What’s Statutory Rape?: An Ohio Case Spotlights the Grey Area

Statutory rape laws are meant to protect the young, vulnerable and often defenseless in society from those that seek to exploit their naiveté. We are glad statutory rape laws exist, especially when we picture a middle-aged man seducing a wide-eyed teenaged girl. These statutes make it easier to prosecute and deter rape, which we know is often difficult to do given the general skepticism surrounding rape allegations. Few of us, however, think about the times when statutory rape laws can result in stiff penalties for behavior we don’t view quite as harshly–consensual relations between two teenagers, for example – or when the victim may be subject to prosecution as well.