ABDUCTION of women.—By an old statute, three years' imprisonment is the punishment of any man who carries away a nun from her house, even though she consent, and he must make convenient satisfaction to the house. But more modern and practical is abduction on account of the woman's fortune. Where a woman of any age has any interest (legal or equitable, present or future, absolute, conditional or contingent) in any real or personal estate, or is a presumptive heiress or next of kin to any one with such in terest—(a) whosoever, from motives of lucre, takes her away against her will, either for himself or some one else to marry, or have carnal knowledge of her—or (b) whosoever with like intent fraudulently allures or takes her away, when she is under 21 years of age, out of the possession or against the will of any person having lawful care of her, is guilty of felony. He cannot take any interest in her property. If he has married her, the Court of Chancery may re-settle her property. It is sufficient for the intent alone to be proved, not necessarily the carrying out thereof. Abduction of a woman by force, apart from the question of her property, is also a felony.
Whoever, with intent that any unmarried girl under 18 years of age shall be unlawfully and carnally know n by any man, takes such girl out of the possession, and against the will, of any person having lawful care or charge of her, is guilty of a misdemeanour. It is a sufficient defence if the person
charged proves that he had reasonable cause to believe that the girl was of or above the age of 18 years. It is also a misdemeanour to detain any wcalan or girl of any age against her will, either in a brothel or in any premises, with intent that she may be unlawfully and carnally known by any man. Withholding her wearing apparel or other property, or using threats of legal proceedings against her if she should tak,„ away with her any wearing apparel lent or supplied to her, constitute a detention under this Act.
To unlawfully take, or cause to be taken, any unmarried girl under 16 years of age out of the possession and against the will of any person having the lawful care or charge of her, is a misdemeanour. It is a defence that the girl left such person having care of her, and went to the person charged without inducement on his part ; also, if the person charged did not know, and had no reason to know, she was under such care. I is no defence that the person charged did not know her to be under 16, or might have supposed from her appearance that she was older, or even that he believed upon reasonable grounds that she was over that age. It is ,immaterial whether there be any corrupt motive, or whether the girl consent. So also is the sex of the person charged immaterial.