Hi...a close friend of mine who is 40+ recently confided in me that he is contemplating a sexual liaison with a 16yo girl in his home state where the AOC is 16. He apparently met her online where she took a pretty dominant role in suggesting that they meet, openly encouraged and engaged in erotic phone chat, and even sent him unsolicited "adult" pictures of herself. He maintains that, strictly speaking, he would not be violating any state laws if they had consentual sex in the state....my reading of the laws seems to support this, but in some cases i have read about it seems less clear. can you please help clarify this for me?
Posts: 3 | From: New York | Registered: Mar 2006
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Without knowing what state they are in, it's not possible for anyone to give you more information on the relevant laws and whether your friend is right or not - in some states, the effective "age of consent" takes the age of the partner into account too.
However, I have to say that even if this is entirely legal, your friend needs to sit down and have a big think about what he's getting into.
The difference in maturity and social power between a 40-something and a 16-year-old is pretty huge, and there's no way to make that power imbalance go away. Even if she has been initiating their interactions, it's his choice to take advantage of that or not - and I'd be concerned as to why he is even interested in a sexual partner who is so much younger and more powerless than he is.
If I personally knew a 16-year-old who was sending unsolicited "adult" photos to people on the net and offering to meet strangers for sex, I would be extremely concerned about her sense of safety and personal boundaries, since she's making herself exceptionally vulnerable. Far from proving that she's "mature", it's more likely to be an indication that she's highly naive or acting out issues of her own. If he has a sense of responsibility, he ought to think about whether a "sexual liason" is likely to be emotionally healthy for her or not (and I'd be betting on "not").
A relationship between a 40-something man and a 16-year-old girl is also likely to meet with widespread social disapproval; it'll be assumed by many people that he is exploiting her, whether that's the case or not.
And of course, that's assuming that she is a 16-year-old girl, and not another 40-something guy or an FBI agent trawling for child abusers.
I don't want to sound judgemental, but frankly your post is setting off all sorts of alarm bells in my mind.
-------------------- "Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud Posts: 6944 | From: UK | Registered: May 2002
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Actually, him having those photos ALONE technically puts him in possession of child pornography, since she isn't of a legal age to take or distribute such photos. And that's a felony right there.
Let me be frank: the law should absolutely be a concern of his here, but it really shouldn't be his only concern. Is this friend even remotely a good guy (and are all his "friends" teenagers? If so, might that be something even you might want to examine a bit)?
If he is, he should be at the very least having a LOT of pause about mutuality, balances of power, and how pursuing a sexual relationship with a teenage girl more than half his age is very likely exploitive of her, no matter how she's playing it.
Per the law, it often isn't as simple as AOC. I don't know what state he's in, but in many there are laws regarding anyone who is a legal minor, period, engaging in sex with someone who is a legal adult past a certain age window.
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 67076 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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