Legislator Otto Guevara tried to stall Monday's approval of the legislation with respect sexual relations between adults and minors. Guevara opposes the changes. Photo Mayela Lopez, La Nacion
Legislator Otto Guevara tried to stall Monday’s approval of the legislation with respect sexual relations between adults and minors. Guevara opposes the changes. Photo Mayela Lopez, La Nacion

(QCOSTARICA) The Legislature approved Monday night the bill that punishes with prison sex with a minor, but, depending on the age difference.

The bill calls for a prison term of two to three years for adults who have a sexual relationship with an adolescent between 15 and 17, if the age difference is greater than seven years.

The original text of the proposal known as Ley 19,337, called for a penalty of two to four years in prison, provided the age difference was less than 5 years.

In the case of minors 13 and 14, the adult faces a prison term of three to six years if the age difference is five years or more.

However, the negotiated change in the hours leading up to voting, prison is not the first option for adults who engage in such sexual liaisons, because in sentences of three years or less, the trial judge may opt for a conditional sentence, ie. probation, unless the person is a repeat offender, explained Emilia Monila, legislator for the Partido Acción Ciudadana (PAC).

Sexual relations with a minor under 13 is considered statutory rape irrespective of the age difference.

The bill also prohibits marriages involving minors (anyone under the age of 18), in an attempt to reduce the school drop out rate, teenage pregnancy and abuse of power by adults over minors.

What happens if…? To be clear, if the bill obtains approval in second and final vote, the following assumptions apply:

1. An adolescent after reaching 15 and before their 18th birthday can have a sexual relationship with another adolescent, including an adult if the age difference is less than 7 years. That is, an 21-year-old can enter into a relationship with a 15-year-old without any legal consequences, 16 and 22, 17 and 23 and so on.

2. A minor, after completing their 13th birthday and before their 15th, can have a sexual relationship with an adult as long as the age difference is less than 5 years. That is, a 14-year-old can have sex with an 18-year-old (an adult) with no legal problems.

3. Under no circumstances is a minor (under 18 years of age) permitted to enter into a marriage.

Legislators like Otto Guevara of the Movimiento Libertario (ML) and Oscar Lopez of the Accesibilidad Sin Exclusión (PASE) question the changes to the Criminal Code.

In Monday’s legislative session, Guevara try to stall the approval of the bill. The legislator opposes the changes to the current legislation that has no age difference limits, including allowing a 15 year-old to enter into a marriage with an adult of any age, like in the most recent ‘all legal’ case of a 40 year-old teacher marrying her 15 year-old student.

For is part, Lopez related his story of how when he was 13, his first girlfriend was 20, thus with the new law she would have gone to jail, though it (the jail sentence) would be unlikely because, according to the legislator, “there is so much hypocrisy in this matter”.

Source La Nacion


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