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Statutory Rape Defense Attorneys

In Kansas, a person who participates or engages in sexual activity with a child under 16 years old can be convicted of either statutory rape, sodomy or indecent liberties with a child. While the penalties are quite severe (e.g. prison time, fines, registration as a sex offender), even allegations can cause irreparable damage to your personal and professional reputation.

If you are charged with a sex crime involving sexual conduct with a minor, you must obtain experienced legal counsel from a qualified attorney. At SRC Law Group, LLC, we understand how law enforcement investigate charges, how prosecutors try cases, and judges operate. With more than 25 years of collective experience, our criminal defense lawyers have practiced law in both Kansas and Missouri in all federal courts. Let us guide you through the complexities of the legal system so you can get the results you want.

Let’s take a closer look below at Kansas’s laws to help you better understand what they say and how you could be charged.

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Statutory Rape

In Kansas, statutory rape is defined as engaging in unlawful voluntary sexual relations with a child under the age of 14. A person can face charges for unlawful voluntary sexual relations if they engage in sexual intercourse with a child older than 14 but less than 16-years-old and the perpetrator is older than 18 at the time. Although the intercourse may have been consensual by both parties if one individual is under the age of consent, their consent has no legal power; essentially rendering it useless. Being found guilty of statutory rape could lead to having to register as a sex offender along with fines, and in some cases, jail time.

It’s important to note, however, that while Kansas has no Romeo and Juliet exemption, individuals are punished much less severely than they would for sexual contact between a child and an adult (Kansas Statute § 21-5507).

For those aged 16 to 18, however, they are legally allowed to give consent to sexual activity. However, this does not necessarily make sex with someone this age legal. The only thing this means is that consensual sexual contact or intercourse with someone in this age range cannot be charged as statutory rape. However, it can carry charges of “aggravated indecent liberties with a child,” which is a level 3 felony.

Engaging in Sodomy (anal or oral sex)

Engaging in sodomy (anal or oral sex) with a child under 16 years old is also a criminal offense. When the child is under 14 years of age, sodomy is punished more severely. Indecent liberties occur with a child by engaging in any sexual activity with a child over 14 years old, but under 16 years of age.

Unlawful voluntary sexual relations can result in the following criminal charges:

  • Level 8 person felony for voluntary sexual intercourse;
  • Level 9 person felony for voluntary sodomy;
  • Level 10 person felony for voluntary lewd fondling or touching.

Statutory rape and sodomy is an off-grid person felony (if the defendant is 18 years of age or older), which is punishable by life imprisonment and a maximum fine of $500,000.

If the defendant is under 18 years old, the crime is considered a severity level 1 person felony, which is punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 653 months (early 54 and a half years) and a fine of up to $300,000.

Sodomy of a child between ages 14 and 16 is a severity level 3 person felony, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 247 months (over 20 and a half years) and a fine of up to $300,000.

Indecent Liberties with a Child

Indecent liberties is a severity level 5 person felony, punishable by a maximum prison sentence of 136 months (nearly 11 and a half years) and a fine of up to $300,000. If sexual intercourse was involved, it is a severity level 3 person felony.

Furthermore, those convicted of any of the sex crimes mentioned must register as sex offenders.

Romeo and Juliet Laws

Kansas is a unique state in that they do not have a “close in age” exemption, or what’s more commonly known as a “Romeo and Juliet” law. These laws are essentially designed to protect knowing and consenting teenagers or young adults who wish to engage in consensual sexual activity from criminal prosecution, provided they are within a certain age range of each other.

What this essentially means is even those who are between the ages of 16 and 18 could both be prosecuted for indecent liberties with a child, though this is extremely rare. This also means that a 16 year old could face statutory rape charges for having intercourse with a 15 year old significant other. The charges could even be upgraded to level 1 felony if they have sex with a 14 year old.

The story of Romeo and Juliet is one that many of us are familiar with-- a tale of young love. What many people don’t know, however, are the laws in place in many states with the same name.

Close in Age Exemptions

Some states have “Romeo and Juliet laws,” better known as close in age exemptions. These laws allow individuals under the age of consent to have legal sexual intercourse with an older partner by protecting them against the harsh legal penalties that are typically associated with violating the age of consent law.

Unfortunately, Kansas is one of the states that has no Romeo and Juliet laws. In Kansas, the age of consent is 16, and there is no close in age exemption available.

What does this mean?

It means that, in Kansas, any individual who is 15 or younger cannot legally participate in sexual activity of any kind. Doing so could result in statutory rape charges, which could lead to a long legal battle.

What Happens if I Didn’t Know They Were Underage?

While there are plenty of benefits to using Tinder and similar apps, they can also cause a lot of “catfishing” scenarios. People take a lot of liberties with their identities online, changing their personas, physical features, and even their ages to be more attractive to potential suitors. While most of these changes are harmless in the eyes of the law, the age change factor may have huge ramifications. So what happens if you sleep with a minor when you didn’t know they were underage?

