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Defending against statutory rape charges in Iowa

One of the more common sex-related felony charges in Iowa is statutory rape. In Iowa's criminal code, statutory rape falls under the category of sexual abuse. The fact that the sex was consensual is not a defense to a statutory rape charge. Even if the defendant was reasonably mistaken as to the alleged victim's age, and even if the alleged victim lied about his or her age and looked old enough, consent is not a defense.

There are some defenses that can be made in a statutory rape case. If the defendant and the alleged victim were married at the time of the act, no crime has been committed. As with any alleged crime, the defendant may be able to argue he or she was not the person who committed the act, or that the victim's story is fabricated and no sexual relations took place.

One of the most important defenses to a statutory rape charge in Iowa is the so-called "Romeo and Juliet" defense. Under Iowa's sexual abuse statute, sexual relations with a person aged 14 or 15 is not a crime if the defendant was less than four years older than the victim at the time of the act. Thus, if two teenagers aged 15 and 16 have consensual sexual relations, the 16-year-old cannot be charged with a crime.

Anyone facing sexual abuse charges in Iowa, including charges of statutory rape, is in an extremely serious situation. Consulting an experienced criminal defense attorney can be the first step in fighting the charges and winning one's freedom.

Source: Iowa Code ยงยง 709.3, 709.4, accessed July 4, 2015

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