Is this Illegal? North Carolina Statutory Rape Laws

North Carolina

I have a friend that has recently started dating a 17 year old. She herself is 26. We have looked at all the laws in North Carolina - NC about the age of consent but some are confusing. Can anyone clear this up. Is it illegal or legal. Thanks

Legality depends on the actions taken and the type of relationship formed prior to the act. For example, if the 26 year old is a guardian or parental figure, teacher, a coach or the like and the 17 year old a student, different laws (other than statutory rape) may apply. When a person reaches the age of 16 in North Carolina, they can no longer be a victim of statutory rape. The age of consent is 16. There are other laws regarding other types of sexual acts and dissemination of sexually graphic material that apply to minors under the age of 18. The laws on Statutory Rape and other sexual or immoral offenses are outlined below.

North Carolina Statutory Rape Laws

§ 14‑27.7A. Statutory rape or sexual offense of person who is 13, 14, or 15 years old.

(a) A defendant is guilty of a Class B1 felony if the defendant engages in vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with another person who is 13, 14, or 15 years old and the defendant is at least six years older than the person, except when the defendant is lawfully married to the person.

(b) A defendant is guilty of a Class C felony if the defendant engages in vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with another person who is 13, 14, or 15 years old and the defendant is more than four but less than six years older than the person, except when the defendant is lawfully married to the person. (1995, c. 281, s. 1.)

§ 14‑27.7. Intercourse and sexual offenses with certain victims; consent no defense.

(a) If a defendant who has assumed the position of a parent in the home of a minor victim engages in vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with a victim who is a minor residing in the home, or if a person having custody of a victim of any age or a person who is an agent or employee of any person, or institution, whether such institution is private, charitable, or governmental, having custody of a victim of any age engages in vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with such victim, the defendant is guilty of a Class E felony. Consent is not a defense to a charge under this section.

(b) If a defendant, who is a teacher, school administrator, student teacher, school safety officer, or coach, at any age, or who is other school personnel, and who is at least four years older than the victim engages in vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with a victim who is a student, at any time during or after the time the defendant and victim were present together in the same school, but before the victim ceases to be a student, the defendant is guilty of a Class G felony, except when the defendant is lawfully married to the student. The term "same school" means a school at which the student is enrolled and the defendant is employed, assigned, or volunteers. A defendant who is school personnel, other than a teacher, school administrator, student teacher, school safety officer, or coach, and is less than four years older than the victim and engages in vaginal intercourse or a sexual act with a victim who is a student, is guilty of a Class A1 misdemeanor. This subsection shall apply unless the conduct is covered under some other provision of law providing for greater punishment. Consent is not a defense to a charge under this section. For purposes of this subsection, the terms "school", "school personnel", and "student" shall have the same meaning as in G.S. 14‑202.4(d). For purposes of this subsection, the term "school safety officer" shall include a school resource officer or any other person who is regularly present in a school for the purpose of promoting and maintaining safe and orderly schools. (1979, c. 682, s. 1; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1316, s. 9; 1981, c. 63; c. 179, s. 14; 1993, c. 539, s. 1132; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1999‑300, s. 2; 2003‑98, s. 1.)

§ 14‑27.4A. Sexual offense with a child; adult offender.

(a) A person is guilty of sexual offense with a child if the person is at least 18 years of age and engages in a sexual act with a victim who is a child under the age of 13 years.

(b) A person convicted of violating this section is guilty of a Class B1 felony and shall be sentenced pursuant to Article 81B of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes, except that in no case shall the person receive an active punishment of less than 300 months, and except as provided in subsection (c) of this section. Following the termination of active punishment, the person shall be enrolled in satellite‑based monitoring for life pursuant to Part 5 of Article 27A of Chapter 14 of the General Statutes.

