New Hampshire has softened the penalty for rape from a felony to a misdemeanor when the victim is 13, 14 or 15 and the age difference with the assailant is four years or less, the Associated Press reports. The new law changes the maximum age difference to three years. The maximum penalty would be lighter for example, if a 13-year-old had sex with a 16-year-old.
Supporters said the penalty shouldn't be a felony for that age group, especially in cases involving young lovers. The more lenient penalty would not be allowed in cases of aggravated felonious sexual assault.
The law also raises the number of people who must register as serious sex offenders and whose names can be made public, from about 700 to 2,300. The statute for the first time will allow authorities to post offenders' pictures on the Internet.