You are right. I'm a parent, I wouldn't want my 16 year old to date (or have sex with) a 21 year old. Fortunately, in CA our laws are more restrictive. In VT, the age of consent is 16. Here's the law:
Title 13 V.S.A. § 3252.
§3252(c) No person shall engage in a sexual act with a child who is under the age of 16, except:
1.where the persons are married to each other and the sexual act is consensual; or
2.where the person is less than 19 years old, the child is at least 15 years old, and the sexual act is consensual.
However it rises to 18 if the person is related to the minor or in a position of authority over him.
(d) No person shall engage in a sexual act with a child who is under the age of 18 and is entrusted to the actor's care by authority of law or is the actor's child, grandchild, foster child, adopted child, or stepchild.
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As a parent, you are your child's legal guardian until she turns 18. You are responsible for her actions and her personal welfare until then. You have the legal right to disapprove of her friends and of activities you deem unsuitable, even if they are allowed by law. If you child persists in unsuitable friendships despite your wishes, you can potentially seek a restraining order. An experienced local family law attorney could advise you regarding that issue.
All of that said, it is very unlikely that legal action, such as calling the cops or getting a restraining order on your daughter's boyfriend is going to resolve the issues you face. These options are very likely to destroy any relationship or trust your daughter has in you. What would be much more likely to result in your daughter understanding your legitimate concerns would be to engage in family counseling or therapy with her. An experienced therapist who specializes in teens and parents can work wonders.
Such a relationship is legally permissible, but you, as parents, are totally responsible for her care until she turns 18. If you suspect or know that they are having sexual relations, you certainly want to have your daughter on birth control. It sounds like it is time for a family meeting and for you to exercise your responsibilities. If she is totally out of your control, the State can take her into custody through child protective services.
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Mr. Lundeen is licensed to practice law in Florida and Vermont. The response herein is not legal advice and does not create an attorney/client relationship. The response is in the form of legal education and is intended to provide general information about the matter within the question. Oftentimes the question does not include significant and important facts and timelines that, if known, could significantly change the reply and make it unsuitable. Mr. Lundeen strongly advises the questioner to confer with an attorney in your state in order to ensure proper advice is received.
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