These laws scare me a little. Here"s a scenario: a 27-year-old man sleeps with a 17-year-old girl. She goes home, her parents want to know where she's been all night. Eventually, she breaks down and tells them. This man, who we'll call bob, wakes up with an arrest warrant in his face. He is booked, sent to jail and given a trial. The trial goes badly, and now bob is in prison. About the only thing bob has going for him is that rapists tend to get fairly short sentences these days, as the prisons need room for marijuana offenders.
So bob gets out a little over a year later, having been raped in prison and contracted AIDS. But he's out now. As he attempts to put all of this behind him, he looks for a new apartment, having lost his while in prison. Finally finding one he can afford on what he makes at McDonalds, (his career in banking a thing of the past due to him having a felony conviction) he moves in only to move again in a few months due to harassment from local parents. He finds another apartment, this time in a more crowded neighborhood where he can blend in more, but a local "victim"s rights" group finds out his name and address at the police station where he was required to register as a sex offender due to Megan"s law, and posts his name, address and mug shot all over the neighborhood. Bob moves again due to death threats and other nuisances, like having the word "pedophile" scratched on his car. This cycle continues until his parole is up, when he moves to a state without registration laws for sex offenders.
The punch line? They met in a bar.
As far as bob knew, the woman he was taking home that night was over 21. The fact that this would not be a defense in the eyes of the law is bad enough, but registration laws for sex offenders make this infinitely worse.
Pedophilia is a psychological disorder. We even know some contributing factors. And registration laws were put in place because the statistics say that these people do not stop after they serve time. In some cases, however, statutory rape is committed by normal individuals with a healthy attraction to other adults. It is even possible, as in the above example, for this crime to have occurred without the knowledge of the accused. These people do not deserve to have their lives taken from them because a teenager lied about their age and a D.A. decided to run with it.
Oh, and for those who would say that no jury would convict in a case like this, that presupposes that the jury would actually hear it. Jury nullification is not an allowed defense in most courts.
I just got a /msg from haze and he informs me that in New Mexico, in a case of straight statutory rape (4th degree criminal sexual penetration, as he called it) you actualy can use "She said she was 18" as a defense.