Statutory rape is the term given to alleged sexual encounters with minors. Acts of this nature are considered "statutory" rape and not just rape because they are illegal by law even if the minor victims consent to participate in the alleged acts. Consensual acts between adults are legal, though the same acts involving minors are not.
As one may be able to imply from the above discussion, statutory rape does not have to involve force, manipulation or coercion. Minors are not considered capable of consenting to such actions, so even if they willingly participate their partners may be guilty of statutory rape. In some cases, courts will look at factors such as the age difference between the alleged victim and defendant, the relationship of the victim and defendant (such as if the victim was the defendant's student) and any prior crimes committed by the defendant.
Statutory rape is a crime and those who are charged with it may face serious penalties if they are convicted. Those penalties may include time in jail as well as having to register as a sex offender. While it is not possible to guarantee an outcome when it comes to legal matters, statutory rape defendants can hire criminal defense attorneys to help them overcome their legal problems.