21 dating 17
Your 18-year-old son is dating a 16-year-old female classmate – no big deal, right?
A two-year age difference isn’t particularly alarming, and dating is fairly standard at that age.
In May 2004, the Georgia Supreme Court overturned Dixon’s conviction, stating that he should’ve been prosecuted on the lesser charge of misdemeanor statutory rape, which carries a maximum sentence of one year.
“In many cases, they are enforced largely by how angry the parents of the younger party are.” In some states, offenders have spent years in prison for statutory rape in situations similar to Jamie Lynn Spears’ while other states have prosecuted only egregious crimes.
One particularly shocking case drew international attention when 17-year-old Georgia resident, Genarlow Wilson, was charged with aggravated child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl.
Because the laws weren’t intended to punish two individuals close in age who engage in consensual sex, in many jurisdictions, an adult who is two or three years older than the minor will not be charged with statutory rape, or will be penalized less severely than a much older adult.
These so-called “Romeo and Juliet” laws provide defenses and reduced penalties in cases where the couple is relatively close in age.
Research shows that teenage girls tend to have their first sexual experience with male partners who are three or more years older.