Law's Limits: Regulating Statutory Rape Law
University of California, Irvine School of Law
May 15, 2013
Wisconsin Law Review, 2013
Minnesota Legal Studies Research Paper 13-23
This Article examines statutory rape cases of the last decade and submits that both the apparatus to police sexual violence against minors — statutory rape laws — as well as their application against consenting minors create legally untenable, absurd results that frequently impose legal and extralegal burdens on minors that may exceed that of adult, convicted rapists. No coherent framework has been offered by a politician that responds pragmatically to the empirical realities of adolescent sexuality. Neither federal nor state legislatures offer a coherent, well-articulated approach to militate against the harshest criminal punishments demanded by statutory rape provisions. Indeed, judges interpret and enforce statutory rape cases in a manner that entrenches stereotypes and biases. On the other hand, few scholars wrestle with the broader contemporary applications of statutory rape law despite recent decades of absurd results and disproportionately harsh penalties against teens. The Article offers two novel ways forward to address teen sex and statutory rape.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 61
Keywords: Crime, Rape, Statutory rape, Sexual predatory, Adolescents, Teens, Sex, Pregnancy, Abstinence, Punishment, Cruel and Unusual, Race, Gender
JEL Classification: H59, K14, K4, K40, K42, K49, I3, I31, J7, J71, J78, K32Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: May 16, 2013
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