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What is Statutory Rape Law and its Punishments in Maryland?

Statutory Rape is the most ghastly form of sexual assault on minors involving the sexual penetration of anyone below the stipulated age of consent by an adult, or in the rarest of rare specified cases, another minor. The minimum age of consent in the U.S. ranges from 16 years to 18 years of age across jurisdictions.

Every State of the United States explicitly prohibits adults i.e. individuals aged 18 years or older, from having sexual intercourse, attempted intercourse or seduction of minors. Statutory Rape Laws are subject to the age of consent as prescribed by law which is defined as the age for gaining the ability to give consent to sexual acts and encounters. Consequently, minors are considered as incapable of giving consent, mentioned as such in the Statutes, hence the term “statutory rape”. Violation of this prohibition is deemed illegal.

Statutory Rape Law Maryland
Some States have clarified certain exemptions to prosecution under statutory rape based on the age difference between the perpetrator and the minor.  These are legally known as close-in-age exemptions but referred to as Romeo and Juliet Laws in layman terms. These exemptions allow sexual activity for a prescribed age of minors within a maximum permissible age gap between the individuals involved.

The Romeo and Juliet exemptions of the State of Maryland are arrived at through interpretation of exclusions to the definition of rape under MD Code, Criminal Law, § 3-303; § 3-304; § 3-307:

  • Minor under 14 years of age participate in sexual activity with someone not 4 years older than him/her.
  • Minor is 14-15 years of age and the other participant of the sexual activity is not more than 21 years of age

In codified law, unlike common law, some States also recognize a narrow window of certain specific instances of forced sexual penetration as Statutory Rape. Federal, as well as State laws, bear provisions explaining the prohibitions, the age of consent, the types of offenses identified as statutory rape, exceptions to definitions, procedures of trial and exceptions to procedures and the corresponding penalties and punishments as prescribed by law.

Maryland Statutory Rape Law
In common law, statutory rape is different from rape as it does not necessitate evidence to prove the use of force, abuse of authority or prohibited means to commit the crime. The basis of this is the legal maxim that minors are ineligible to give consent for sexual contact; hence the provision of consent as a defense for the accused is immaterial.

Moreover, in most legislation, even strict liability is applicable to statutory rape i.e. ignorance of the law or unawareness of the status of the victim as a minor has no legal standing as a reason to exempt the accused from the charges.

Maryland Codified Law adheres to its provisions of Common Law. As per the MD Code, Criminal Law, § 3-308,  age of consent in the State of Maryland is 16 years. Statutory rape in Maryland is codified under subsections of other Sexual Offenses in the following manner:

  • Code Ann., Criminal Law § 3-304: Rape in the Second Degree if the victim of the sexual act involving sexual penetration is under 14 years of age and the defendant is at least 4 years older. The punishment entails imprisonment not exceeding 20 years, unless the defendant is 18 years of age or older and the victim is under the age of 13 years, the defendant is subject to imprisonment for not less than 15 years and not exceeding life.
  • Code Ann., Criminal Law § 3-307: Sexual offense in the third degree if the victim is 14-15 years of age and the perpetrator aged at least 21 years commits sexual intercourse with the victim. The punishment entails imprisonment not exceeding 10 years.
  • If the perpetrator has the previous record of sexual offense then he/she lose the right to parole or corrections.
Maryland Rape Laws

Maryland Sex Offender Search

Maryland statutory rape laws require people who have violated these laws to register as sex offenders in the state of Maryland and in other states that they move to. When a person registers as a sex offender as a result of Maryland statutory rape laws or other violations, their information will be made available to the public. So, you will be able to search Maryland registered sex offenders in public records. Instead of law enforcement agencies, you can use an online public records search sites to find information about Maryland registered sex offenders. With GoLookUp, you will be able to find data about individuals and the entire area.

To find information about a person, you can use the website's criminal records check; simply enter the name of the person that you are searching into this public records search directory. As soon as you do, you will get a report about the said person, including their sex offender registries.

The second search method is based on zip codes; you need to enter a Maryland zip code into this search engine. When the search is complete, you will get a full report about people who have violated Maryland statutory rape laws and other laws. The report will include the names of the sex offenders, the crimes they committed, their mugshots, and additional information.