Thus, having sex with a person under the age of fifteen is punishable by imprisonment for up to twenty years, unless there is a slight age difference between the spouses. Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti wants to get the message across that “children are off limits”.
Under current French law, prosecutors must prove that the victim was subjected to coercion, intimidation, or fraud in the event of the rape of a minor. Sex with minors is illegal in France, but the punishment is less severe if there is sexual consent.
The exception applies only to bed partners who are no more than five years old. Although the bill was unanimously approved by Parliament, there has also been criticism. Some members think the age difference is too big. The minister made it clear that he did not want “an eighteen-year-old man to be prosecuted for having voluntary sex with a 14.5-year-old girl.”
The bill is still on its way to the Senate for a second reading, where approval is expected. The minimum age for sexual consent in France then aligns with the minimum age for sexual consent in many other Western countries.
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