Can Minors Be Charged with Sexual Abuse?

Fighting For Important Causes In State And Federal Courts

Though it may seem uncommon, minors often do sexually abuse other minors. Minors are responsible for 40% of the sexual abuse of children. In fact, the younger the victim, the more likely it is that the offender is also a child. It is very common for minors to be the perpetrators of sexual assault against other minors.

Minors who sexually abuse or assault other minors can and do get criminally charged. Sexual abuse is illegal, regardless of the offender’s age. Sexual abuse is defined as a forced sexual act upon a person without their consent and can be perpetrated by anyone. Though laws vary by state in terms of what constitutes sexual assault, age does not prevent anyone from being charged with sexual abuse. Minors are charged and sentenced based on the severity of their crimes.

If your child has been sexually abused by another minor, you must reach out for help. The Office of Andrew Shubin has extensive experience in child sexual assault cases and is here to help your family. We offer free consultations, so call us at (814) 826-3586 for a private discussion about your case. Contact an experienced sexual abuse attorney that’s willing to fight for your child.

What Sexual Abuse Crimes Can a Minor Be Charged With?

Minors can be charged with any sexual abuse crime. The age of consent in some states accounts for sexual activities between minors. In Pennsylvania, for example, no one under the age of 13 is legally able to consent to any sexual activity whatsoever. In this case, any relationships between minors on either side of 13 would be considered illegal. Should charges be filed, the offender would most likely try the minor responsible in juvenile court.

Despite being under 18, minors are not immune to criminal charges of any type. Sexual abuse allegations and cases are taken very seriously. Any opportunity to stop a child from being sexually abused should be taken, even if the offender is another minor. Across the country, being a minor does not excuse sexual abuse of any kind, though states may vary on how they address the crime.

The age of consent is clear in every state. In PA, minors between the ages of 13 to 15 cannot consent to sexual activities with a person four or more years older than them. That means that a sexual relationship between 13 and 17-year-olds is statutory rape, even though both people are technically minors. Age does not prevent you from being charged with sexual abuse.

Minors are often charged with misdemeanors in juvenile court, depending on the severity of the crime. Minors are believed to be more responsive to treatment than adults, so juvenile offenders are often given treatment rather than just time in a juvenile detention facility.

Can a Minor Be Charged as an Adult for Sexual Assault?

Minors are generally tried as adults if the crime is severe enough. In most states, minors who commit felonies like murder, rape, and armed robbery can be tried as adults. A minor who has committed acts of sexual abuse can be charged as an adult in some states, and their age may also play a part. Though anyone under 18 is a minor, there is a difference between someone who is 17 and someone who is 10. In some states, sexual abuse offenders 14 and above may be tried as adults if the offender committed the sexual abuse with a deadly weapon. Offenders 15 and above will likely be charged as adults in federal court for serious felonies such as rape.

If a minor is charged as an adult, they will leave juvenile court, and their case will be held in federal court. With this change comes the potential for increased prison time should the offender be found guilty. If convicted, the minor would be sentenced to time in an adult prison. Despite their age, minors 14 and above may be charged as adults in some states based on the severity of their sexual abuse crimes. If judges decide they show little remorse or desire to reform, they may move a case to federal court.

Some states have prohibitions on charging minors as adults for anything but murder, and some states ban it altogether, regardless of how serious the crime is. In those states, the charges will stay in juvenile court.

How Common is Sexual Abuse by Other Minors?

Unfortunately, minors commit sexual abuse against other minors often. In instances where the victim is under six years old, 43% of the time, the perpetrator is also a minor. Of that 43%, 14% are under the age of 12. Minors are most likely to commit sexual assault between the ages of 12 and 14.

Teachers are mandatory reporters in most states. If your child is acting differently and you are concerned, ask their teacher about any troubling activity. Remain aware of your child’s moods, behaviors, and friends to keep them safe, as sexual assault is common among minors.

Signs Your Child Is Being Abused

There are many signs that your child may be being sexually abused. Sometimes, changes in your child’s personality may indicate abuse. These signs include but are not limited to

  • Nightmares
  • Self-harm
  • Changes in behaviors and moods
  • Reduced interest in school
  • lack of interest in friends.

Despite both the offender and the victim being minors, there is still a power dynamic at play. It is not any easier for children to come forward when being abused by another minor. If your child is being abused by a minor, seek help for their safety and the safety of others.

The Law Office of Andrew Shubin is Here to Help Your Family

The Law Office of Andrew Shubin has extensive experience in helping child victims of sexual abuse. If your child has experienced such assault, call us for a free, private consultation at (814) 826-3586. We’re here to help your family.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.