If there is no sexual contact and both parties are wanting to start a relationship, can they?
It is not technically illegal, but the 19 year old would be playing with fire. For example, if the 19 year old decides to break up with the 14 year old there is a real possibility of false allegations that lead to serious criminal charges. Or someone else who knows about the relationship could make an accusation, or temptation may be stronger than you think. Do yourself and each-other a favor, and date someone closer to your own age.
In Missouri, the age of consent is 17. However, it is legal for a person to have sex with someone who is under the age of consent (17) so long as both parties are at least 14 years old and under 21 years old. However, if the defendant is 21 years old or older and the victim is under the age of 17, then it is second degree statutory rape or statutory sodomy.
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 is not illegal as long as the parents or guardians are OK with it. 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.
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 an excessively young person to be "creepy". There is a rule of thumb is that it’s only OK to be interested in someone who is one-half your age plus seven years. This gives rise to the Creepiness Formula:
Dating someone that is older than ½(your age) + 7 = Not Creepy
and the reciprocal,
Dating someone that is younger than ½(your age) + 7 = Is Creepy
According to the formula, it is not creepy for a 19-year-old to date a 17-year-old, but dating anyone younger is Officially Creepy.
And finally, an adult in an adult-child "relationship" might be charged with
1. Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor
2. Interference with Custody and Control of a Parent
3. Providing Alcohol to a Minor
4. Sexting or Solicitation of a Minor
5. Obscene Telephone Contact
6. "Grooming" a Child
7. Possession, Production, and Distribution of Child Pornography
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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