Mike Kueber's Blog

June 5, 2012

Statutory rape in Texas

Filed under: Law/justice — Mike Kueber @ 1:25 pm
Tags: , ,

This past weekend while at my apartment pool, I was visiting with two dads whose young kids had just adjourned to an apartment for some game-playing.  Trying to stir something up, I asked the dad of a 13-year-old girl whether he had any trepidation letting his daughter play games with the 10- and 16-year-old sons of our randy friend.  Before girl-dad had a chance to respond, boy-dad interjected that his randy behavior should not be a reflection on his kids.  Furthermore, he was a good dad who had already taught his 16-year-old about the dangers of statutory rape – i.e., when you turn 18, underage girls are off-limits or you might go to jail. 

Although I’m not sure that teaching your son about statutory-rape law is a reliable indicator of good parenting, I decided to save that discussion for another day.  But I did question whether the statutory-rape law could apply to an 18-year-old “plus one day” boy and an 18-year-old “minus one-day” girl.  Boy-dad said yes.  Because this subject had come up before, I promised to do some internet research.

The first thing I learned on the internet is that the term “underage” is too ambiguous to be useful.  More precise terms are “marriageable age,” which I think my randy friend was referring to, and “age of consent.”  In Texas, the marriageable age is 18 without parental consent and 14 with parental consent.  By contrast, the age of sexual consent in Texas is 17 unless you are married.  Furthermore, the Texas Penal Code – § 22. 011 – allows an affirmative defense if the individual is not more than three years older than the victim, who is at least age 14.  Thus, sex between an 18-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl would not be a crime in Texas.

Looks like I won another bet.  We were going to bet title-for-title, but eventually went with a gentleman’s bet because both of us are too chicken to bet real money. 

If you are interested in the law in any other state, you can find state-specific information at the OLR website.

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