In North Carolina, forcible rape is the crime of a male aggressor engaging in vaginal intercourse without the consent of the female victim and with the use of force. The state has two different degrees of forcible rape, with first-degree forcible rape being a more serious crime than second-degree. While they have similar elements, statutory rape is not the same as forcible rape under North Carolina law.

What Is Statutory Rape?

Statutory rape is the crime of engaging in sexual intercourse with a minor. Generally, the minor may claim that they consented to the act, but they are too young to legally give consent. Thus, any consent provided by the minor for sexual intercourse is invalid.

How Is Statutory Rape Criminalized in North Carolina?

There are a few different statutory rape crimes in North Carolina. They are statutory rape of a child by an adult, first-degree or statutory rape, and statutory rape of a person who is 15 years of age or younger. All of the different statutory rape crimes involve a perpetrator having sexual intercourse with a victim who is younger than them.

What Is Statutory Rape of a Child by an Adult?

Statutory rape of a child by an adult occurs when someone who is at least 18 years old engages in vaginal intercourse with a minor under 13 years of age. The crime is a Class B1 felony in North Carolina.

Is Sexual Battery the Same as Statutory Rape of a Child by an Adult?

No. Under North Carolina law, sexual battery occurs when a person intentionally engages in sexual contact another individual for the purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse. The perpetrator commits sexual contact by either touching the victim’s sexual organ, groin, breast, buttocks, or anus or cause their anus, buttocks, groin, sexual organ, or breast to touch the victim. This contact is done by force and without the victim’s consent. In North Carolina, statutory rape of a child by an adult goes farther than sexual battery, as it requires actual vaginal intercourse, not just simple contact.

What Is the Punishment for Statutory Rape of a Child by an Adult?

As previously mentioned, statutory rape of a child by an adult is a Class B1 felony. However, while a first offense Class B1 felony is punishable by 192 to 240 months in prison, a person convicted of statutory rape of a child by an adult will face a prison sentence of at least 300 months. Additionally, once a person has served their prison sentence, they will be subjected to satellite monitoring by the state. Furthermore, if the court determines that the statutory rape was committed with egregious aggravation, such as the extremely young age of the victim or if the victim was tortured in a depraved manner, then the perpetrator will face life imprisonment without parole.

Should I Contact a Criminal Lawyer?

A criminal charge of statutory rape can lead to both a lengthy prison sentence and being subjected to monitoring by North Carolina for the rest of your life. If you are facing a statutory rape charge, contact a North Carolina criminal lawyer immediately to see what you can do to fight the charge and the potential punishment that comes with such a charge.