Young Love or Sex Offense?
The “rules” regulating sex between teens, tweens and young adults are often unknown or unclear to the very minors they aim to protect. 14 and 16-year old sex is legal and 14 and 17-year old sex is illegal. Such distinctions are arbitrary, especially in the eyes of developing teens, if they are aware of them at all.
What is clear is that the laws governing sexual activity between minors are controversial and snuff out many bright futures. Prosecution and branding of young boys (and sometimes girls) as “sex offenders” are happening at an alarming rate with a broad brush. Defense teams fighting for these youths must be strong, persistent and aggressive to protect these young adults’ futures from needless destruction.
In the scope of a lifetime, teens are very young and with adolescence comes sexual exploration. A breathtaking amount of young lives, usual boys, are devastated by the prosecution for crimes such as Sex Abuse (Sexual Abuse), Unlawful Sexual Penetration, Contributing to the Sexual Delinquency of a Minor, Rape (usually Statutory Rape) or Sodomy. These teens are labeled as sex offenders at the dawn of their entire future and at public court hearings. The damage does not end with a permanent criminal defense record but is compounded by the Sex Offender Registry. Both limit opportunities for gainful employment, housing, college, and advanced education, scholarships and financial aid, professional licensing, volunteer work and specific types of public aid making it incredibly difficult to build a future.
We see no more unfortunate and devastating a practice than the prosecution and “sex offender” branding of teenagers for sexual exploration, often mutual and/or innocent. Our clients have even been aggressively prosecuted when all parties are friendly and the alleged defendant and defendant’s family plead for relief and insist on the mutuality of the relationship. Their pleas are ignored. Sex charges are very hard to face but there is some room for hope. We have helped many of our clients stay off the Sex Offender Registry, stay out of jail, and where the conviction is necessary, fight for one which qualifies for record clearance after a waiting period. Skill, strategy, and patience are critical.