How Young is Too Young to Agree to Sex? - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

09/13/06 - East Texas

How Young is Too Young to Agree to Sex?

by Ramonica R. Jones

Groveton police have released more information about a sexual assault investigation. The case involves high school football players and a 13-year-old girl.  

Seventeen year olds Cord Williams and Alexander Pennington are charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child. Two 15-year-old boys are also charged in the case.

Pennington and Williams are out of jail on $50,000 bond each. The two 15-year-old boys were released to their parents. They are accused of sexually assaulting an eighth grade volleyball player.

All five of the students are accused of breaking into the boys' field house after hours, but the two 15-year-olds said the girl agreed to have sex.

Investigators said the girl's grandfather found her in the field house having an asthma attack after the alleged rape. The boys took off running when he got there.

At what age can a teenager consent to sex? Texas state law says 17, but what if that 17-year-old is sexually involved with someone younger?

"The statute states it's against the law to have sex with a person under the age of 17 years of age," said Lt. David Young of the Lufkin Police Department. "That said, there are provisions in the law that provide for a defense if the actor is within two years of age of the victim. The 16-year-old girlfriend and 18-year-old boyfriend may result in a prosecution, but the statute gives them a defense."

But that rule does not apply to anyone under the age of 14, because having sex with anyone 13 or younger is considered having sex with a child. No exceptions. If two 13-year-olds have sex, aggravated sexual assault charges can still be filed.

"Having sex with a child - which is defined as a person under the age of 14 - is an automatic first degree felony and the State of Texas wrote that because they think a child under that age needs extra protection."

The latest crime statistics show most rape victims are under the age of 18 and many victims have had some kind of prior relationship with the offender.

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