Even if the person charged is cleared of the charge, lasting damage to the older person's career and reputation may result.
An adult who mistakenly believes that a young person is over the age of 17 when the young person is actually under the age of 17, can be charged with a sex crime. Even under the new laws, there is still the possibility for young lovers to run afoul of the law.
Texas juries generally have a very dim view of people in authority who engage in sexual relations with teens entrusted in their care.
In particular, teachers, coaches and clergy who exercise authority over a juvenile and who engage in sexual relations with that juvenile may be charged with sex crimes.
There are several federal statutes related to protecting minors from sexual predators, but laws regarding specific age requirements for sexual consent are left to individual states, territories, and the District of Columbia. A guilty verdict would result in conviction of a Class B felony sex offense, with a mandatory minimum of 9 months and maximum 20 years imprisonment. By 2007 there had been a proposal to increase the gap to four years to reduce the number of close-in-age statutory rape cases being prosecuted, but three years was selected as a compromise. Any juvenile offender 14 years old or older has the case automatically transferred to the regular criminal docket of the Superior Court by operation of law, and thus stands before the court to be tried as an adult. Because the charge is a sex offense, the juvenile prosecutor can request that the proceeding designated a "serious sexual offender prosecution". Children who have not yet reached their twelfth birthday are deemed unable to consent to a sexual act under any circumstances.