May-December romances may be found between people of many ages in North Carolina. When both parties are over the age of 18, such a relationship is entirely legal. However, if one of the parties is between 13 and 15 years old, such a relationship may be illegal, and may in fact be considered statutory rape.
Under North Carolina law, if a person engages in a sexual act or vaginal intercourse with a minor who is 13-years-old, 14-years-old or 15-years old, and the person is six years or more older than the minor, that person has committed statutory rape, a Class B1 felony. However, if the person is less than six years older than the 13-year-old, 14-year-old or 15-year-old but is more than four years older than that individual, it is a Class C felony. The one exception to both these rules is if the parties are legally married to one another.
For example, a person who is 21-years-old that has sexual relations with a person who is 15-years-old may have committed statutory rape. Similarly, a person who is 18-years-old that has sexual relations with a person who is 13-years-old may also have committed statutory rape.
Statutory rape is a felony in North Carolina, which comes with serious consequences. In general, consent is not a defense to statutory rape. This is because minors are not considered capable of giving consent to sexual activities. Because of this, those who are facing allegations that they have committed statutory rape need to turn to other defense arguments when planning their case, particularly if the accusations against them are unfounded. Since this post cannot provide legal advice, those who need assistance regarding the laws surrounding statutory rape may want to enlist the aid of an attorney.