(c) Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 81B of Chapter 15A of the General Statutes, the court may sentence the defendant to active punishment for a term of months greater than that authorized pursuant to G.S. 15A‑1340.17, up to and including life imprisonment without parole, if the court finds that the nature of the offense and the harm inflicted are of such brutality, duration, severity, degree, or scope beyond that normally committed in such crimes, or considered in basic aggravation of these crimes, so as to require a sentence to active punishment in excess of that authorized pursuant to G.S. 15A‑1340.17. If the court sentences the defendant pursuant to this subsection, it shall make findings of fact supporting its decision, to include matters it considered as egregious aggravation. Egregious aggravation can include further consideration of existing aggravating factors where the conduct of the defendant falls outside the heartland of cases even the aggravating factors were designed to cover. Egregious aggravation may also be considered based on the extraordinarily young age of the victim, or the depraved torture or mutilation of the victim, or extraordinary physical pain inflicted on the victim.

(d) The offense under G.S. 14‑27.4(a)(1) is a lesser included offense of the offense in this section. (2008‑117, s. 2.)

North Carolina Offenses against Public Morality and Decency

§ 14‑202.1. Taking indecent liberties with children.

(a) A person is guilty of taking indecent liberties with children if, being 16 years of age or more and at least five years older than the child in question, he either:

(1) Willfully takes or attempts to take any immoral, improper, or indecent liberties with any child of either sex under the age of 16 years for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire; or

(2) Willfully commits or attempts to commit any lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body or any part or member of the body of any child of either sex under the age of 16 years.

(b) Taking indecent liberties with children is punishable as a Class F felony. (1955, c. 764; 1975, c. 779; 1979, c. 760, s. 5; 1979, 2nd Sess., c. 1316, s. 47; 1981, c. 63, s. 1, c. 179, s. 14; 1993, c. 539, s. 1201; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

§ 14‑202.2. Indecent liberties between children.

(a) A person who is under the age of 16 years is guilty of taking indecent liberties with children if the person either:

(1) Willfully takes or attempts to take any immoral, improper, or indecent liberties with any child of either sex who is at least three years younger than the defendant for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire; or

(2) Willfully commits or attempts to commit any lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body or any part or member of the body of any child of either sex who is at least three years younger than the defendant for the purpose of arousing or gratifying sexual desire.

(b) A violation of this section is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor. (1995, c. 494, s. 1; 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 742, s. 12.)

§ 14‑190.13. Definitions for certain offenses concerning minors.

The following definitions apply to G.S. 14‑190.14, displaying material harmful to minors; G.S. 14‑190.15, disseminating or exhibiting to minors harmful material or performances; G.S. 14‑190.16, first degree sexual exploitation of a minor; G.S. 14‑190.17, second degree sexual exploitation of a minor; G.S. 14‑190.17A, third degree sexual exploitation of a minor; G.S. 14‑190.18, promoting prostitution of a minor; G.S. 14‑190.19, participating in prostitution of a minor.

(1) Harmful to Minors. – That quality of any material or performance that depicts sexually explicit nudity or sexual activity and that, taken as a whole, has the following characteristics:

a. The average adult person applying contemporary community standards would find that the material or performance has a predominant tendency to appeal to a prurient interest of minors in sex; and

b. The average adult person applying contemporary community standards would find that the depiction of sexually explicit nudity or sexual activity in the material or performance is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community concerning what is suitable for minors; and

c. The material or performance lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value for minors.

(2) Material. – Pictures, drawings, video recordings, films or other visual depictions or representations but not material consisting entirely of written words.

(3) Minor. – An individual who is less than 18 years old and is not married or judicially emancipated.

(4) Prostitution. – Engaging or offering to engage in sexual activity with or for another in exchange for anything of value.

(5) Sexual Activity. – Any of the following acts:

a. Masturbation, whether done alone or with another human or an animal.

b. Vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse, whether done with another human or with an animal.

c. Touching, in an act of apparent sexual stimulation or sexual abuse, of the clothed or unclothed genitals, pubic area, or buttocks of another person or the clothed or unclothed breasts of a human female.

d. An act or condition that depicts torture, physical restraint by being fettered or bound, or flagellation of or by a person clad in undergarments or in revealing or bizarre costume.

e. Excretory functions; provided, however, that this sub‑subdivision shall not apply to G.S. 14‑190.17A.

f. The insertion of any part of a person's body, other than the male sexual organ, or of any object into another person's anus or vagina, except when done as part of a recognized medical procedure.

g. The lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person.

