A 7-year-old boy from a small town in New York has been charged with rape.
New York State Police said a third-degree rape charge was filed against the child on March 23, according to WWNY-TV.
The boy, who is from Brasher Falls in Northern New York, was released after being charged.
Police said the alleged incident was reported on Thanksgiving Day.
The case, which WWNY said is being handled in Family Court, raised eyebrows on Twitter.
— Bradley (@BradJFAK) March 31, 2021
Ok, I know this post isn’t about politics but I have to say something. In Upstate NY a 7 year old boy was arrested for rape, rape seriously a 7 year old boy doesn’t know anything about sexual activities. How does a 7 year old know. investigate the parents!!!
— JB (@JB91270972) March 31, 2021
One attorney who deals with youths questioned the charge.
“Instinctually, it shouldn’t happen that a 7-year-old — I don’t think you even could really realize what you’re doing at 7 years old,” said Anthony Martone, a New York City attorney who is part of a group that handles youth-defense cases, told WWNY.
“So I think it’s absurd to charge a 7-year-old with rape. They’d have to prove he actually physically committed this act, which to me it almost seems to be an impossibility.”
Martone said the boy apparently is being charged as a juvenile delinquent.
WWNY said state legislators are pondering a bill that would increase the minimum age for being charged as a juvenile delinquent from 7 to 12.
New York state offers three ways a person can be found guilty of third-degree rape.
“He or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person who is incapable of consent by reason of some factor other than being less than seventeen years old,” the law states.
The charge also can be used when “being twenty-one years old or more, he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person less than seventeen years old.”
The final way in which a person can be found guilty of third-degree rape is if “he or she engages in sexual intercourse with another person without such person’s consent where such lack of consent is by reason of some factor other than incapacity to consent.”
Third-degree rape is a class E felony.
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