Generally speaking, a corruption of minors charge, found at 18 Pa.C.S.A. § 6301, imposes criminal penalties against an adult, meaning a person who is 18 years of age or older, from corrupting the morals of a minor, meaning a person under the age of 18. The charge also prohibits an adult from aiding, enticing, or encouraging a minor to commit a crime, violate a court order, or violate parole.
What actions constitute something that would corrupt the morals of a minor are debatable. The Pennsylvania Superior Court has attempted to define the phrase "corrupting the morals of a minor" by explaining that it includes actions that would offend the common sense, sense of decency, propriety, and morality which most people in the community entertain.
A charge of corruption of minors is often filed with other criminal offenses related to the same activity. For example, an adult who purchased alcohol for a minor would likely be charged with Furnishing Alcohol to a Minor and corruption of minors.
Consent and Corrupt Child — Not Valid Defenses
Many people believe that a minor's willingness to engage in the activity or consent is a defense to a corruption of minors charge. It is not.
Other people believe that they should be permitted to argue that they did not corrupt the morals of a minor because the minor had already been engaging in the activity. They are not.
For example, if a person was charged with corruption of minors based upon having consensual sex with a minor who had previously engaged in sexual activity, the adult would not be permitted to seek a dismissal of the charge because the minor voluntarily engaged in the activity or had already been corrupted by engaging in sexual activity in the past.
Serious Charge With Severe Penalties
A charge of corruption of minors is generally a first-degree misdemeanor, which carries a maximum sentence of five years' incarceration and a $10,000 fine. The grading of the charge is increased to a third-degree felony if the adult engages in any course of conduct that violates Pennsylvania law related to sexual offenses that corrupts or tends to corrupt a minor.
A conviction of either the misdemeanor or felony offense would result in:
- A criminal sentence that included probation or jail time, payment of fines and costs.
- Collateral consequences, the misdemeanor charge would result in a lifetime prohibition of the possession of a firearm under federal and state law. A conviction of the felony charge of corruption of minors would require the defendant to register on Megan's Law.
If you or a loved one has been charged with corruption of minors, you should contact an experienced Centre County criminal defense lawyer at JD Law, P.C. Attorney Jason S. Dunkle has been providing criminal defense representation to people in Central Pennsylvania since 2004. Call the office at 814-954-1094 or contact us via email.