If a girl lies about her age and ends up sleeping with an older man, is he held liable?

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If a girl lies about her age and ends up sleeping with an older man, is he held liable?

Even if he had verified her age several times? What if she then tries to blackmail/extort him about this information? I would assume he is still held liable for the act?

Asked on September 8, 2011 under Criminal Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

Yes, if the man would be guilty of what is commonly known as "statutory rape" due to either the girl's age or the difference between their ages (or both), he could face criminal liability. Criminal liability in this regard is not based on actual knowledge of age (presumably for policy reasons; otherwise it would be impossible to enforce the law, since everyone would claim that they did know their partner's actual age), and so it does  not matter whether he knew or age or not, or whether he took care to try to know her age or not. All that matters is her age, and his.

However, extortion, including extortion by threatening to press charges, is itself a crime and illegal. So while he may face criminal liability, if she is doing this, it is possible she would face liability, too.


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