Consent Laws
Virgin Islands

Last Updated: December 2017
Defining Consent Answer

How is consent defined?

Consent is not specifically defined. However, there is no consent in circumstances when:

  • (a) a person’s resistance is prevented by fear of immediate and great bodily harm (Williams v. Virgin Islands, No. CRIM. 2007-0008, 2011 WL 4072738 (V.I. Sept. 12, 2011)), or
  • (b) either force, intimidation, or abuse of a position of authority is used to accomplish a sexual act. Francis v. People, No. S.CT.CRIM. 2015-0002, 2015 WL 6460074 (V.I. Oct. 23, 2015).

Does the definition require "freely given consent" or "affirmative consent"?

No.






Capacity to Consent Answer

At what age is a person able to consent?

18 years old, unless legally married. 14 V.I.C. § 1700a.

Does difference in age between the victim and actor impact the victim's ability to consent?

Yes, if someone under 18 but over 16 years old has sexual intercourse or commits sodomy with a person who is 13-15 years of age, that person is guilty of rape in the third degree. 14 V.I.C. § 1703.

If someone over 18 years old has sexual intercourse or commits sodomy with a person who is 16-17 years old, and the perpetrator is 5 years or more older than the victim, that person is guilty of rape in the second degree. 14 V.I.C. § 1702.

Does elderly age impact the victim’s ability to consent?

No.

Does developmental disability and/or mental incapacity impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, an actor who engages in sexual contact with a person that the actor knows has a mental defect or incapacity, is physically helpless or unconscious, is guilty of unlawful sexual contact in the first degree. 14 V.I.C. § 1708.

Does physical disability, incapacity or helplessness impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes,an actor who engages in sexual contact with a person that the actor knows has a mental defect or incapacity, is physically helpless or unconscious, is guilty of unlawful sexual contact in the first degree. . 14 V.I.C. § 1708.

Does consciousness impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, an actor who engages in sexual contact with a person that the actor knows has a mental defect or incapacity, is physically helpless or unconscious, is guilty of unlawful sexual contact in the first degree. 14 V.I.C. § 1708.

Does intoxication impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, a person who engages in sexual contact with a person when the other person's ability to consent to or resist the contact has been substantially impaired by an intoxicating, narcotic or anesthetic agent, is guilty of unlawful sexual contact in the first degree. 14 V.I.C. § 1708.

Does the relationship between the victim and actor impact the victim’s ability to consent?

Yes, there are special rules for persons in positions of authority over the victim and for persons residing in the same household of the victim.

  • The term “position of authority” includes, but is not exclusive to the following: an employer, youth leader, scout leader, coach, teacher, counselor, school administrator, religious leader, doctor, nurse, psychologist, guardian ad litem, baby sitter, or substantially similar position, and a police officer or probation officer other than when the officer is exercising custodial control over a minor. 14 V.I.C. § 1700a.
  • A person is guilty of aggravated rape in the first degree if they perpetrate an act of sexual intercourse or sodomy with a person who is under 16 years of age residing in the same household as the perpetrator and the perpetrator's position of authority over the victim is used to accomplish the sexual act. 14 V.I.C. § 1700.
  • A person is guilty of aggravated rape in the second degree if they perpetrate an act of sexual intercourse or sodomy with a person and the perpetrator's position of authority over the victim is used to accomplish the sexual act. 14 V.I.C. § 1700a.





Defenses Answer

Is consent a defense to sex crimes?

Yes, if the actor and victim are legally married, spousal consent is an affirmative defense to:

  • Aggravated rape in the first degree. 14 V.C.C. § 1700.
  • Aggravated rape in the second degree. 14 V.C.C. § 1700a.
  • Rape in the first degree. 14 V.C.C. § 1701.
  • Rape in the second degree. 14 V.I.C. § 1702.
  • Rape in the third degree. 14 V.I.C. § 1703.
  • Unlawful sexual contact in the first degree. 14 V.I.C. § 1708.
  • Unlawful sexual contact in the second degree. 14 V.I.C. § 1709.

Is voluntary intoxication a defense to sex crimes?

Not specified.









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