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Communicating w/ a minor for immoral purposes? How does it work?

Seattle, WA |
Filed under: Criminal defense

For a relationship between a 19 year old and 15 year old, I know that RCW 9A.44.089 and RCW 9A.44.079 say that as long as the the "perpetrator" isn't over 48 months older than the "victim" then sexual contact is fully legal. But I'm curious about this other statute:

"RCW 9.68A.090, Communication with minor for immoral purposes", would the 19 year old get in trouble for that? Say that the communication w/ the minor wasn't for an immoral purpose but for an actual relationship and sexual contact happens as part of that relationship. I'm confused on how this statute works. "Immoral purposes" aren't clearly defined so can someone clarify what it means?

Thank you for your time.

Attorney Answers 1

  1. I don't know that I can categorically answer your question in this setting. However, there is an appellate court opinion that holds if the "purpose" of the communication is itself legal, then it cannot be "immoral." The case involved an older adult proposing sexual contact with a 16-year-old, who was of the age of consent.

    If you have more specific questions or want a fuller discussion of the certainty and uncertainty of this law, I urge you to retain counsel to research the question and consult with you regarding the facts of your situation. The laws are complex and the consequences can be very serious.

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