The Connecticut General Assembly
OFFICE OF LEGISLATIVE RESEARCH
December 19, 1995 95-R-1476
FROM: Lawrence K. Furbish, Assistant Director
RE: Connecticut Law on Minors and Marriage and Sexual Relations
You asked for information about a constituent whose 16-year old child has run away with a 30-year old woman. You wanted OLR reports on the authority of parents to control their minor children. You also wished to know if they could get married in Connecticut and, if the boy had been a girl, could the adult be charged with statutory rape.
Connecticut prohibits granting a marriage license to a minor (someone under 18 years of age) without the written consent of the minor's parents, and a marriage license is necessary to get married. It does not appear that the woman in this case can be charged with any sexual assault crime because the minor is age 16. As now written, the sexual assault laws in consensual situations only come into play when the minor is 15 or younger. The laws in these situations are the same regardless of the sex of the adult and the minor. Parents have very little authority to control 15- and 16-year olds. The Families With Service Needs law only applies through age 14. We have enclosed a copy of report 94-R-0843 which has more details .
MARRIAGE OF A MINOR
The statutes prohibit the joining of people in marriage in this state until they have both complied with state law on marriage licenses which includes applying at the town clerk's office and the blood tests for venereal disease and rubella (CGS § 46b-24). One of the marriage license-related statutes that must be complied with is CGS § 46b-30. This statute prohibits issuing a license to anyone under 16 years of age unless the local probate judge endorses his consent on the license.
More importantly for the situation you describe, the statute prohibits issuing a marriage license to any applicant under 18 years of age without the written consent of the parent or guardian of the minor. The consent must be signed and acknowledged before an appropriate official, but if no parent or guardian resides in the U.S., the local probate judge's consent is sufficient.
SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH A MINOR
There is no crime in Connecticut called “statutory rape,” but there are several situations involving sexual relations with a minor that are crimes under our penal code. The way these laws are written, the sex of the two parties is immaterial, so the law would apply the same to your constituent's son as it would if it had been a daughter.
It does not appear that anyone can be prosecuted for having consensual sex with someone who has reached 16 years of age. It is a class C felony (second degree sexual assault) for someone to have sexual relations with someone who is “thirteen years of age or older but under sixteen years of age” if the actor is more than two years older than that person (CGS § 53a-71). It is a class A misdemeanor (fourth degree sexual assault) for someone to have sexual contact with someone who is under 15 years of age (CGS § 53a-73a). Sexual contact is defined as any contact with the intimate parts of a person not married to the actor for the purpose of sexual gratification (CGS § 53a-65(3)).
There are other special situations that might make the situation described by your constituent subject to the sexual assault laws. If the older woman were the boy's guardian or otherwise responsible for the supervision of his welfare, or if the boy were physically helpless or mentally defective or incapacitated so that he could not consent, or if he did not consent, or if the woman were a school employee and the boy was enrolled in her school. Based only on the information supplied by your constituent, it does not appear that what occurred is covered by our current criminal laws.