When most people think of the term “sex crime,” they likely think of something extremely horrific. However, it is possible to be convicted of a sex crime for doing nothing other than engaging in what you assumed to be consensual sex. If you do not know the age of consent and have sex with somebody who happens to be under it, you can get into serious legal trouble. This can even apply if you did honestly not know the actual age of the underaged person in question. Laws addressing statutory rape also differ depending on the state that you are in. According to Age of Consent, the statutory rape laws of Wisconsin are violated if you engage in sexual intercourse with a person who is under the age of 18.
What if we are close in age?
Laws that protect individuals from statutory rape prosecution if they are close in age are commonly known as “Romeo and Juliet laws.” However, Wisconsin does not have a Romeo and Juliet Law. There are zero protections in place even if one person is 17 and the other person is 18. In fact, it is even possible for two individuals who are both under the age of 18 to both be prosecuted for statutory rape if they engage in intercourse or sexual contact with each other. However, this instance is exceedingly rare.
How can I avoid being prosecuted for statutory rape?
You absolutely need to be aware of the age of any sexual partners you have or are considered having. “I did not know” is absolutely not a defense against statutory rape charges, even if it is true.