Cross posted from Frederick Leatherman Law Blog.
JD, who comments regularly at my site and who provided the invaluable overlay of a Google Earth Satellite photo onto the SPD Total Station diagram of the objects found at the crime scene, asked the following question:
His lawyer [Mark O'Mara] seems to want to make a point that GZ was still 17 at the time the cousin [W9] claims he was 18 and she 16. If none of this ever happened, what’s the point in making that claim?
Statutory rape statutes establish the age of consent, which is usually 16, and provide exceptions based on the age of the other person. In effect, these exceptions establish a sliding scale of criminal liability. For example, no crime would be committed if a 16-year-old boy had consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl.
I am not familiar with the Florida statutes, but O’Mara appears to have been pointing out that, even if W9′s allegation were true, it would not constitute a crime because she and GZ were too close in age.
That ignores her claim that she never consented to sexual contact and it kind of sounds like an admission that GZ molested her.
Statutory rape statutes eliminate consent as a defense. Since she did not consent, the statutory rape statutes do not apply.
Assuming her allegations are true, we’re looking at rape and indecent liberties type offenses.
Rape requires proof of penetration “however slight,” and includes digital penetration.
Rape is generally classified into three degrees: