im 16, she's 18. it happened in february 2018 and the only evidence i have is screenshots of conversations where i told people about it. she and i talked about it in person and over the phone. i don't have pictures of the welts or scratch marks or anything. and now she's denying it, and her friends are threatening to jump me. i deal with trauma and ptsd every day because of it. she also may be mentally ill, and that may have caused her to sexually assault me. she says she doesn't remember most of what happened. but if i were to take this to the police, is there anything they can do?
There is no such thing as "pressing charges" for private persons. This is a common misconception. Criminal charges are investigated by the police and brought before the Court by a prosecuting attorney (a district attorney for state crimes, or United States Attorney for Federal ones). Private citizens can make reports of crimes to the police and cooperate with the DA in their cases - which is usually what we mean, when we talk of "pressing charges" or the like - but that's all they can do. They can't legally compel (or refuse) any prosecution.
The police will often ask crime victims if they want to "press charges," but this question is deliberately misleading and I wish they would stop. When the police ask people if they want to "press charges," what they really mean is, if we arrest this person and refer to the DA for prosecution, will you help by showing up and testifying? In many cases, the victim's assistance is needed for a successful prosecution, and the police recognize that and imply to them that they, the victim, have the power to decide whether the case is prosecuted or not. But in other cases, the victim's cooperation is not necessary, and the police and DA don't let them make that call. Many crime victims (particularly in domestic violence cases) don't want charges to be filed, but it happens anyway. The only person who has the power to file charges, really, is a prosecutor.
So you can certainly make a report to the police if a crime has been committed; but you can't guarantee that it will be prosecuted. The police are often, tragically, reluctant to take up sexual assault cases, because they feel that the evidence is weak or the situation was ambiguous. But you shouldn't necessarily let that stop you. Your own testimony about what happened is itself evidence, if you can give it clearly and credibly.
The fact of your ages, without more, does not mean that this person did anything wrong. Normally it is against the law in Oregon to have sex with anyone who is under age 18. 'Sex.' in this context, refers to all sexual contact, not just intercourse; and this applies to everyone regardless of their gender. The rationale for the law is that it is a crime to have sexual contact with someone who does not consent to it; and the law presumes that people under age 18 cannot give effective consent.
However, there is a limited exception to the age rule in Oregon: as long as both partners are over age 15, and they are less than three years different in age, then they are not deemed to be unable to consent solely due to their ages. Technically this is an "affirmative defense" to any charge made based on the alleged victim's age. The state can still bring the charge, in theory, but the defendant can assert their age and the age of the other person as a defense. In practice, as long as partners are within 3 years of each others' ages, they can legally have sexual contact - as long as it's consensual, of course. If this person forced you to have sexual contact or otherwise intentionally harmed you, then of course that is illegal and could be prosecuted.
Please read the following notice: Jay Bodzin is licensed to practice law in the State of Oregon and the Federal District of Oregon, and cannot give advice about the laws of other jurisdictions. All comments on this site are intended for informational purposes only, and are not intended to constitute legal advice, create an attorney-client relationship, or solicit business. No posts or comments on this site are in any way confidential. Each case is unique. Information not contained in these posts may create significant exceptions to the advice provided in any response. You are advised to have counsel at all stages of any legal proceeding, and to speak with your own lawyer in private to get advice about your specific situation.
Many crimes are prosecuted when the case is a dispute between the recollections of 2 people. Trials involving a so-called "he-said she-said" situation are not rare. That being said, the authorities always prefer cases where there is some form of corroborating evidence. If you feel that you have been a victim of a crime, you have the option to report the incident to law enforcement.
Our Rating is calculated using information the lawyer has included on their profile in addition to the information we collect from state bar associations and other organizations that license legal professionals. Attorneys who claim their profiles and provide Avvo with more information tend to have a higher rating than those who do not.What determines Avvo Rating?Experience & background
Years licensed, work experience, educationLegal community recognition
Peer endorsements, associations, awardsLegal thought leadership
Publications, speaking engagementsDiscipline