The age of consent is the age at which a young person can legally agree to sexual activity.Age of consent laws apply to all forms of sexual activity, ranging from kissing and fondling to sexual intercourse.The diocese recently received an allegation of sexual abuse of a minor by Father Sylvester Hoppe dating to 1953 to 1956. Several prior allegations have been received against Hoppe since 2002.
(a) Unlawful sexual intercourse is an act of sexualintercourse accomplished with a person who is not the spouse of theperpetrator, if the person is a minor.
For the purposes of thissection, a "minor" is a person under the age of 18 years and an"adult" is a person who is at least 18 years of age.(c) Any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexualintercourse with a minor who is more than three years younger thanthe perpetrator is guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, andshall be punished by imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding oneyear, or by imprisonment in the state prison.(d) Any person 21 years of age or older who engages in an act ofunlawful sexual intercourse with a minor who is under 16 years of ageis guilty of either a misdemeanor or a felony, and shall be punishedby imprisonment in a county jail not exceeding one year, or byimprisonment in the state prison for two, three, or four years.(1) Notwithstanding any other provision of this section, anadult who engages in an act of sexual intercourse with a minor inviolation of this section may be liable for civil penalties in thefollowing amounts:(D) An adult over the age of 21 years who engages in an act ofunlawful sexual intercourse with a minor under 16 years of age isliable for a civil penalty not to exceed twenty-five thousand dollars($25,000).
The diocese is committed to providing support and resources for healing.
The diocese has comprehensive child protection policies that include reporting suspected abuse to civil authorities; healing and pastoral care for victims; mandated criminal background checks; and safe environment education for all clergy, employees and volunteers working with minors. Anyone who suspects child abuse is urged to contact civil authorities and, if the individual has worked or volunteered for the diocese, the ombudsman.
The court shall,however, take into consideration the defendant's ability to pay, andno defendant shall be denied probation because of his or herinability to pay the fine permitted under this subdivision.261.6.