Statutory Rape in New Hampshire

Statistics show that 16% of adolescents under the age of 15 have had sex. About one third

of all high school students are having sex. Some of this sexual activity is occurring with

boys or girls under the age of 16. When that activity occurs, a crime occurs.

I know from experience that some parents are aware that their children are having sex.

Some are even aware that their less than 16 year old child is having sex. Some of these parents,

while not necessarily encouraging sexual activity, do nothing to stop it.

There is a problem with young people under the age of 16 having sex. It has nothing to

do with morality or religion. It has to do with the law.

The person having sex with the person under 16 is committing a crime. In New

Hampshire, a person is guilty of sexual assault, in the absence of certain circumstances, when

he/she engages in sexual penetration with a person, other than his/her legal spouse, who is 13

years of age or older and under 16 years of age, where the age difference between the actor and

the other person is 4 years or less. If the age difference is greater than 4 years, it is rape.

Here’s a shout out to those high school juniors and/or seniors who are having sex with their

freshman/sophomore girlfriends or boyfriends. You are likely committing a sexual assault every

time you have sex. In some instances, you are committing a rape.

The sexual assault tag refers to situations where there are no special circumstances

present. If you sprinkle in some coercion or a spiked drink, or having sex without consent being

freely given, the sexual assault becomes statutory rape. No one wants to be a high school felon

so you have to watch yourself. Teenage sex can get out of control. When it does get out of

control – lives are inalterably changed.

A person under the age of 16 is not of legal age. As a result, even if they give consent to

sexual intercourse, they really didn’t give consent, because they don’t have the legal capacity to

give consent. These subtleties can be mind boggling to a young person. “But wait a minute, she

said it was okay to have sex with her.” Sorry. She couldn’t say yes. Sorry. You’re in trouble

with the law.

There have been parents charged with aiding and abetting in the commission of a crime.

These parents encouraged/allowed their child to have sex when they were too young to have sex.

When I say too young, I’m talking about they are under age as the law defines the age of consent.

Some of the most heart breaking cases I’ve ever handled involve this crime.

So – let me give the parents out there some advice. If and when your less than 16 year old child asks your

permission to have sex with their boyfriend/girlfriend – tell them they don’t have your

permission. It isn’t time for sex. That comes later. There is no other answer to this question, no

matter how broad minded you consider yourselves.