A 14-year-old boy could face life as a registered sex offender after he was arrested for having consensual sex with his 12-year-old girlfriend, according to a report.
The Houston Chronicle reports the Texas seventh grader has been charged with aggravated sexual assault of a minor, which is a first degree felony.
According to state law, the age of consent in Texas is 17. But under a special provision for minors – called the 'Romeo and Juliet' defense – juveniles can have sex with someone within three years of their age, meaning a 17-year-old can legally have sex with a 14-year-old. However, that rule does not apply if one of the minors is under the age of 14, which the girl was at the time of the sexual encounter.
"If he has sex with someone who is younger by just days but is still 13 years old, he could be charged with one of the most serious offenses we have," the boy's attorney told The Houston Chronicle.
"You would think the law would be more sympathetic as you go younger, because both parties are immature."