Can I Get Charged If I Didn’t Know?

In short, the answer is yes. If you are involved in sexual conduct with a minor, even if you didn’t know they were a minor, you could face criminal charges. A Kansas government-run juvenile crimes website states, “All that matters for you to be found guilty is how old they were at the time of the offense. Not how old you thought they were or how old they told you they were, but how old they actually were.”

It is crucial to note that even if the minor tells you they aren’t a minor, you could still be charged for statutory rape! Their deceit does not impact the legal implications of your actions.

What Should I Do to Prevent Underage Sexual Misconduct Charges?

Here are some tips to keep you safe from underage sexual misconduct:

  1. Never send lewd photos to someone you’ve never met! This is crucial to keeping you safe, as sending lewd photos to a minor (even if you didn’t know their age) can have huge ramifications on your life!
  2. If you’re unsure if your date is of age, ask to see their ID. While asking for an ID may not be “sexy”, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
    Refuse to have sexual relations with someone who isn’t willing to show you their ID. While your date may have their reasons for not showing you their ID, make sure the night stays platonic until they can prove their age.
  3. If you’re unsure if your date is of age, ask to see their ID. While asking for an ID may not be “sexy”, it’s better to be safe than sorry!
  4. Refuse to have sexual relations with someone who isn’t willing to show you their ID. While your date may have their reasons for not showing you their ID, make sure the night stays platonic until they can prove their age.

Online dating and dating apps

Online dating and dating apps have completely changed the way people go about meeting someone new. Instead of going to a bar, hoping Mr. or Mrs. Right will come and sit next to them, millennials can sit at home scrolling through pictures and bios of those who are also looking for a relationship

While smartphones and the internet have streamlined the dating process, there is a dark side to kindling a relationship with a stranger: you never know they are until you meet them. Unfortunately, no one knows this better than Zach Anderson.

The Story of Zach Anderson

Zach Anderson was 19 years old, and like many people his age, turned to a dating app to find someone special. Unfortunately, the someone special he came across wasn’t who he thought she was.

When Zach and this girl initially started talking, they were flirting with each other, and things moved quickly. That’s when Zach asked the girl her age, to which she responded: “I’m seventeen.” Zach had no reason to believe she was lying, primarily because she was on a dating app for adults. After Zach received her age, he assumed he could pursue an intimate relationship, but he was wrong.

Zach picked up his date and they had sex, but the date’s mother didn’t know where she was, and called the police in response to her missing. When the police answered the call, they were informed that a 14-year-old girl was missing from her house. However, later that night the girl was back at the house, and everything seemed fine, but Zach Anderson would get a surprise nearly two months later.

Zach’s Trial

Two months after the date, Zach was arrested for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a minor. At first, Zach had no idea what the officers were talking about, but it soon became clear that Zach’s date from two months prior was not honest about her age: instead of being 17, as she told Zach in private messages, the girl was 14.

Even though Zach technically broke the law, his “victim” and her mother were both on Zach’s side. The girl said she felt that nothing should happen to Zach, and the girl’s mother said, “I don’t want him to be a sex offender because he really is not.” It’s not every day that you hear the mother of the “victim” say the person on trial is innocent of the crime.

Zach’s Initial Penalties

Police arrested Zach for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and he was subsequently convicted of the crime. Zach spent 75 days in jail and was ordered to register as a sex offender, which came with a strict probation period.

Some of Zach’s initial restrictions included:

  1. Not allowed to own a smartphone or use the internet;
  2. Not allowed to talk to anyone younger than 17 (other than immediate family);
  3. Having to live away from home because it was within 1,000 feet of a public boat ramp;
  4. Home before 8 p.m. every night.

However, due in part to the public outcry over Zach Anderson’s story, he was resentenced from 25 years on the sex offender’s registry to two years of probation.

What This Means for Sex Crimes

This story tells us that not every situation is as criminal as it may first appear. The fact, in this case, was that a 19-year-old slept with a 14-year-old, but when you add the circumstances that lead up to that behavior, it becomes clear that sometimes, the law isn’t black-and-white as many believe.

Contact the Kansas Sex Crimes Attorneys at SRC Law Group

If you find you are facing charges of statutory rape, aggravated indecent liberties with a child, or any other sex crime in which a minor was involved, regardless of whether you are an adult or teenager, you should retain a Kansas sex crimes lawyer as soon as possible for help navigating the complicated criminal justice system.

SRC Law Group, LLC has more than 25 years of combined legal experience they can put to work protecting you and your rights from the harshness of the criminal justice system.

We treat you with the respect you deserve and give your case the attention and care you expect from an attorney who has earned such prestigious honors as being selected to Super Lawyers® and being named one of the Top 100 Trial Lawyers by The National Trial Lawyers.

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