all require intercourse. Sexual offense in the 2nd degree only requires a sexual act.

The consequences for statutory rape can be harsh. Anyone who has been accused of statutory rape should learn as much as he or she can about the laws pertaining to his or her case. Working with someone who is familiar with the laws might help them to decide how to defend themselves.

Source: FindLaw, "Statutory Rape" Nov. 18, 2014

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