One of the things that amazed me was how many people were unaware of the statutory rape law in Michigan. Most people know there is a law but not what it says.
The law is actually under the Criminal Sexual Conduct code. It is informally called the “statutory rape law” or the “age of consent.” It is formally charged as Criminal Sexual Conduct in the Third Degree.
The part of the law that deals with statutory rape says that in Michigan it is against the law to have sex with anyone under the age of 16. The term “age of consent” comes from the fact that the law states that anyone under the age of 16 cannot give their consent to have sex.
A person under the age of 16 can be the person who initiates the start of the sex and testify that it was their idea and they freely participated, it doesn’t matter. If the police are made aware, they have no choice but to send the case to the prosecutors office, the prosecutor has no choice but to bring charges and quite frankly there is no defense. All the prosecution has to prove is that there was a sex act, and that one of the people involved was not yet 16.
This crime is a felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison. It also carries the stigma of being a registered sex offender the rest of your life.
Is the law fair, probably not. Do I think a 17 year old should be held to the above standard for having consensual sex with his 15 year old boyfriend/girlfiend? No I do not. Do I think it is right for a 25 year old to have consensual sex with his 16 year old babysitter? No, I do not, but that is not a crime.
I believe parents should be very aware of this law and make their children aware of it as soon as they think it is relevant.