13 Sexual intercourse with a woman under the age of 18 is illegal, regardless of the age of the accused. However, sexual acts that do not constitute penetration are legal in certain circumstances if the victim is at least 16 years old. Minimum age. In 27 states that do not have a uniform age of consent, laws set the age at which a person cannot have legal sex, regardless of the age of the accused (see second column of table 1). The minimum age in these states ranges from 10 to 16 years. The legality of sexual intercourse with a person over the minimum age and under the age of consent depends on the age difference between the two parties and/or the age of the defendant. (1) It existed on 4 March 1972. (2) It is subject to amendment by law, and modifications are permitted or not prohibited by its terms. (3) In all other respects, it shall be governed by the laws of that State. The laws of each of the 50 states and the District of Columbia were the primary sources of information for this report. Each state`s laws were accessible via the internet – usually through the state legislature`s website. At the time of writing, all laws were in force until at least 2003. This report is not a legal document.
It shall be based on the most recent information available; However, many of the state laws mentioned were not commented. However, every effort has been made to seek additional resources to learn about recent changes in applicable law or jurisprudence and prosecutors` general views on legislation. In many countries, including Australia, India, Brazil, Croatia and Colombia, a minor is defined as a person under the age of 18. In the United States, where the age of majority is determined by each state, minors generally refer to a person under the age of 18, but in some states, in certain areas (such as casino gambling, possession of handguns, and alcohol consumption) may be used to define a person under the age of 21. In the criminal justice system, the term “minor” is not entirely consistent in some places, as a juvenile can be tried and punished for a crime either as a “minor” or, usually only for “extremely serious crimes” such as murder and/or robbery, as an “adult”. As mentioned above, few states use the term legal rape in their codes. Instead, penal codes determine the legality of certain sexual acts. Applicable legislation is often embedded in the section of the Code dealing with other sexual offences (e.g., sexual assault, violent rape). In States where the definition of child abuse does not explicitly refer to legal rape, discrepancies between the legality of certain sexual activities and whether they are reportable crimes are more frequent. As Michelle Oberman explains in Regulating Consensual Sex with Minors: Defining a Role for Statutory Rapes, the theoretical underpinnings of statutory rape laws have changed dramatically since their introduction.  The modern rationale for these laws is based on the desire to protect minors from sexual exploitation.
However, when these laws appeared in the 13th century, the main intention was to protect the chastity of young women. This report focuses on laws that criminalize intentional sexual acts with a minor that would be legal without the age of one or more of the participants. The report does not include laws where the legality of sexual acts depends on the relationship of the participants (e.g., incest, sexual relations between teachers and students, or doctors and patients). In addition, the summaries do not include laws that criminalize specific sexual behaviours (e.g., bestiality, sodomy) or that primarily address prostitution, sexual exploitation or temptation. The death penalty for persons who committed a crime before the age of 18 was established by Roper v. Simmons in 2005.  The Court`s 5-4 decision was written by Kennedy J. and supported by Ginsburg, Stevens, Breyer and Souter, and cited international law, the science of child development and many other factors in reaching its conclusion.
State laws differ in the extent to which legal rape is included in reporting requirements. In about one-third of states, mandatory reporting is limited to situations where the abuse was committed or permitted by a caregiver.26 Take Virginia as an example. Child abuse, a reportable crime, includes any sexual act that violates state criminal law, but is limited to acts committed by the victim`s parents or another person responsible for the child`s custody.