The teen years are full of many firsts. Between the ages of 13 to 20, teens often drive for the first time, attend their first prom or school dance and go on a first date. For many teens, these years are also marked by a first boyfriend or girlfriend and intimate relationship.
Each state has laws related to the age at which an individual can legally consent to a sexual relationship. For example, in Colorado the age of consent is 17. A recent case in the state of Florida related to the consensual relationship between a 18-year-old girl and her 14-year-old girlfriend, has yielded both national and international attention.
The 18-year-old girl was arrested on felony sex crimes charges after the 14-year-old’s parents decided to press charges. A previous plea bargain would have forced the 18-year-old to register as a sex offender and submit to two years under house arrest. A new plea bargain was recently announced on the young woman’s 19th birthday, which would require her to plead guilty to one felony count of interference of child custody and two misdemeanor counts.
Under the terms of the new deal, the 19-year-old wouldn’t be required to register as a sex offender. She also wouldn’t be under house arrest, but would be on probation for three years. Additionally, the criminal charges would later be expunged from the young woman’s record. Neither the young woman or her defense attorney has commented on whether or not she plans to take the most-recent plea deal.
The case has sparked outrage among many gay rights and civil rights advocates who contend the girl’s sexuality is being used against her and that the relationship was in fact consensual.
Colorado residents facing charges related to misdemeanor or felony sex crimes for having sex with an individual who is under the legal age of consent, would be wise to consult with an attorney. In these cases, a criminal defense attorney who has experience handling such matters can help provide for the best possible legal outcome.
Source: Daily Mail, ”
Lesbian high school cheerleader urged to take plea deal on her 19th birthday after sex charges for relationship with 14-year-old girl,” Aug. 15, 2013