In 2011 Smith and Kercher wrote "Because of the large number of potential statutory rape cases, it is said that many jurisdictions will "pick and choose" which cases they want to investigate and prosecute." In some states it is common to only prosecute the male in events where both parties in a heterosexual relationship are below the age of consent. 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.

Smith and Kercher wrote that there had been "large inconsistencies" among the decisions of prosecution and sentencing of these cases, and there had been accusations that minority males who have sex with minority women resulting in pregnancy and/or who have sex with white women have faced the brunt of enforcement. Shown by articles of the Code of Alabama: 13A-6-70: (c) A person is deemed incapable of consent if he is: (1) Less than 16 years old... It would not matter if the older person did not know of the age difference, or if the younger person lied about age. Consensual (between minors) sexual intercourse over the 2-year age difference (where the minor is under 13 years old) would subject the older minor to a charge of Sexual Assault, 1st Degree, in violation of C. However, the offender would have the same chance to apply for Youthful Offender status (see Sexual Assault, 2nd Degree above) provided the criteria are met. Crimes and Criminal Procedure, Delaware Criminal Code § 770. (a) A person is guilty of rape in the fourth degree when the person:...2) Intentionally engages in sexual intercourse with another person, and the victim has not yet reached that victim's eighteenth birthday, and the person is 30 years of age or older, except that such intercourse shall not be unlawful if the victim and person are married at the time of such intercourse.

The term includes soliciting or harassing a student to perform a sex act. 18-3-404(1.5), and the crime of trafficking in children, C. State of Georgia occurred in 2006 and caused lawmakers to think the statute should have a close-in-age exception.

(c) The crime of a school employee having sexual contact with a student is a Class A misdemeanor. Persons under the age of eighteen are also children for the crime of inducing or coercing someone to have sex or to have sexual conduct with another for the voyeur's gratification, or to expose themselves to another for the voyeur's sexual gratification, C. At the time because of the words of the law, a 17-year-old boy was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl.

The laws were designed to prosecute persons 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. This subsection is ambiguous on its face and seems to apply only when the minor is transported across state or international lines to a place where the conduct is already illegal to begin with. The sentence for a first time offender convicted of producing child pornography under 18 U. While mandatory minimum offenses do not apply to mere possession of child pornography, it is almost always the case that a person in possession of child pornography is also necessarily guilty of either receipt of child pornography, which carries a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, or production of child pornography, which carries a fifteen-year mandatory minimum sentence. Sessions, the Supreme Court hold that in the context of statutory rape offenses that criminalize sexual intercourse based solely on the ages of the participants, the generic federal definition of “sexual abuse of a minor” requires the age of the victim to be less than 16. § 920), to which essentially only members of the United States Armed Services and enemy prisoners of war are subject, defines the age of consent as sixteen years in subsection but allows an exemption for people who are married to minors 12–15 years old.

After the 1995 Landry and Forrest study concluded that men aged 20 and older produced half of the teenage pregnancies of girls between 15 and 17, states began to more stringently enforce age-of-consent laws to combat teenage pregnancy in addition to prevent adults from taking advantage of minors. Kercher of the Criminal Justice Center of Sam Houston State University wrote that these laws are often referred to as "Romeo and Juliet laws", though they defined Romeo and Juliet as only referring to an affirmative defense against prosecution. The United States Department of Justice seems to agree with this interpretation. Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (10 U. There is also a mistake in age defense if the minor is over 12, but not if the minor is under 12. Depending upon the relevant status of forces agreement, United States servicemembers are also subject to the local criminal laws of the host nation for acts committed off-post.

(b) As used in this section, sex act means sexual intercourse with any penetration, however slight; emission is not required. For repeat offenders, the minimum 10 years and the maximum is life imprisonment.

(c) As used in this section, deviant sexual intercourse means any act of sexual gratification between persons not married to each other involving the sex organs of one person and the mouth or anus of another. This crime has the same close-in-age exception as statutory rape stated above if the victim is 14 or 15 years old and the actor is 18 or younger and within 4 years of age.While the general age of consent is now set between 16 and 18 in all U. states, the age of consent has widely varied across the country in the past.In 1880, the age of consent was set at 10 or 12 in most states, with the exception of Delaware where it was 7.The State Legislature passed Act 2010-497 making it a crime for any school employee to have any sexual relations with a student under the age of 19. 13A-6-81 : A person commits the crime of a school employee engaging in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student under the age of 19 years if: (a) He or she is a school employee and engages in a sex act or deviant sexual intercourse with a student, regardless of whether the student is male or female. The crime "child molestation" makes it illegal for anyone to engage in "any immoral or indecent act to or in the presence of or with any child under the age of 16 years with the intent to arouse or satisfy the sexual desires of either the child or the person," as well as electronically transmit any depiction of such an act.A school employee includes a teacher, school administrator, student teacher, safety or resource officer, coach, and other school employee. Consent is not a defense to a charge under this section. It carries a minimum sentence of 5 years and a max of 20 years in prison for a first-time offender, as well as mandatory counseling and sex offender sentencing guidelines.Until the late 20th century many states had provisions requiring that the teenage girl must be of previous "chaste character" in order for the sexual conduct to be considered criminal. The act has to be illegal under state or federal law to be charged with a crime under 2422(b), and can even be applied to situations where both parties reside within the same state but use an instant messenger program whose servers are located in another state. § 2260) makes it a federal crime to possess or create sexually explicit images of any person under 18 years of age; this creates a federal age of consent of 18 for pornography.