The Virginia Code covers the carnal knowledge of a child. Sexual abuse and exploitation, especially of children, are not committed lightly. The state of Virginia has a very strict definition of child sexual exploitation in its child protection laws.
Furthermore, the Code states that sentencing and punishment depend on a number of factors, ranging from the age difference between perpetrator and child to the relationship between them. The delicacy of the matter requires a thorough investigation and a plan to prevent a person from repeating the same actions. But, irrespective of these factors, our laws remain steadfast – in the belief that sex offenders will be punished and that justice will prevail.
If the age difference is less than 3 years, the offender can be convicted of a Class 6 offence if he begs a minor aged 3 or more years. However, there are situations that occur when both parties are in a sexual relationship (i.e. when the sexual act that took place between them has been approved). In these cases, a conviction depends solely on the age difference between individuals. If the parties are adamant that they have had consensual sex, no jail term can be imposed. First-time offenders are therefore subject to a Class 4 offense, which carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison and a fine of up to $250.
It is important that the actual date of birth of those involved is used to calculate their age difference and thus to decide whether the crime is classified as a criminal offence or a misdemeanor. Class 6 crimes are considered as Class 4 offences only. The latter case is also being dealt with by adult courts.
In many individual cases, however, they bring with them the possibility that both parties do not know the exact age of the other or that they are otherwise deluded into believing something wrong. Even if a person may have some truth, courts do not forgive the fact that the person believes that another person is old. When a person is convicted or charged with a crime, he or she must enter his or her name on the register of sex offenders if he or she is five or more years older than the minor. There is no requirement for individuals to register or to remove their name from the register. The register is for life, and the chances of a normal life in the future are greatly impaired.