Police: Sex with underage person not ‘legally’ rape

Saint Lucia Police have been explaining why under the criminal code, a person who has sexual intercourse with someone who is underage will not be charged for rape.

Acting Corporal at the Prosecution Unit, Anne Joseph, has said that while in the United States there is an offence of statutory rape, the situation is different in Saint Lucia.

Joseph observed that a person under the age of sixteen cannot give consent to any sexual act.

She noted that for that reason, consent cannot be withdrawn.

“Rape deals with not giving consent or withdrawing consent and the person persists and commits the sexual assault,” Joseph told the MBC Television programme – Police Insight on Monday night.

The police officer observed that as a result, the charge of rape is not instituted because an underage person cannot consent to sex.

“It begs the question if you cannot give consent how can you possibly say at a certain point that you did not give consent or  you withdrew consent?” She told her audience.

Joseph disclosed that rape speaks to sexual intercourse with an individual without that person’s consent, according to Section 123 of the Criminal Code.

Sections 126 and 127 of the code speak to sex with a minor or a young person – a minor being a child below the age of twelve and a young person being between the ages of twelve and sixteen, it was explained.

It was revealed that data from the Northern division indicate that in 2013 there were fifty such reports of sexual intercourse with a minor and sexual intercourse with a young person.

There were seventy-one reports in 2014, fifty eight in 2015 and for this year so far, forty-two reports.

There are two Vulnerable Persons Units – one in the North and the other in the South, which spearhead investigations into the reports.

Acting Corporal Joseph noted that according to Section 119 of the  Criminal Code, an individual in a position of trust or authority becomes aware of a case of suspected physical or sexual abuse of a child and fails to report it either to the police or to the Division of Human Services can be held criminally liable.

The Criminal Code defines a person of trust as including a  parent, a guardian, a teacher, a medical practitioner, a social worker, drivers of school buses or anyone having charge of a young person.

 

 

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