In this hypothetical state, two seventeen year olds who had consensual sex could both theoretically be convicted of statutory rape.Other states imply a different method which, like the federal statute, takes into account the relative ages of both people.Some states, such as California and New York, set an age at which all sexual intercourse is considered statutory rape.
Both partners must be of legal age to give consent, although exceptions to the age of consent law exist in some jurisdictions when the minor and his or her partner are within a certain number of years in age or when a minor is married to his/her partner.
Persons below the age of consent may not, by law, give consent, and sexual relations involving such persons may be punished by criminal sanctions similar to those for rape or sexual assault.
However, this age of consent varies widely from state to state.
Statutory rape is a strict liability crime, meaning that the consent of the younger person or mistake about their age is not a defense.
It is not meant to punish individuals who are close in age for engaging in consensual, non-exploitative sexual conduct.