Ontario dating laws

23 Jun

Police found Beckham and the boy unclothed in a hotel room, where they were engaged in sexual activity; it was later determined that the two had also engaged in sexual intercourse the previous night.Police also discovered hundreds of pornographic images of children on a laptop computer that Beckham had brought with him from Texas. In Beckham's home state of Texas, the age of consent is 17 and violators can face prison terms of up to 10–20 years.In March 2005, Beckham, then 31 years old, travelled from his home in Woodlands, Texas to Ottawa, Ontario to meet with a 14-year-old boy he had met over the internet.The boy's parents, after observing him sneaking away in the middle of the night into a taxi, alerted the police who tracked the cab to a downtown hotel.This will place youth at an increased risk of contracting HIV and other sexually transmitted infections." They referenced a Globe and Mail article who highlighted the opinions of Martha Mackinnon (Justice for Children and Youth, executive director) who had expressed concern this would decrease the pursuit of condoms.This proposal has received criticism from different organizations and individuals.In June 2006, the Canadian government proposed a bill to raise the age of consent from 14 to 16, while creating a close-in-age exemption for sex between 14-15 year olds and partners less than 5 years older, and keeping an existing close-in-age clause for sex between 12-13 year olds and partners less than 2 years older.The intention of the bill is to target "sexual predators" and pimps.

The Canadian AIDS Society has stated that "increasing the age of consent could result in young people being more secretive about their sexual practices and not seeking out the information they need.

In November 2007, Beckham was sentenced to 17 years in prison, to be followed by lifetime supervision.

This case raised concerns that child molesters, not just in Canada but also from abroad, were taking advantage of Canada's low age of consent to sexually exploit vulnerable children while escaping criminal prosecution.

The exemptions become invalid if a third person is present of if the act does not take place in private. A close in age exemptions, commonly known as "Romeo and Juliet law" in the United States, is a law designed to prevent the prosecution of underage couples who engage in consensual sex when both participants are significantly close in age to each other, and one or both are below the age of consent.

Depending on the situation, the Canada close-in-age exemption may completely exempt qualifying close-in-age couples from the age of consent law, or merely provide a legal defence that can be used in the event of prosecution.