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At age 17, Anthony Croce began having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend; when he turned 18, the girl’s disapproving mother pressed charges and Croce pleads no contest.
He was then legally compelled to register as a sex offender.
Even worse, he may carry the stigma of being labeled a sex offender for the rest of his life.
The problem typically arises when the male is 18 or 19, the female is between 14 and 16, and the parent of the younger teen presses charges.
Matthew Limon was a mentally disabled 17-year-old when he had consensual sex with a 14-year-old boy.
Under the Romeo and Juliet law enacted in Kansas in 1999, Limon would have been sentenced to 15 months in prison if the boy had been a girl.
After serving jail time from 2003-2007, the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that Wilson should be released; and this decision was followed by a change in state law that reduced consensual sex between teenagers to a misdemeanor with a maximum sentence of one year.
The new laws, named “Romeo and Juliet laws” after Shakespeare’s tragic teenage lovers, attempt to correct overly harsh penalties and prison terms meted out over the years.
But because the law states that partners must be members of the opposite sex, Limon was given a 17-year sentence.
The Romeo and Juliet laws are frequently enforced unfairly says Mark Chaffin, a researcher with the University of Oklahoma-based National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth.
For teenagers who are gay or lesbian and engage in consensual sex, the laws are much tougher.
A 2004 case heard by the Kansas Supreme Court had civil libertarians and gay rights groups protesting the existence of a double standard.Here are some easy and fun ideas that you might want to try out…