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He was then legally compelled to register as a sex offender.

Most states do not refer specifically to statutory rape; instead they use designations such as sexual assault and sexual abuse to identify prohibited activity.

Regardless of the designation, these crimes are based on the premise that until a person reaches a certain age, he is legally incapable of consenting to sexual intercourse.

The Romeo and Juliet laws are frequently enforced unfairly says Mark Chaffin, a researcher with the University of Oklahoma-based National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth.

"In many cases, they are enforced largely by how angry the parents of the younger party are."One well-publicized case demonstrating the need for Romeo and Juliet legislation is that of Genarlow Wilson, a 17-year-old who was imprisoned for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old female.

In Florida, a 28-year-old man who’d been placed on the state’s sex offender registry was able to remove his name after the passage of Florida’s Romeo and Juliet law in July 2007.

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