Pennsylvania law covers a wide array of crimes involving the mistreatment of children, from furnishing liquor to minors to sexual exploitation of children. Most of these offenses carry fines and jail sentences, and some carry longer prison terms. One of the more common is corruption of minors, a crime commonly charged in situations where a defendant is accused of having sex with a minor or giving alcohol to a minor.
If you are facing corruption of minors charges in the Central Pennsylvania area, call Brian Manchester, an experienced corruption of minors defense attorney in Central Pennsylvania. Call today. It is important to start working on your defense right away.
Corruption of Minors Defined in Central Pennsylvania
It is a crime in Pennsylvania for a person older than 18 to corrupt the morals of a minor; to aid, abet, entice or encourage a minor in the commission of a crime; or to knowingly assist or encourage a minor in a parole violation. In theory, this crime can cover a wide range of “corrupting” activities. But in reality it almost always covers two: drinking and sex. Sex is considered the worse of the two under the law. While basic corruption of minors is a misdemeanor, corruption of minors involving a violation of a sex crime is a felony. Misdemeanor corruption of minors is punishable by five years in prison, while felony corruption of minors carries a maximum seven-year term.
Corruption of Minors and Similar Crimes in Central Pennsylvania
Prosecutors often tack corruption of minors charges onto other criminal counts. Corruption of minors charges frequently involve alcohol, so in these situations prosecutors will also charge defendants with furnishing alcohol to minors, a lesser misdemeanor punishable by as much as one year in jail. Felony corruption of minors inherently involves other sex crimes. Sex with a minor younger than 13 is child rape in Pennsylvania, carrying as many as 40 years in prison, and it may be charged as both child rape and corruption of minors, in addition to other crimes. Sex between an adult older than 18 and a minor between the ages of 13 and 15 is statutory sexual assault (also known as statutory rape). It is punishable by a maximum of 10 years in prison. It may be charged as both statutory sexual assault and corruption of minors.
Corruption of Minors and Age of Consent in Central Pennsylvania
The age of consent for statutory sexual assault is 16 in Pennsylvania, but the age of consent for corruption of minors is 18. This means that some sexual conduct, if it tends to corrupt the morals of minors, may be criminal even if it does not violate the statutory sexual assault laws. If so it will be misdemeanor corruption of minors, as the felony statute requires violation of a sex crime such as statutory sexual assault.
Corruption of Minors: Defenses in Central Pennsylvania
In some cases it may be possible to demonstrate that you were mistaken as to a minor’s age. But there are limits on a defendant’s ability to argue mistake in corruption of minors cases. As a rule, the court presumes a defendant knew the minor’s age in the absence of proof to the contrary. If the minor was younger than 16 at the time of the alleged offense, a defendant cannot claim he didn’t know the minor’s age or mistakenly thought she was 18. If the minor was 16 or 17, it is a sufficient defense if the defendant can prove by a preponderance of the evidence (by more than half the evidence, in other words) that he reasonably believed the minor was 18 or older.