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In 1880, the age of consent was set at 10 or 12 in most states, with the exception of Delaware where it was 7. Previously the Connecticut age gap was two years, not three. A guilty verdict would result in conviction of a Class A felony sex offense, with a mandatory minimum of 5–10 years and maximum 25 years imprisonment. Links to Statutes Cited (in numerical order) The age of consent in Delaware is 18, but it is legal for teenagers aged 16 and 17 to engage in sexual intercourse as long as the older partner is younger than 30. Definitions generally applicable to sexual offences. (j) A child who has not yet reached his or her sixteenth birthday is deemed unable to consent to a sexual act with a person more than 4 years older than said child.By 1920 ages of consent generally rose to 16–18 and small adjustments to these laws occurred after 1920. A guilty verdict would result in conviction of a Class B felony sex offense, with a mandatory minimum of 9 months and maximum 20 years imprisonment. By 2007 there had been a proposal to increase the gap to four years to reduce the number of close-in-age statutory rape cases being prosecuted, but three years was selected as a compromise. Any juvenile offender 14 years old or older has the case automatically transferred to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court by operation of law, and thus stands before the court to be tried as an adult. Because the charge is a sex offense, the juvenile prosecutor can request that the proceeding designated a "serious sexual offender prosecution". Children who have not yet reached their twelfth birthday are deemed unable to consent to a sexual act under any circumstances.In 1998 Mississippi became the last state to remove this provision from its code. Any juvenile offender 14 years old or older has the case automatically transferred to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court by operation of law, and thus stands before the court to be tried as an adult. However, in 2009 Senate Bill 185 amended the text of article 768 from anyone under 16 years to anyone under 18 years.The laws were designed to prosecute people far older than the victims rather than teenagers close in age; therefore prosecutors rarely pursued teenagers in relationships with other teenagers even though the wordings of the laws made some close-in-age teenage relationships illegal. From 2005 onwards states have started to enact Jessica's Law statutes, which provide for lengthy penalties (often a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years in prison and lifetime electronic monitoring) for the most aggravated forms of child sexual abuse (usually of a child under age 12). Louisiana, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that the death penalty for rape of a child was unconstitutional. Such a finding would allow the Court to issue orders as it finds necessary in dealing with the matter. § 768 Unlawful sexual contact in the second degree; class F felony.
For the purposes of age of consent, the only provision applicable is . This most likely reflects Congressional intent not to unduly interfere with a state's age-of-consent law, which would have been the case if the age was set to 18 under all circumstances. Although legislation tends to reflect general societal attitudes regarding male versus female ages of consent, Richard Posner notes in his Guide to America's Sex Laws: The U. Supreme Court has held that stricter rules for males do not violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution, on the theory that men lack the disincentives (associated with pregnancy) that women have, to engage in sexual activity, and the law may thus provide men with those disincentives in the form of criminal sanctions. Nevada criminalizes "statutory sexual seduction" while Pennsylvania criminalizes "statutory sexual assault". 18-3-405.3, and Colorado's child prostitution laws. However, while Colorado law does recognize common law marriages entered into when both spouses are eighteen years of age or older, it does not recognize common law marriages entered into in Colorado or elsewhere after September 1, 2006, when one spouse is under eighteen years of age. This offense carries a minimum sentence of 1 year in prison, and a maximum of 20 years.
'Romeo and Juliet' Laws Since it would be a strange or unjust result to throw love-struck teens into jail for having consensual sex, many states have passed so-called "Romeo and Juliet" laws.