In Utah the crime is called “Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16- or 17-year-old,” much of the non-legal world calls it statutory rape. The law recognizes that many 16 and 17-year olds regularly engage in sex, however, the law prohibits adults from engaging in sex with them unless they are married.
Statute § 76-5-401.2 should not be confused with the common scenario of an 18-year-old engaging in sexual activity with a 17-year-old, violations of this statute involve individuals who are at least seven (7) years older than the victim.
Individuals found to have been engaging in unlawful sexual conduct with a minor could face serious misdemeanor or felony charges.
Information on Unlawful Sexual Conduct
• What are the Elements of Utah Stat. § 76-5-401.2?
• How Does Utah Define Sexual Conduct?
• What are the Penalties Under §76-5-401.2?
Elements of Unlawful Sexual Conduct under Utah Statute § 76-5-401.2
In order to convict a person of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16 –or -17-year old, in violation of § 76-5-401.2, the State must show the following beyond a reasonable doubt:
• a person who is seven or more years older, but less than ten (10) years older than the minor at the time of the offense; or
• a person holds a relationship of special trust as an adult teacher, employee, or volunteer, as described in 76-5-404.1(1)(c)(xix); does any of the following:
o the person engaged in sexual conduct as defined by Subsection (2)(b) of this Statute;
o the person knew or reasonably should have known the age of the minor.
Sexual Conduct Defined
Since the penalties for a § 76-5-401.2 are separated by misdemeanor and felony violations based on the definition of sexual conduct, as determined by this Statute, understanding the definition of “sexual conduct” is imperative.
The Statute defines “sexual conduct” as an individual engaging in any of the following:
• has sexual intercourse with the minor;
• engages in any sexual act with the minor involving the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person, regardless of sex of either participant;
• causes the penetration, however slight, of the genitals or anal opening of the minor by any foreign object, substance, device, or instrument, including a part of the human body, with the intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to any person or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person, regardless of the sex of any participant; or
• touches the anus, buttocks, or any part of the genitals of the minor, or a female minor’s breast, or otherwise takes indecent liberties with the minor, or causes a minor to take indecent liberties with the actor or another person, with the intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to any person or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person regardless of the sex of any participant.
Penalties for Unlawful Sexual Conduct with a 16-or 17-Year Old
The type of penalty that will be handed down for a § 76-5-401.2 violation will depend on the type of sexual conduct the individual is convicted of engaging in.
An individual can be charged with either a misdemeanor or felony after being convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a 16 – or 17-year old.
Unlawful sexual conduct with a 16- or 17-year old in the form of touching the minor’s anus, buttocks, or any part of the minor’s genitals, or a female minor’s breast, or otherwise takes incent liberties with the minor or causes the minor to take indecent liberties with the actor or another person, with the intent to cause substantial emotional pain or gratify the sexual desire of any person, regardless of the sex of any participant, is charged as a Class A Misdemeanor.
A class A misdemeanor is punishable by up to one year in jail and up to $2,500 fines.
An individual will be charged with a third-degree felony if he or she is found to have done any of the following:
• engaged sexual intercourse with a minor;
• engaged in an sexual act with the minor involving the genitals of one person and the mouth or anus of another person; or
• engaged in an act that caused the penetration, however slight, of the minor’s genital or anal opening by any foreign object, instrument, substance, or device, including a part of the human body, with the intent to cause substantial emotional or bodily pain to any person or with the intent to arouse or gratify the sexual desire of any person.
In Utah, a third-degree felony is punishable by up to five (5) years in Utah State prison and up to $5,000 fines plus a 90 percent surcharge.
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