Commonwealth v. Wilbur W.Annotate this Case
The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the adjudication of delinquency as to a juvenile offender under the age of sixteen, holding that, as applied in these circumstances where the juvenile maintained that he was involved in consensual experimentation with another child, enforcement of the statutory rape charge was constitutional.
At the time of the alleged offenses, the juvenile was twelve years old and the victim was eight years old. A jury found the juvenile delinquent of statutory rape. On appeal, the juvenile argued that the imposition of criminal liability on a child for a strict liability offense was fundamentally unfair. The Supreme Judicial Court disagreed, holding that the juvenile’s arguments were unable to overcome the presumption that the Legislature acted reasonably and rationally in imposing strict liability for anyone who has sexual intercourse with a child under the age of sixteen.