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In an interview after his release, Dixon told The Oprah Show, “Freedom is great.

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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.

A Hot Topic Among Teens The recent discovery that 16-year-old actress Jamie Lynn Spears, the sister of pop star Britney Spears, became pregnant by her 18-year-old boyfriend has again turned consensual sex among teens into a hotly contested issue.

Only 12 states set a specific age (ranging from 16 to 18), while in the majority of states, the age of consent depends on multiple factors, including the ages of each partner and the number of years between them.

The purpose behind most statutory rape laws is to punish grown adults who take sexual advantage of a minor.

She claimed it was rape, he claimed it was consensual, and a jury acquitted him of the charges.

However, because of their age difference, the jury still found Dixon guilty of statutory rape and aggravated child molestation, and sentenced him to a mandatory 10 years in prison under Georgia law.Research shows that teenage girls tend to have their first sexual experience with male partners who are three or more years older.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.However, there are still restrictions in some states about the type of sexual activity that is permissible, such as oral sex and sodomy, as well as restrictions on relationships involving a minor and a person of authority, including teachers, coaches, or tutors.All states have special provisions if any physical force was used or serious physical injury resulted.Depending on the state, Romeo and Juliet laws may reduce the severity of the offense from a felony to a misdemeanor, reduce the penalty to a fine, probation, or community service, and/or eliminate the requirement that the convicted adult register as a sex offender.

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