When news first broke about a then-18-year-old lesbian cheerleader who had been arrested and charged with sexually assaulting her girlfriend, many people in the Twin Cities likely thought the case was relatively unique. They were right, but only in the fact that there is considerable speculation about whether the initial reason why the young woman was arrested was because she was a lesbian. The fact that she was a high school student being charged with statutory rape because of a relationship with someone under the age of consent, however, is far from unique.
It is a fact of life that high school students will date each other and many of them will not be the same age. Just because one student is older and one is younger, however, does not mean that their relationship is anything but consensual. Yet a consensual relationship will not protect the older high school student if the younger student is under the age of 16 in Minnesota. This forms the basis of a very serious crime and one that will come with the strictest of punishments: statutory rape.
Fortunately for the now-19-year-old woman who is facing her own charges of sexual assault, the Florida prosecutors have offered her a deal if she pleads no contest to one felony count for interference of child custody and two misdemeanor battery counts. If she accepts the deal, she will not be sent to jail and she will not have to register as a sex offender. It remains to be seen if she will take the deal.
For many of the Minnesotan high school students charged with these crimes, they are not so lucky. Even if they can stay out of jail, they may have to register as sex offenders, severely limiting their futures.
Source: Daily Mail, “Lesbian high school cheerleader urged to take plea deal on her 19th birthday after sex charges for relationship with 14-year-old girl,” Aug. 15, 2013