In Rhode Island, the age of consent for sexual activity is 16 years of age. This means a minor who is 15 years old or younger cannot legally consent to sex.
Similar to other states, Rhode Island has “close-to-age” exemptions—commonly known as Romeo and Juliet Law—which means a person under 18 years old can have consensually sexual intercourse with someone over 14 years of age. Yet, once a person turns 18, he/she cannot legally engage in sexual activity with another individual who is under the age of consent.
If an adult has consensual sexual intercourse with a minor who is 15 years of age or younger, it is considered “statutory rape”—or third-degree sexual assault in Rhode Island. Third-degree sexual assault is punishable by a maximum five-year prison sentence.
However, if a person over 18 years old engages in sexual penetration with a child who is younger than 14, he/she could be charged with first-degree child molestation, which carries a possible life sentence. If a person over 18 years old engages in sexual contact with a child who is younger than 14, he/she could be charged with second-degree child molestation, which can lead to a maximum 15 year prison term.
If you have been charged with statutory rape in Rhode Island, do not hesitate to let The Law Office of Thomas C. Thomasian, Esq. protect your rights, reputation, and future. Attorney Thomasian can review your case, find any weaknesses in the prosecution’s case, and determine effective legal defenses to help you get the best possible outcome.