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I, 16, have been accused by a 14 year-old of "sexual suggestions", such as:

  • Touching her breasts
  • Telling her I "want to go to bed with her".
  • Telling her "I want to sleep with her".
  • Telling her she has nice breasts.
  • Threaten to post an instagram post of her "bending over".

Just as clarification, this is simply the parents accusing me here, no court battle or stuff yet, but the parents have accused that the social workers may attempt to take me to court.

There were eight sexual accusations in total (some of which I can't remember). All are either complete fabrications or non-sexual comments portrayed in a sexualized fashion (for example, if a depressed person said they were ugly, would you tell them they were pretty? Of course you would).

Now of course there are some things to consider about her, such as:

  • She is severely mentally ill, and has been in multiple psychiatric hospitals, and still is in one.
  • These things that she has "supposedly said" are pretty much all what the social workers have interpreted us as saying, rather than what she actually said.
  • She herself has said that things like putting my arm around her was perfectly fine, and only today after I have been banned from speaking to her have I learned that "She is in an unable condition and anything she says might not be true".

So, as a forum for topic-based questions here, I guess I am asking the following:

  • Let's take the theoretical situation that all of the sexual things listed happened, with consent. What is the law on a 16 year-old doing the things listed above with a 14 year-old?
  • Same as the above, except what would happen if it was made out that there was not consent?
  • With no call recordings, what would be the best way to go about disproving (in a court scenario) that I did all of these things? I have some text history with her which would prove that we are good friends.

For clarification, the "most extreme" accusation here appears to be that I apparently touched her breasts. All of the other accusations are that I have verbally said things to her that are sexual.

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I'm not sure a case of harassment could be made out (it would depend on the circumstances in which you purportedly did those things or threatened her, except for touching her.

Sexual assault

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 defines sexual assault as:

(1) A person (A) commits an offence if—
(a) he intentionally touches another person (B),
(b) the touching is sexual,
(c) B does not consent to the touching, and
(d) A does not reasonably believe that B consents.

(2) Whether a belief is reasonable is to be determined having regard to all the circumstances, including any steps A has taken to ascertain whether B consents.

To your questions:

What is the law on a 16 year-old doing the things listed above with a 14 year-old?
Same as the above, except what would happen if it was made out that there was not consent?

For sexual assault, it is presumed that if the person is between the ages of 13 and 16, they do not have the capacity to consent. That is - if there is no proof of consent, you are guilty of the offence, if the requisite mens rea - intent - to touch them can be proved.

For everything else - it might amount to harassment but that is probably a stretch, I don't see the elements being made out. However, there are certain limits to what people can consent to - you can't consent to someone murdering you in most jurisdictions, for example.

... what would be the best way to go about disproving (in a court scenario) that I did all of these things?

You do not have to disprove that you did these acts - it is the job of the prosecution to adduce evidence beyond reasonable doubt that you have done so. You can present evidence that satisfies an evidentiary burden that you did not do these acts, such as not being able to do so (by being in another place), or not intending to do the act.

However, you would need to prove that you had consent and believed she was 16 or over to stand a reasonable chance of escaping conviction for the above crime, if prosecuted.

As Martin has said - you need to get a lawyer for the right answer here.

  • A few things about this answer confuse me slightly. You're saying I would have to "prove I had consent", but is this specifically for the touching-the-breasts part, or is it for things I have said as well? Another question is, what is "evidence I did not do it"? Would this be circumstantial evidence (e.g. she is telling different people different stories, she was deliberately calling me which was not something someone would do if being harassed, etc). – Joehot200 Nov 9 '16 at 19:59
  • Also, her parents have as such been extremely aggressive and bullied me with information that the social workers informed her of, to the point where I have been so mentally distressed that I have had to have therapy. Would this be relevant in the case? – Joehot200 Nov 9 '16 at 20:08
  • @Joehot200 for sexual activity with a minor, the law specifically defines that you must show consent. For all other offences, you'd need to refer to the wording of the statute. As for whether your psychological harm is actionable, there is precedent for damages to be awarded for a claim in tort. Any further questions on this matter - call a lawyer. – jimsug Nov 9 '16 at 20:38
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I am not a lawyer.

At 16, you are above the age of criminal responsibility, so your age becomes largely irrelevant.

I am pretty sure that if with consent, all of those actions would be legal. Even if you had full blown sex, you would be very unlikely to be prosecuted.

Without consent, touching her breasts would definitely be sexual assault. Telling her things could be harassment, but I think they'd have to work quite hard to make that stick. Threatening to put a picture up could be threatening behaviour (but I doubt it).

What would be the best way of disproving you did any of those things? That's hard - it's your word against hers. The good news is that you don't have to prove you didn't do those things - the prosecution has to prove you did.

As I said at the start, I am not a lawyer: I think you need proper advice from a criminal lawyer. You may be able to get a 1/2 hour initial consultation for free.

  • I started to do a thing and then forgot - but the sexual offences (? I think) act defines the crime and seems to do so as a strict liability offence... – jimsug Nov 9 '16 at 13:14
  • Just checked - it's clear that if you have sex with someone under 16, you need to show that you believed they were 16 or older (unless they are under 13 - it becomes a strict liability offence then). – jimsug Nov 9 '16 at 13:30
  • Full blown sex with a 14 yo is definitely a crime. My point is that I believe the CPS is very likely to decide it is not in the public interest to prosecute a 16yo for it - unless there are additional things we are not being told about. (On the one hand, I could be wrong; on the other, the OP is not asking about actual intercourse.) – Martin Bonner Nov 9 '16 at 13:37
  • Yeah, fair enough then ;) Hmm. Quickly looking up the legislation on it, though. – jimsug Nov 9 '16 at 13:38
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    @MartinBonner: Oops, my mistake - I though CPS stood for Child Protective Services, but that's a US organization. Stupid colliding acronyms... – sleske Nov 11 '16 at 11:40

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