It doesn’t matter if one half of the pairing is 10, 20, or even 30 years older.Things get a bit more complicated, however, when minors engage in sexual acts – especially if those sexual acts involve a minor and an adult.
Their incapacity is written into the statute—hence the term, “statutory” rape.
The age of consent can vary among states, and some states differentiate between consensual sex between minors who are close in age (for example, two teenagers of the same age), as opposed to sex between a minor and a much older adult.
Legally, though, the minor’s verbal consent in this situation doesn’t matter because they are younger than the age of consent.
When two people have consensual sex, there is nothing illegal about it as long as both of them are 18 or older.
Minors are legally incapable of giving consent to having sex; so for example, if Jen, a 15 year old willingly has sex with Tony, her 23 year old boyfriend, Tony can be charged with rape, since Jen is not legally capable of giving consent in the first place.
But if Jen and Tony are and living in Alaska, Tony need not fear criminal charges for having consensual sex with Jen.
Penalties depend on the ages of the defendant and victim, and the conduct that occurred, as described below.
First degree rape includes vaginal intercourse between a minor who is 12 or younger, and a defendant who is 12 or older at least four years older than the victim.
The State of North Carolina recognizes that romantic and sexual relationships can be complicated and some people mature earlier than others, so it is not as simple as just setting the age of 18 as the cut-off point.