United States Military Age of Consent
What is the Age of Consent for Sex in the United States Military?
For members of the United States military, conduct is governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). For members of the military, the crime of rape can be (and has been) punished by death.
The age of consent for members of the military is 16 years old. This means that a member of the military who has sex with a person under the age of 16 is committing a crime. If the sex is consensual, the crime is known as “carnal knowledge” rather than “rape” and is therefore not punishable by death.
Unlike many state laws, the UCMJ does not have any provision making exceptions for parties who are close to the same age, with one of them being below the age of consent. So, if an 18-year-old serviceman has sex with a 15-year-old girl, he is committing a crime. However, the day she turns 16, it is legal for them to have sex.
The UCMJ section prohibiting this type of conduct is very brief. The law does not list a specific punishment for the crime, only “as the Court-Martial may direct.” This probably means that any punishment short of death can be imposed, including dishonorable discharge and prison time.
The UCMJ allows mistake of fact to act as a defense in these cases. If the victim is, in fact, over the age of 12, and the offender reasonably believed that he or she was 16 or older, this fact is a valid defense.
Consult a Lawyer - Present Your Case Now!
Last Modified: 01-13-2012 04:40 PM PST
Did you find this article informative?