As an adult, you know well that a sexual encounter with a minor could lead to charges of statutory rape. If they are too young, they are not legally able to consent to the encounter, and that means that you have broken the law even if they technically told you that they wanted to participate.
To protect against this, you always ask people their age before you have any sort of encounter with them. And this can certainly help in a lot of situations, but what if they lie about their age? What if they tell you that they’re 18 when they’re actually only 15? Could you still be charged with a crime even though you never intended to break the law?
This does happen and you can be charged
Unfortunately, these laws are often very complicated, and people have been charged after being lied to by their partners.
In one case, a girl claimed to be 17 years of age when she was actually only 14. The 19-year-old that she met up with had no idea that she was below the age of consent. But he was still charged when it came to light and the girl’s parents found out.
The problem is that the law often puts pressure on the older individual, essentially saying that they should have known that the other person was too young. This means that people can’t simply make up accusations of lying as an excuse. They’re still at fault.
And while this does make sense in the context of preventing someone from lying about being deceived, it also means that someone who is genuinely deceived could face charges for an act that they never dreamed was illegal. If this happens to you, it can be very frightening and it can alter the rest of your life, so be sure you understand all of your defense options.