18 U.S. Code § 2243 - Sexual abuse of a minor, a ward, or an individual in Federal custody

(a) Of a Minor.—Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the head of any Federal department or agency, knowingly engages in a sexual act with another person who—
(1)
has attained the age of 12 years but has not attained the age of 16 years; and
(2)
is at least four years younger than the person so engaging;
or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.
(b) Of a Ward.—Whoever, in the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States or in a Federal prison, or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the head of any Federal department or agency, knowingly engages in a sexual act with another person who is—
(1)
(2)
under the custodial, supervisory, or disciplinary authority of the person so engaging;
or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.
(c) Of an Individual in Federal Custody.—
Whoever, while acting in their capacity as a Federal law enforcement officer, knowingly engages in a sexual act with an individual who is under arrest, under supervision, in detention, or in Federal custody, shall be fined under this title, imprisoned not more than 15 years, or both.
(d) Defenses.—
In a prosecution under subsection (a) of this section, it is a defense, which the defendant must establish by a preponderance of the evidence, that the defendant reasonably believed that the other person had attained the age of 16 years.
(e) State of Mind Proof Requirement.—In a prosecution under subsection (a) of this section, the Government need not prove that the defendant knew—
(1)
the age of the other person engaging in the sexual act; or
(2)
that the requisite age difference existed between the persons so engaging.
Editorial Notes
Codification

Pub. L. 99–646 and Pub. L. 99–654 added identical sections 2243.

Amendments

2022—Pub. L. 117–103, § 1202(c)(1)(A), substituted “Sexual abuse of a minor, a ward, or an individual in Federal custody” for “Sexual abuse of a minor or ward” in section catchline.

Subsec. (c). Pub. L. 117–103, § 1202(c)(1)(C), added subsec. (c). Former subsec. (c) redesignated (d).

Subsec. (d). Pub. L. 117–103, § 1312, struck out par. (1) designation before “In a prosecution” and struck out par. (2) which read as follows: “In a prosecution under this section, it is a defense, which the defendant must establish by a preponderance of the evidence, that the persons engaging in the sexual act were at that time married to each other.” Amendment was directed to subsec. (c) but executed to subsec. (d) to reflect the probable intent of Congress and the intervening redesignation of subsec. (c) as (d) by Pub. L. 117–103, § 1202(c)(1)(B). See below.

Pub. L. 117–103, § 1202(c)(1)(B), redesignated subsec. (c) as (d). Former subsec. (d) redesignated (e).

Subsec. (e). Pub. L. 117–103, § 1202(c)(1)(B), redesignated subsec. (d) as (e).

2007—Subsecs. (a), (b). Pub. L. 110–161 substituted “the head of any Federal department or agency” for “the Attorney General” in introductory provisions.

2006—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 109–248, § 207(2), inserted comma after “Attorney General” in introductory provisions.

Pub. L. 109–162, § 1177(a)(4), inserted “or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the Attorney General” after “in a Federal prison,” in introductory provisions.

Subsec. (b). Pub. L. 109–248 inserted comma after “Attorney General” in introductory provisions and substituted “15 years” for “five years” in concluding provisions.

Pub. L. 109–162, § 1177(a)(4), (b)(1), inserted “or in any prison, institution, or facility in which persons are held in custody by direction of or pursuant to a contract or agreement with the Attorney General” after “in a Federal prison,” in introductory provisions and substituted “five years” for “one year” in concluding provisions.

1998—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 105–314 struck out “crosses a State line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who has not attained the age of 12 years, or” after “Whoever” in introductory provisions.

1996—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 104–208 inserted “crosses a State line with intent to engage in a sexual act with a person who has not attained the age of 12 years, or” after “Whoever” in introductory provisions.

1990—Subsec. (a). Pub. L. 101–647 substituted “15 years” for “five years” in concluding provisions.

Statutory Notes and Related Subsidiaries
Effective Date of 2022 Amendment

Amendment by Pub. L. 117–103 not effective until Oct. 1 of the first fiscal year beginning after Mar. 15, 2022, see section 4(a) of div. W of Pub. L. 117–103, set out as an Effective Date note under section 6851 of Title 15, Commerce and Trade.

The following state regulations pages link to this page.