Question: What is statutory rape? How is it punished?

Answer: Statutory rape is a common phrase that you’ll hear; it is not a phrase that you will find in the actual criminal code of Wisconsin. But when people use that phrase, what they’re usually talking about is sexual intercourse or sexual contact of some type with a person who is under the age of consent. And it got its name because people think of rape as being something that involves force or violence or coercion.

So statutory rape is something that generally would not involve force or something like that, but it would be considered a crime because the statute or the law has declared that minors are legally unable to provide consent to sexual activity. So if you look at the criminal code of Wisconsin, there is a very large section that covers sexual assault against minors that is extremely complicated and it covers what would traditionally be known as statutory rape and other conduct such as child enticement, child trafficking, child pornography and many other types of crimes.

So depending on the age of the minor, the type of conduct that’s being alleged, the penalties can be almost literally anything, anywhere from a misdemeanor carrying a few months in jail all the way up to felonies that can carry life in prison.

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