(6) Sexually Explicit Nudity. – The showing of:

a. Uncovered, or less than opaquely covered, human genitals, pubic area, or buttocks, or the nipple or any portion of the areola of the human female breast, except as provided in G.S. 14‑190.9(b); or

b. Covered human male genitals in a discernibly turgid state. (1985, c. 703, s. 9; 1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1022, s. 2; 1993, c. 301, s. 2; 2008‑218, s. 1.)

§ 14‑190.16. First degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

(a) Offense. – A person commits the offense of first degree sexual exploitation of a minor if, knowing the character or content of the material or performance, he:

(1) Uses, employs, induces, coerces, encourages, or facilitates a minor to engage in or assist others to engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a visual representation depicting this activity; or

(2) Permits a minor under his custody or control to engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a visual representation depicting this activity; or

(3) Transports or finances the transportation of a minor through or across this State with the intent that the minor engage in sexual activity for a live performance or for the purpose of producing material that contains a visual representation depicting this activity; or

(4) Records, photographs, films, develops, or duplicates for sale or pecuniary gain material that contains a visual representation depicting a minor engaged in sexual activity.

(b) Inference. – In a prosecution under this section, the trier of fact may infer that a participant in sexual activity whom material through its title, text, visual representations, or otherwise represents or depicts as a minor is a minor.

(c) Mistake of Age. – Mistake of age is not a defense to a prosecution under this section.

(d) Punishment and Sentencing. – Violation of this section is a Class C felony. (1985, c. 703, s. 9; 1993, c. 539, s. 1196; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1995, c. 507, s. 19.5(o); 2008‑117, s. 3; 2008‑218, s. 2.)

§ 14‑190.17. Second degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

(a) Offense. – A person commits the offense of second degree sexual exploitation of a minor if, knowing the character or content of the material, he:

(1) Records, photographs, films, develops, or duplicates material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity; or

(2) Distributes, transports, exhibits, receives, sells, purchases, exchanges, or solicits material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaged in sexual activity.

(b) Inference. – In a prosecution under this section, the trier of fact may infer that a participant in sexual activity whom material through its title, text, visual representations or otherwise represents or depicts as a minor is a minor.

(c) Mistake of Age. – Mistake of age is not a defense to a prosecution under this section.

(d) Punishment and Sentencing. – Violation of this section is a Class E felony. (1985, c. 703, s. 9; 1993, c. 539, s. 1197; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2008‑117, s. 4; 2008‑218, s. 3.)

§ 14‑190.17A. Third degree sexual exploitation of a minor.

(a) Offense. – A person commits the offense of third degree sexual exploitation of a minor if, knowing the character or content of the material, he possesses material that contains a visual representation of a minor engaging in sexual activity.

(b) Inference. – In a prosecution under this section, the trier of fact may infer that a participant in sexual activity whom material through its title, text, visual representations or otherwise represents or depicts as a minor is a minor.

(c) Mistake of Age. – Mistake of age is not a defense to a prosecution under this section.

(d) Punishment and Sentencing. – Violation of this section is a Class H felony. (1989 (Reg. Sess., 1990), c. 1022, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1198; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 2008‑117, s. 5; 2008‑218, s. 4.)

§ 14‑186. Opposite sexes occupying same bedroom at hotel for immoral purposes; falsely registering as husband and wife.

Any man and woman found occupying the same bedroom in any hotel, public inn or boardinghouse for any immoral purpose, or any man and woman falsely registering as, or otherwise representing themselves to be, husband and wife in any hotel, public inn or boardinghouse, shall be deemed guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor. (1917, c. 158, s. 2; C.S., s. 4345; 1969, c. 1224, s. 3; 1993, c. 539, s. 120; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

§ 14‑184. Fornication and adultery.

If any man and woman, not being married to each other, shall lewdly and lasciviously associate, bed and cohabit together, they shall be guilty of a Class 2 misdemeanor: Provided, that the admissions or confessions of one shall not be received in evidence against the other. (1805, c. 684, P.R.; R.C., c. 34, s. 45; Code, s. 1041; Rev., s. 3350; C.S., s. 4343; 1969, c. 1224, s. 9; 1993, c. 539, s. 119; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c).)

§ 14‑190.1. Obscene literature and exhibitions.

