can a 14-year-old male and an 18-year-old female date? If so what are the legal rules behind it?
In NC, the age of consent for sexual contact is 16. However, no employee of an elementary, middle, or high school can have any sexual activity with anyone who is or was a student at that school unless they happen to be married to them. In addition, any sexual contact with a person who is under 16 years of age is prohibited unless the other party is less than 4 years older than they are, unless again, they happen to be married.
A person becomes an adult at 18, the age of majority In most states. Exceptions are Alabama & Nebraska (19), and District of Columbia & Mississippi (21). Until then they are a minor (child), and their parents pretty much control their life, including whom they date. If the parents wish, they can report it to the police if someone interferes with their control. After reaching the age of majority, the new adult can date anyone, leave home against their parent's wishes, live where they want, associate with anybody they wish, pay their own bills and bail themselves out of jail.
Dating a minor UNDER the age of consent -- without sexual contact -- is not illegal as long as the minor's parents/guardians are OK with it. Some state's laws allow minors who have reached the age of consent (16, 17, or 18 depending on which state) to legally engage in consensual sexual intercourse/contact with anyone the same age or older. So dating -- with or without sexual contact -- a minor who is AT or OVER the age of consent is not illegal as long as the parents or guardians are OK with it. In either case, If they are not good with it, they could file police reports that result in charges of "Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor", "Interference with Parental Control" or something else (even Kidnapping) that might be appropriate in that particular state. They can also get a No Contact/Restraining Order/Order of Protection against the person.
Example: In NC, the age of consent is 16, but the age of majority is 18. A 16-year-old minor can legally consent to sexual contact. So with their parents' permission, it is perfectly alright. If the parents don't agree, they should wait until they are 18 to keep their lover out of trouble.
Warning: If sexually suggestive photos of any person under 18 are taken and/or shared, federal laws regarding production, distribution, and possession of child pornography come into play. There may be additional state laws that prohibit it.
In general, to be completely legal, adults should not "date" minors.
And one more thing: many people would consider dating between an "old" and "young" person to be "creepy". There is a rule of thumb is that it’s only OK for a youngster who is over one-half the older's age plus seven years. This gives rise to the Creepiness Formula:
Dating someone that is past ½(the older's age) + 7 = Not Creepy
and the reciprocal,
Dating someone that is younger than ½(the older's age) + 7 = Is Creepy.
According to the formula, it is not creepy for an 18-year-old to date a 16-year-old, but dating anyone younger is Officially Creepy, and gives credence to the real possibility that the older person is a PEDOPHILE or CHILD MOLESTER.
I am an Attorney-at-Law, licensed to practice law only in the state of California. Unless we have both signed a formal retainer agreement you are not my client, and my discussion of issues does not constitute legal advice. Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of those who hold other opinions.
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