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What is Statutory Rape Law and its Punishments in West Virginia?

Statutory Rape Laws are entirely dependent on the age of consent as prescribed by law. The age of consent is defined as the minimum required age for gaining the legal sanction to give consent to sexual acts and encounters.

Consequently, minors under the stipulated age are considered as incapable of giving consent and the law considers their consent for sexual contact with others as irrelevant and of no legal consequence unless permitted within the strict ambit of close-in-age exemptions or Romeo Juliet Laws.

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. Violation of this prohibition is deemed illegal, and if the sexual act involves sexual penetration of the minor, it is charged and convicted as the heinous crime of statutory rape.

West Virginia Statutory Rape Law

In the State of West Virginia, the legal age of consent is notified as no less than 16 years and the close-in-age exemption for consensual sex by a minor, if permitted under the given circumstances, deem it necessary at the time of the act that:

  • Both/all participants to the sexual act are 15 years or younger with an age difference of fewer than four years.
  • If the victim is no more than 11 years of age, then the defendant ought to be no more than 13 years of age.

Barring the aforesaid exceptions or exemptions, Statutory Rape is codified in select sections of the Statutes about Sexual Assault which is enumerated below:

  • Va. Code Ann. §61-8B-3: A person is said to have committed sexual assault of the first degree when-
    • The person is aged 14 years or more, and the victim subject to sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion is younger than 12 years of age and is not married to that person. One must note that the legal age for marriage in Wisconsin at present is 18 years without parental consent and 16 years with parental consent, but the possibility of pending trials or crimes reported late but well within the statute of limitations or the remote possibility of the defendant and victim being married under a different jurisdiction where it is legal, are also taken into account to ratify whether it is a first degree offense or it falls in some other category of sexual assaults. The resultant conviction of the stated offense is imprisonment in a state correctional facility for 15-35 years with or without a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.
Statutory Rape Law West Virginia
  • The person is aged 18 years or more, and the victim subject to sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion is younger than 12 years of age. The resultant conviction of the stated offense is imprisonment in a state correctional facility for 25-100 years with or without a fine of $5,000 to $25,000.
  • Va. Code Ann. §61-8B-4: A person is said to have committed sexual assault of the third degree when-
    • The person is aged no less than 16 years and engages in sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion with a victim who is aged no more than 16 years and is at least 4 years younger to the perpetrator. The resultant conviction of the stated offense is imprisonment in a state correctional facility for 1-5 years with or without a fine of up to $10,000.

Moreover, statutory rape is identified as a strict liability crime and deems inadmissible as defense, all evidence about the prior sexual conduct of the victim, consent of the victim unless under close-in-age exemptions and the unawareness of defendant towards the actual age of the victim.

West Virginia Sex Offender Search

Under West Virginia statutory rape laws, people who have been convicted of statutory rape have to register as sex offenders. When a person is registered as a sex offender, the information about them and their crimes become public. So, you can search public records to find out who is a registered sex offender in the state of West Virginia. To perform the search, you can use online sex offender search directories, like the West Virginia website.

Another way to search for people who have violated West Virginia statutory rape laws is to use an online public records search directory, like GoLookUp. The advanced websites offer several sex offender search directories, as a criminal records search directory. When you enter the name of a person into the directory, it will scan public records, and it will let you know if the said person is a registered sex offender. You can also use the website's online zip code-based search engine where you can enter zip codes for the state of West Virginia. Then, the search engine will scan public records, and it will provide you with a list of West Virginia sex offenders who live in the area in question.