SMART answers your questions


Augsburg’s Sexual Misconduct Awareness Raising Team (SMART) wants to answer your questions about consent! They will be answering the questions bi-monthly in the ECHO in addition to addressing current events related to sexual misconduct.

Recently, a student from our school asked, “What defines statutory rape?”

**Be aware that this is a heavy topic and will be using layman’s terms.

Statutory rape is a form of sexual misconduct defined by a variety of laws which draw the line at what ages people can and cannot have sex with each other.  Statutory rape laws differ state by state and country by country. Minnesota’s age of consent is 16 years old.  However, this does not mean that a 40-year-old can legally have sex with a 16 year old. Sixteen and seventeen-year-olds have a little less freedom than legal adults and are legally able to have consensual sex with someone who is up to 4 years older than them as long as they are not an authority figure.  As for some of the other specifics, the site Age of Consent explains it well: “Minnesota statutory rape law is violated when a person has consensual sexual intercourse with an individual under age 16, although it is raised to 18 when the offender is an authority figure. If the younger party is 13-15, their partners must be no more than 2 years older, and children under 13 may only consent to those less than 36 months older.”

Offenders are subject to the four different levels of statutory rape as defined by Minnesota’s laws, all of which have detailed specifics that grow in severity.  The punishments differ in severity, as well, but convicted offenders may face prison sentences of up to 30 years, receive heavy fines, and be registered as a sex offender.

Statutory rape laws are confusing, so if there is any question about whether something qualifies, make sure to clarify because the consequences can be life changing.  Knowing the laws in your area are important for both you and your partner.

Look at any of the sites below for more information: Ageofconsent.net, criminaldefenselawyer.com, caplantamburino.com, RAINN

Questions for SMART’s monthly column can be submitted to smarteam@augsburg.edu. They will be printed anonymously and kept confidential.

SMART meets every other Wednesday in OGC 100 from 6pm-7pm. Keep an eye on their Facebook and Instagram pages for upcoming events. You can also email smarteam@augsburg.edu to get on their email list and to express interest in writing these articles.

This article was originally published in the Nov. 9, 2018 issue.