Age of consent laws are critical in sexual assault and abuse cases. Consent is someone’s agreement to participate in sexual activity. Engaging in sexual acts with someone without that person’s consent is a crime. If an individual is younger than the age of consent in a particular state, he or she cannot legally agree to sexual activity. The age of consent in Kansas is 16 years old.
What Is Consent?
Consent means to agree – knowingly and voluntarily – to participate or engage in sexual activity. Consent is clearly and freely given through voluntary words or actions that are understood by all parties involved. Consent cannot be assumed based on a participant’s silence or the absence of the word “no.” It also cannot be assumed based on a romantic or sexual relationship between the participants.
Consent cannot be forced, coerced or involuntarily given. It can be withdrawn at any time during the sexual activity. Someone who is incapacitated cannot legally give his or her consent. Incapacitated means the person is unable to understand the facts or implications of a situation due to a mental disability, intoxicating substance or being unconscious. Finally, someone who is below the age of consent cannot lawfully give his or her consent to sexual activity.
What Is the Age of Consent in Kansas?
An age of consent law exists due to the belief that a child cannot give his or her legal consent to sexual activity because he or she is too young to fully comprehend what’s happening. In other words, the individual is not considered legally competent to consent to sexual activity because he or she is too young. The age of consent varies from state to state but typically falls between 16 and 18 years old.
Kansas is at the younger end of the spectrum with an age of consent of 16. Until a person reaches the minimum age of 16 years old, he or she cannot consent to sexual activity in Kansas. This means that engaging or participating in any type of sexual conduct with a child under the age of 16 is against the law. Such activity may result in criminal charges for sexual assault, sexual abuse or statutory rape.
Kansas Does Not Have a Romeo and Juliet Law
Some states have exceptions to the age of consent for two people who are close in age or both below the age of consent, such as a 14-year-old and 15-year-old. These are often referred to as “Romeo and Juliet Laws,” after the Shakespeare play about two young lovers – one who was 16 and one who was 13. These laws are in place to protect minors from prosecution for sex crimes when they are significantly close in age to one another.
Kansas is not a Romeo and Juliet state. It does not have a close-in-age exemption. Individuals aged 15 and younger in Kansas cannot legally consent to sexual activity, regardless of whether the other party is close in age or also under the age of consent. Due to the lack of a close-in-age exemption, both individuals who willingly engaged in intercourse with someone under the age of 16 could be prosecuted for statutory rape (although this is rare).
Rape and Age of Consent
If an individual of any age engages in sexual relations with a child who is under the age of consent in Kansas, he or she could face charges for statutory rape. The definition of rape under the 2021 Statute – Kansas Legislature, Section 21-5503, is to knowingly engage in sexual intercourse with a victim who does not consent. This includes a victim who does not consent due to incapacitation, being physically powerless, being overcome by force or fear, or being under the age of consent.
If you believe your child is a victim of statutory rape, contact a child sexual abuse attorney at DRZ Law for a free and confidential case evaluation. We can help you have your voice heard in the civil justice system.