The acts of an adult engaging in sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl are serious criminal acts. When an 18-year-old male is charged with having sex with a girl that age, the tenor of the sex crimes charged do not generally offend societal values quite as much as if the male had been in his 20s, 30s or older. However, the law is equally offended by those acts, and generally in Virginia and other states, such consensual sexual activity is nonetheless chargeable as statutory rape or other major felonies.
Police recently arrested a Chesterfield man who was apparently traveling with a missing 15-year-old Central Virginia girl. The two reportedly knew each other and there does not appear to be any charges of forced sex, assault or rape. Police arrested the 18-year-old on felony charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and several misdemeanors. They indicated, however, that additional charges were forthcoming.
The police found the couple after receiving a tip that people were occupying an abandoned home. The couple came out of the woods near the house and got into a car when police stopped them. The authorities reported the strong smell of marijuana coming from the car. They also allege that the man had a revolver in his pocket.
If the evidence is overwhelming and the defendant engages in negotiating a plea bargain, criminal defense counsel will want to stress the relatively slight age difference between the accused and the victim. Although the law of Virginia may not see a distinction, the sentencing court should be able to bring the facts into some perspective. The background of how the relationship developed, how long it occurred, the circumstances of the girl leaving her family and similar factual details will hopefully tend to show that there are mitigating circumstances that would ameliorate the sentencing outcome regarding these alleged sex crimes.
Source: wtvr.com, "Missing 15-year-old girl rescued from abandoned home, Chesterfield man charged", Jon Burkett, Aug. 9, 2017