The internet has opened up a whole new world for people who have access to it. In addition to accessing information they could not have easily done before, people are able to make friends that live across the country or would otherwise have difficulty meeting. Unfortunately, such access does have some pitfalls. For example, many people may be unsure if the people they are meeting are truthful about their personal information, including their age. One man in Missouri was recently accused of statutory rape after a teenager he allegedly met online told police they had a sexual relationship.
Reports claim that the 25-year-old man and 14-year-old girl had been communicating over the internet for several months when the alleged incident occurred. The teenager claims that the man picked her up as she was walking near her house. They then allegedly drove to a hotel where they had sex.
He reportedly dropped her off near her home where she then walked the rest of the way home. Afterward, she told police about the alleged interaction. The man has since been arrested and charged with second-degree statutory rape — a felony.
It is unclear if there is evidence to support the teenager’s claims other than her own account of the events. Even if there was some sort of relationship between the Missouri man and the teenager, it is unclear if any interactions were sexual. Although there are many people who are willing to presume guilt in cases involving accusations of statutory rape, without sufficient evidence to prove such claims beyond a reasonable doubt, a defendant cannot be convicted.
Source: columbiamissourian.com, “Police arrest 25-year-old on statutory rape charge“, Xinxin Ou, Dec. 1, 2016