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refers to engaging in a sex act with someone who is below the legal age of consent.

Once registered as a sex offender, the offender is required to check in at certain intervals, and he must notify the authorities when he moves.

Romeo and Juliet laws of each state attempt to address the issue of consenting young couples being prosecuted and labeled sex offenders for life.

In this example of Romeo and Juliet laws, however, had Brendan been 18, making the age difference 4 years instead of 3, he could be subject to statutory rape charges.

Even though sex between teens and young adults if often consensual, statutory rape is a serious crime that can have a lasting negative impact on the parties involved.

In general, penalties for statutory rape may include fines, probation and community service, or may require imprisonment for a year or more.

In some circumstances, the perpetrator may be required to register as a sex offender in his or her state.

Over the centuries, however, the laws have expanded to become more gender-neutral.