Can my son be charged with statutory rape if the age of consent wherethe girlis from is different than the age of consent in the state in which the relations occurred?

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Can my son be charged with statutory rape if the age of consent wherethe girlis from is different than the age of consent in the state in which the relations occurred?

I was informed by a friend that my son was having sex with a younger girl. He is 20 and she is 16. My son and I live in NY where I think the age of consent is 17. However, this girl comes from a different country where I believe the age of consent is 16. So can my son be legally charged with statutory rape? Should i speak with a criminal law defense attorney? In Brooklyn, NY.

Asked on August 5, 2010 under Criminal Law, New York

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

You should definitely speak with a criminal defense attorney. In U.S. law, as a general matter, whether something is a crime or not is governed not by the state of origin or residence of the persons involved, but by the state in which the act(s) took place. Therefore, if the sexual relations took place in NY and both parties were of age in NY, there *should* be no criminal liablity. However, you and your son should double check this with an attorney who can evaluate all the circumstances of the act/event in confidence, especially given the attention and urgency given to sexual crimes, including statutory rape--this is not an area to take any chances in. Also, in your question, you write that the girl from a different "country"--if that's the case, the attorney may also need to take a look at that nation's laws to see if there is any liabilty under them.


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