(a) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to intentionally disseminate obscenity. A person, firm or corporation disseminates obscenity within the meaning of this Article if he or it:

(1) Sells, delivers or provides or offers or agrees to sell, deliver or provide any obscene writing, picture, record or other representation or embodiment of the obscene; or

(2) Presents or directs an obscene play, dance or other performance or participates directly in that portion thereof which makes it obscene; or

(3) Publishes, exhibits or otherwise makes available anything obscene; or

(4) Exhibits, presents, rents, sells, delivers or provides; or offers or agrees to exhibit, present, rent or to provide: any obscene still or motion picture, film, filmstrip, or projection slide, or sound recording, sound tape, or sound track, or any matter or material of whatever form which is a representation, embodiment, performance, or publication of the obscene.

(b) For purposes of this Article any material is obscene if:

(1) The material depicts or describes in a patently offensive way sexual conduct specifically defined by subsection (c) of this section; and

(2) The average person applying contemporary community standards relating to the depiction or description of sexual matters would find that the material taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest in sex; and

(3) The material lacks serious literary, artistic, political, or scientific value; and

(4) The material as used is not protected or privileged under the Constitution of the United States or the Constitution of North Carolina.

(c) As used in this Article, "sexual conduct" means:

(1) Vaginal, anal, or oral intercourse, whether actual or simulated, normal or perverted; or

(2) Masturbation, excretory functions, or lewd exhibition of uncovered genitals; or

(3) An act or condition that depicts torture, physical restraint by being fettered or bound, or flagellation of or by a nude person or a person clad in undergarments or in revealing or bizarre costume.

(d) Obscenity shall be judged with reference to ordinary adults except that it shall be judged with reference to children or other especially susceptible audiences if it appears from the character of the material or the circumstances of its dissemination to be especially designed for or directed to such children or audiences.

(e) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm or corporation to knowingly and intentionally create, buy, procure or possess obscene material with the purpose and intent of disseminating it unlawfully.

(f) It shall be unlawful for a person, firm or corporation to advertise or otherwise promote the sale of material represented or held out by said person, firm or corporation as obscene.

(g) Violation of this section is a Class I felony.

(h) Obscene material disseminated, procured, or promoted in violation of this section is contraband.

(i) Nothing in this section shall be deemed to preempt local government regulation of the location or operation of sexually oriented businesses to the extent consistent with the constitutional protection afforded free speech. (1971, c. 405, s. 1; 1973, c. 1434, s. 1; 1985, c. 703, s. 1; 1993, c. 539, s. 1194; 1994, Ex. Sess., c. 24, s. 14(c); 1998‑46, s. 2.)


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 03/26/2011 - 16:19.

My ex boyfriend and I made a sex tape which was extremely detailed and had numerous explicit sexual acts in it. For most of the video, I am clearly seen and my ex boyfriend only in parts as he was filming it. I want to know, if he could be legally charged for publicly distributing it in any form, either the internet, MMS or showing it to a group of people? The tape was made on a camcorder and would it be illegal for him to show it to someone on the camcorder itself, even if he doesn't distribute it on the internet? This tape was made almost 8 months ago when we were in a relationship and after we broke up I have repeatedly asked him to return the original to me and not to distribute it. However, he hasn't done so. I am extremely concerned and scared about this situation, as when I made the tape with him we had been in a serious relationship for 3 years and although it was with my consent back then, it was agreed upon that it would just be seen by him and me and it wouldn't even be uploaded to a computer so as to protect our privacy and avoid any chances of anyone else viewing it. Now he is avoiding returning the tape to me and I am afraid if he says it got into someone's possession (maybe from his computer?) and says that person distributed it when he might have circulated it himself? Is he still responsible legally? What do I do? Could I put some charges against him for not returning the tape and possibly distributing it?

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 07/01/2010 - 09:32.

16 year old daughter is having (consensual)sex with a 20 year old male. I have forbidden the relationship and now my daughter is sneaking around behind my back. What legal rights do i have and is the male breaking any laws for the state of North Carolina

Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 04/03/2010 - 17:44.

Is it illegal for a 24 year old male to have sex with a 17 year old male in NC?

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