A 48-year-old man is accused of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl. According to authorities he allegedly offered her clothing and food in exchange for her cooperation. The man was already a registered sex offender when he was pulled over by a state trooper. The man and the girl were traveling together. The girl reportedly told officials that the man was a friend of hers and that they had sexual relations on at least three different occasions. She said that she complied because she knew he would buy her food and clothes.
The man has had formal charges filed against him and is being held without bond. On the surface, the man's crime appears to be sexual assault. Sexual assault is when a person intentionally commits a sexual offense in which the victim was forced by either threat or violence. This can also occur when the person is unable to give consent, resist, or are even aware the assault is going on. Individuals who are convicted are guilty of a second degree felony. Our state does not specifically refer to statutory rape, but that is what the charges can be defined. The age of consent is 17 in Texas, meaning only those who are 17 and older can give legally recognized consent to sexual activity. Regardless of the whether the girl gave consent, because she is a minor in the eyes of the law it is called statutory rape or sexual assault.
If the individual is not more than three years than the victim who is at least age 14, they may have an affirmative defense. In addition, depending on the severity of the crime or if the individual was a repeat offender the crime can range from two to 20 years. Because the man in this case is much older and was already a registered sex offender, his crime may carry more weight than another.