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What is Statutory Rape Law and its Punishments in Tennessee?

Statutory Rape is the criminal act of sexual penetration of a minor aged below the prescribed age of consent by an adult, apart from jurisdictions without close in age exemptions or Romeo Juliet Laws whereby even minors may be convicted of the said crime.

Before achieving the age of consent, a minor’s consent to sexual activities is irrelevant as he/she has not gained the ability to give consent to sexual acts and encounters. The minimum age of consent in the U.S. ranges from 16 years to 18 years of age across jurisdictions. Moreover, the victim’s chastity is not probative in any State and unawareness of the accused towards the age of the victim may also be deemed immaterial if the Court employs Strict Liability.

Tennessee Statutory Rape Law

The minimum age of consent as identified by State of Tennessee Tenn. Code Ann. §39-13-528 is 18 years with a narrow close in age exemption for consensual sex under Tenn. Code § 39-13-506, wherein defendant is also a minor, is not in a position of authority over the minor and who is not more than 4 years older than the victim, provided that the victim is at least 13 years of age and less than the legal age of consent i.e. 18 years.

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.

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.

Statutory Rape Law Tennessee

In Tennessee, Statutory Rape is a penal offense seen as a Strict Liability Crime and ignorance of any of the prohibitive facts and laws cannot serve as a defense for the accused, who upon being found guilty may serve the prescribed jail time, the imposition of a fine and also get registered as a Sex Offender as per Tenn. Code §§ 40-39-202, 40-39-212.

The Statutory Rape Law of Tennessee is codified as part of Tenn. Code Ann. §§39-13-506; 39-13-522 and it distinguishes many types of Statutory Rape, namely:

  • Mitigated Statutory Rape: A Class E Felony wherein the victim aged between 15-18 years and the perpetrator is 4 to 5 years older than the victim. If convicted, the sentence includes a prison term of 1 to 6 years and a maximum fine of $3,000.
  • Statutory Rape: A Class E Felony wherein a victim is between 13-15 years of age and the defendant is at least 4-10 years older than the victim, or the victim is 15-18 years of age, and the defendant is 5 -10 years older. If convicted, the sentence includes a prison term of 1 to 6 years and a maximum fine of $3,000.
  • Aggravated statutory rape: A Class D felony wherein the victim is 13-18 years of age, and the defendant is at least 10 years older. If convicted, the sentence includes a prison term of 2 to 12 years and a maximum fine of $5,000.
  • Rape of a Child: Class A. Felony, Range II-III, wherein the victim is 4-12 years of age. If convicted, the sentence includes a prison term of 25 to 60 years and a maximum fine of $50,000 along with community supervision for life.
Tennessee Rape Laws

Tennessee Sex Offender Search

If you want to find out who has violated Tennessee statutory rape laws, you can use GoLookUp's public records search directories. These directories provide you with sex offender registry data, including whether someone has violated Tennessee statutory rape laws and other sex laws. If you want to find information about a particular person, you can use the site's criminal records search directory; with this search engine, you need to enter a person's name into the directory. When you do, you will get a report about the said person, including whether they are a registered sex offender.

You can also use GoLookUp's zip code sex offender search; enter a Tennessee zip code of interest into the directory. When you do, the search engine will scan public records about the sex offenders who live in that area. After the search is complete, you will get a report about the Tennessee sex offenders, including their mugshots, names, the sex offenses they have committed, and much more.