I frequently get this question – “how can they charge me with rape? She said she was 19!” The answer is simple, a representation of the age of an apparently consenting person means nothing!

Bupkis! Nada! Absolutely nothing! What matters is the age of the person – that is – the ACTUAL age.

The law does not care that some young woman or man tells you a bold-faced lie. It is not a defense to a charge of sexual misconduct – including rape. Whenever the issue of age comes up there we want to believe the person with whom we want to “be.” Why would they lie? Maybe you have an idea that they are lying but you ignore that little bell ringing a warning in the back of your mind because hormones are raging – and well you get the picture.

If you hear that little bell, STOP!

It is illegal in Idaho to have sexual contact with a minor regardless of consent. The only real exception to that rule involves a consenting partner who is 16 or 17 and another consenting person who is not more than three years older. If she (the most common circumstance / or he) is 17 and you are 20, you’re somewhat safe. Even then, however, what seemed like consent at the time may change into “I never said yes” after the younger person’s parents get involved.

Statutory rape is a general intent crime, so a mistake of fact or misunderstandings as to age does not provide a defense. What matters is that the act occurred. It is better to exercise caution on the side of not doing anything. A lie as to her age is not a defense.

Find out that potential partner’s actual age before things get out of hand. Consider reviewing his or her driver’s license. And if you are over 20, do not get sexually involved with a minor. Period! The risks associated with a charged sexual offense are simply too high.