FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - A bill that would raise Kentucky’s age of consent, in some circumstances, cleared the House on Thursday.
The current age of consent is 16, but the legislation, House Bill 101, sponsored by Rep. Jason Petrie, R-Elkton, would state that a 16- or 17-year-old is “incapable of consent,” when the offender is 28 years of age or older, similar to existing protections for children under 16.
“The charge would be rape or sodomy in the third degree,” said Petrie.
When asked why there was a provision in the bill that lack of knowledge of the victim’s age was a defense, he said, “If you are 28 years of age or more, engaged with a 16- or 17-year-old, common sense would indicate you would be hard-pressed to find a jury in the commonwealth that would agree not knowing the age of the victim would be a defense.”
When asked why he chose 28 as the cut-off age, Petrie said, “We put a 10-year age difference at a minimum for this offense. You could put two years or five years, but 10 years is a clear demarcation, and hopefully we could get away from ‘I didn’t know the age.’”
The bill passed by a vote of 83-5, and now heads to the Senate for consideration.