Local News

Statutory Rape Cases Sometimes Complicated, Wake D.A. Says

Posted January 11, 2006

— Johnston County authorities have issued an arrest warrant for a 21-year-old man accused of statutory rape, months after a Wake County woman initially asked authorities to enforce the state's statutory rape law.

Jason McCray is wanted on one count of statutory rape that occurred in Johnston County -- and is being investigated for the same in Wake County -- after the victim's mother discovered information on her daughter's computer confirming the girl was having a sexual relationship with him starting when she was just 14 years old.

"She is a child. He was a grown man," said Lisa Price, the victim's mother.

Price initially contacted Garner police and urged them to file statutory rape charges against McCray.

Under North Carolina law, even if the sex is consensual, a person can be charged with statutory rape if the victim is underage and the other person is four or more years older than the victim.

Police investigated and turned the information over to the Wake County district attorney's office, but so far, no charges have been filed.

"From there, it stalled," Price said. "It stalled in the D.A.'s office."

Wake County District Attorney Colon Willoughby said it is standard practice for his office to investigate sex crimes to see if they are viable before deciding whether or not to prosecute. He said Wake County investigators are still evaluating the case.

But Willoughby said the cases are often hard to prosecute because juries have a hard time assigning blame when the victim consents to sex.

"Sometimes there are consensual relationships, even though the age difference," he said. "That makes the cases more complicated for a jury."

But for Price, there is nothing complicated about her case.

"In my opinion, a rape charge -- whether it be rape or statutory rape -- is an extremely serious offense, and I think it should be pursued aggressively," she said.

Johnston County investigators urge anyone with information on McCray's whereabouts to contact the sheriff's office at

(919) 989-5000

.

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