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Most statutory rape laws exist to punish an adult who takes sexual advantage of a minor, not to punish two people close in age who have consensual sex.
This means an adult who is only a couple of years older than the minor may not be charged with statutory rape or be punished as harshly as a much older adult.
These close-in-age exemption laws, sometimes known as Romeo and Juliet laws, may reduce the severity of the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor; reduce the penalty to a fine, probation or community service; and eliminate the requirement that the convicted adult register as a sex offender. For example, in New Jersey, the age of consent is 16, but individuals who are 13 or older may legally engage in sexual activity if their partner is less than four years older than they are.
For example, in Iowa a person may consent to sex at age 14 provided their partner is no more than 48 months older.
The individual's services record shall include evidence that the individual has participated in the development of his ISP and discharge plan, in changes to these plans, and in all other significant aspects of his treatment and services; and c.
The individual's services record shall include the signature or other indication of the individual's or his authorized representative's consent. Give or not give informed consent to receive or participate in treatment or services that pose a risk of harm greater than ordinarily encountered in daily life and to participate in human research except research that is exempt under § 32.1-162.17 of the Code of Virginia.
Statutory rape is sexual intercourse with a person who is younger than the statutory age of consent, as determined by state law.
This applies even if the parties are in a long-term romantic relationship or the sex is consensual.