Pennsylvania Age of Consent Laws 2021
What is the Pennsylvania Age of Consent?
The Pennsylvania Age of Consent is 16 years old. In the United States, the age of consent is the minimum age at which an individual is considered legally old enough to consent to participation in sexual activity. Individuals aged 15 or younger in Pennsylvania are not legally able to consent to sexual activity, and such activity may result in prosecution for statutory rape.
Pennsylvania statutory rape law is violated the de-facto age of consent law in Pennsylvania is actually 18 (due to Pennsylvania's corruption of minors statute). This creates an interesting dynamic, as the laws allow teens aged 17 and 16 to consent to each other, but not to anyone 18 or older. Teens between 13 and 15 may or may not be able to consent to a partner less than 4 years older, because while they might not be affected by the statutory rape laws, they could be prosecuted under other offenses.
Pennsylvania has a close-in-age exemption. A close in age exemption, also known as "Romeo and Juliet law", is designed to prevent the prosecution of underage couples who engage in consensual sex when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both are below the age of consent.
Depending on the situation, the Pennsylvania close-in-age exemption may completely exempt qualifying close-in-age couples from the age of consent law, or merely provide a legal defence that can be used in the event of prosecution.
The age of consent in Pennsylvania is based on the following statutes from the Pennsylvania criminal code:
Pennsylvania Age Of Consent Law: § 3122.1. Statutory sexual assault. Except as provided in section 3121 (relating to rape), a person commits a felony of the second degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse with a complainant under the age of 16 years and that person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other. § 3125 Aggravated indecent assault (7) the complainant is less than 13 years of age; or (8) the complainant is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other. (b) Aggravated indecent assault of a child.--A person commits aggravated indecent assault of a child when the person violates subsection (a)(1), (2), (3), (4), (5) or (6) and the complainant is less than 13 years of age. § 3123 Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (7) who is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and person are not married to each other. When the alleged victim is 16 or older and less than 18 years of age, and the alleged offender is over the age of 18, the Commonwealth may charge the offense of corruption of minors or unlawful contact with a minor, even if the activity was consensual: § 6301 Corruption of minors. (a) Offense defined.-- (1) Whoever, being of the age of 18 years and upwards, by any act corrupts or tends to corrupt the morals of any minor less than 18 years of age, or who aids, abets, entices or encourages any such minor in the commission of any crime, or who knowingly assists or encourages such minor in violating his or her parole or any order of court, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.
Punishments for Violating the Age Of Consent in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania has six statutory sexual abuse charges on the books which are used to prosecute age of consent and child abuse related crimes within the state. One or more of these charges may be used to prosecute violations of the Pennsylvania Age of Consent, as statutory rape or the Pennsylvania equivalent of that charge.
The severity of the criminal charge (felony, misdemeanor, etc) depends on the specifics of the acts committed and the relative ages of the perpetrator and victim. Click any charge for more detailed information.
|Aggravated indecent assault||Felony of the first degree; Felony of the second degree||A maximum of 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines; A maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines|
|Indecent assault||Felony of the third degree; Misdemeanor of the first degree; Misdemeanor of the second degree||A maximum of 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines; A maximum of 5 years in prison; A maximum of 2 years in prison|
|Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse||Felony of the first degree||A maximum of 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines|
|Sexual abuse of children||Felony of the second degree; Felony of the third degree||A maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines; A maximum of 7 years in prison and up to $15,000 in fines|
|Sexual exploitation of children||Felony of the second degree||A maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines|
|Statutory sexual assault||Felony of the first degree; Felony of the second degree||A maximum of 20 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines; A maximum of 10 years in prison and up to $25,000 in fines|