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American Bar Association

ABA Section of Litigation
Children's Rights Litigation

Case Notes


In re R.L.C.

-- S.E.2d --, (N.C. App. Sept. 5, 2006)

In an opinion narrowly construing the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Lawrence v. Texas, the North Carolina Court of Appeals, in a 2-1 decision, upheld the delinquency conviction of a teenage boy for having oral sex with his two-year-younger girlfriend, even though sexual intercourse between the two was decriminalized by North Carolina’s Romeo and Juliet statute.  The case arose more than one year after the young couple broke up, when a law enforcement officer learned about the sex acts while interviewing the girl following a fight with another student.  The case is significant not only because of its disparate treatment of sexual intercourse and other forms of sexual conduct among consenting, mature minors but also because it suggests a conflict with a 2005 opinion by the Kansas Supreme Court holding that the Kansas Romeo and Juliet law had to be applied on a non-discriminatory basis.

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