We have previously written that per Wisconsin's statutory rape laws, no one under the age of 16 can legally give their consent to have sex. Therefore, sex between a 15-year-old girl and her 17-year-old boyfriend could lead to statutory rape charges, even when the sex was completely consensual.
However, when statutory rape charges do surface, the defendant could face much stiffer penalties if the alleged victim says she did not give her consent. This distinction could prove highly important in a recent sexual assault case involving two high school seniors from Mequon.
The two 18-year-old boys were charged with sexual assault of a child under 16, which is a felony. A 14-year-old girl reported to school officials that she had sex or sexual activity with the two seniors inside Homestead High School on a day in early November, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
When the charges were first filed, there were reportedly no allegations that the sex was non-consensual. The young men have continued to attend classes since they were arrested and released in mid November.
But recently, the girl's father made allegations during a news interview that the sex was forced. Since that time, an attorney representing the alleged victim has also said that the encounter was forced and that her client is "totally distraught."
As of the date that the news article was published, authorities had not heard these allegations directly from the girl.
But the issue of consensual vs. non-consensual sex is no small detail. According to the district attorney who issued the charges, the two young men already face possible prison sentences of up to 40 years for the existing charge. If authorities find that the sex was non-consensual, it could mean additional charges and even more potential prison time.
But we are left to wonder: why has the alleged victim suddenly changed her story, and will this affect the credibility or her allegations? Considering the serious consequences these two young men are now facing, it will be important for authorities to scrutinize the details carefully before moving forward.
Source: Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Lawyer says sexual contact at Homestead High was forced," Tom Tolan, Dec. 7, 2011