U.S. Army Recruiter, Brandon Ross (26), was arrested earlier this week on accusations of having sexual relations with a teenage girl under the age of 16 during a high school recruiting event in Coweta County.
According to reports, he is facing the following charges:
- Statutory Rape in Georgia
- Aggravated Child Molestation in Georgia
- Enticing a Child for Indecent Purposes in Georgia
In today's post, I will outline the law behind statutory rape in the state of Georgia. Legally, the criminal offense of statutory rape is interesting in our state. Where criminal intent is a necessary element of the offense, specific intent is not an element of the crime of statutory rape. Statutory Rape is actually similar to a traffic offense. As with a traffic violation, the act alone is sufficient to convict. Unlike the criminal offense of rape in Georgia, statutory rape in Georgia is a "strict liability offense.”
Legal definition of statutory rape in Georgia:
“(a) A person commits the offense of statutory rape when he or she engages in sexual intercourse with any person under the age of 16 years and not his or her spouse, provided that no conviction shall be had for this offense on the unsupported testimony of the victim. (b) Except as provided in subsection (c) of this Code section, a person convicted of the offense of statutory rape shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than one nor more than 20 years; provided, however, that if the person so convicted is 21 years of age or older, such person shall be punished by imprisonment for not less than ten nor more than 20 years. Any person convicted under this subsection of the offense of statutory rape shall, in addition, be subject to the sentencing and punishment provisions of Code Section 17-10-6.2. (c) If the victim is at least 14 but less than 16 years of age and the person convicted of statutory rape is 18 years of age or younger and is no more than four years older than the victim, such person shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.” O.C.G.A. §16-6-3.
Provision (c) of this statute is known as a “Romeo and Juliet” law. There are different sex crimes in Georgia that have “Romeo and Juliet” laws.
The law is as follows: if the victim is between 14 and 16-years-old and the accused person is 18-years-old and is not more than four years older than the victim, then he or she will only face misdemeanor charges.
Penalty for statutory rape conviction in Georgia:
To be convicted, the state of Georgia must show that the accused person is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If the convicted person is under 21-years-old, then he or she is facing anywhere from one to twenty years imprisonment. If the convicted person is over 21-years-old, then he or she is facing ten to twenty years imprisonment and will have to register as a sex offender in the state of Georgia for life. If the ages of the victim and the convicted person fall into the range stated in (c) of the §16-6-3, then he or she will be facing a misdemeanor, which is a sentence of fewer than 12 months.
As a Georgia Criminal Defense Lawyer, it should be noted that everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt as I mentioned above. Wrongful accusations happen more often than we would like to admit, and there are two sides to every story.
If you or a loved one has been accused of committing a crime in Georgia, contact us today. A Georgia Criminal Defense Attorney will walk you through the process every step of the way and determine which Georgia Criminal Defenses work best for your specific case.