Statutory Rape and Age of Consent

Statutory Rape and Age of Consent

A couple holding hands

Having sex with a person who is under the age of consent is a crime called statutory rape.  It is statutory rape even if the person seemed willing to have sex with you.  The law is very specific about what ages are illegal.  This crime is also called sexual abuse of a minor.

“Age of consent” means the minimum age a person must be before the law considers that person old enough to agree to have sex.  In part, this depends on the age of the other person.  Having sex with someone under the age of consent is a very serious crime.  If you are sexually active, be very sure about the age of the other person before having sex.

Two people who are both 16 or older can agree to have sex with each other.  When a person involved in sex is under the age of 16, Alaska law looks at the difference in ages to decide whether that person is legally able to agree to sex.

  • No one over 16 can have sex with someone who is 13 or
  • No teenager can have sex with someone who is 4 or more years

    The law also makes it a crime for a person in a position of authority over a younger person (such as a teacher or minister) to have sex with the younger person.

Generally, it is still against the law to have sex with a person who is too young, even if you are dating or if the person lied about his or her age.  You may not be guilty of illegal sexual activity if you can show that you tried to find out the person’s age and really believed he or she was old enough to agree.  But it’s hard to prove those things.  It is better to avoid illegal sexual relationships than to try and get out of being charged with illegal sexual conduct.

No, both males and females have to be old enough to have sex.  Punishment is the same for males and females if they are found guilty of illegal sexual conduct.  It does not matter if the person accused of illegal sexual conduct is male or female or the victim is male or female.

Punishment for having sex with someone who is too young under the law is very serious. Depending on the situation, the punishment could be as much as 5 to 8 years in prison for a first offense. Also, a person convicted of any sexual crime may have to register with the police as a sex offender.