House OKs easing statutory rape law for teens - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

House OKs easing statutory rape law for teens

BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Young men who have consensual sex with teen girls may no longer face statutory rape charges if a measure approved in the House becomes law.

Under the bill passed 54-14 Friday, men within three years of their 16-year-old or 17-year-old sexual partners would be cleared of statutory rape charges if the sexual encounter was consensual. Having sex with a girl under 18 is illegal, no matter the age of the male.

Bill sponsor Rexburg Republican Mack Shirley said the current statute punishes young men with lifelong consequences, like becoming a registered sex offender, while women who have consensual sex don't face any criminal penalties.

Rigby Republican Rep. JoAn Wood voted against the legislation, which now goes Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter for final approval. Wood contends it reduces legal protections for vulnerable teen girls pressured into having sex.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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