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The purpose behind most statutory rape laws is to punish grown adults who take sexual advantage of a minor.
Because the laws weren’t intended to punish two individuals close in age who engage in consensual sex, in many jurisdictions, an adult who is two or three years older than the minor will not be charged with statutory rape, or will be penalized less severely than a much older adult.
The Dixon case is just one in a long line of similar legal battles teens have faced in the last decade.
Whether you agree with this outcome or not, the fact remains that statutory rape is considered a serious crime, enforceable to the full extent of the law in many states – and can change the course of a teenager’s life forever.
One particularly shocking case drew international attention when 17-year-old Georgia resident, Genarlow Wilson, was charged with aggravated child molestation and sentenced to 10 years in prison for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl.
She claimed it was rape, he claimed it was consensual, and a jury acquitted him of the charges.
In one study, researchers discovered that girls who’d had an older boyfriend by seventh grade were twice as likely to have had sex by ninth grade as girls who’d had a same-age boyfriend by seventh grade.
But do these dangers warrant laws that put young people in prison?
The only age limits concerning dating are that a legal adult (18 ) should not date a minor (18-), but as it stands, if they have been dating since the adult was still a minor it doesn't matter.
Typically, it should either be three years up and three years down from your own age.
Upon his release from prison, Dixon enrolled at Hampton University in Virginia with a football scholarship.