Ahh, young love. If you’re like most people, you probably remember your first crush. Also, if you’re like most people, your juvenile years were probably a somewhat confusing time, with new feelings, puberty and peer pressure complicating everything.
Another thing that can complicate a young relationship are the Minnesota laws on criminal sexual contact among minors. These laws are in place to protect individuals in vulnerable positions, but they can also lead to criminal sexual conduct charges among young couples who willingly engage in sexual activity. Below, we take a closer look at the laws, and what you should do if you or your child ends up facing criminal sexual assault charges.
Consent Laws in Minnesota
Teens in Minnesota are allowed to date younger and older individuals, and this is a fairly common practice especially considering freshman and seniors in high school often walk the same halls. The problem begins if these relationships turn sexual in nature, even if both parties “consent” to the action. Here’s what Minnesota has to say about consent and criminal sexual conduct:
- In Minnesota, the age of consent is 16 years old. This means anyone under the age of 16 is not legally allowed to give consent, even if they are a willing participant. Engaging in sexual activities with someone under the age of 16 can result in statutory rape charges.
- We also have laws regarding criminal sexual conduct. A person will be charged with criminal sexual conduct if the victim is less than 13 years old and the defendant is more than three years older than the victim.
- You can also face criminal sexual conduct charges if the victim is between 13 and 16, and the actor is more than two years older than the victim.
- A person can also be charged with criminal sexual conduct if the victim is between 16 and 18 and the actor is more than four years older and uses a position of authority to make the victim submit.
So if you are a teen and you’re dating someone a couple years older or younger than you, or if you are a parent of a teenager, be sure that you are aware of Minnesota’s law regarding sexual contact. Sexual contact doesn’t just mean sex; if you have contact with another person’s private parts for sexual reasons, it is considered sexual contact under the law.
Even if you both “consent” to the action, it can still be illegal. Some parents know that their teens are sexually active in their relationship and believe that as long as they are being safe, it’s ok, but if a mandated reporter learns of the activity, they will be forced to report it to police. That means that if a teacher, counselor, social worker or similar professional learns of the activity, they will report it, and at that point you’re up against the letter of the law.
A criminal conviction for statutory rape or criminal sexual contact can derail a young person’s life, so if your child is facing one of these charges, be sure that you contact an experienced criminal defense lawyer like Avery Appelman. He will work with your teen to help them beat the charges or at a minimum, keep the charges from ruining their life going forward. To learn more about how he’ll accomplish this, reach out to his firm to set up a free consultation today at (952) 224-2277.