Anonymous asked in Politics & GovernmentLaw & Ethics · 8 years ago

Can a 17 year old date a 24 year old over the internet?

I'm 17 and a few months ago, I met a guy online and we really hit it off from the first conversation. We began talking about the website at first, then the conversation moved onto introducing ourselves, then we talked about our personal lives, and then we started talking about college, which we both want to study the same field. From the beginning, we were both very aware of our age difference, and we discussed it several times. Just 2 weeks ago, we revealed to eachother that we both had feelings for eachother, but he made it clear he doesn't even want to meet me in person until I turn 18. We've talked on the phone millions of times, and we've talked over webcam as well. I live in Pennsylvania, and he lives in Ohio. Here in PA, the age of consent is 16. I realize there is a pretty big age gap between us, but we've both had problems with relationships and could never seem to find someone who suited ourselves, and then we met eachother, and we've been best friends ever since. I just want to know if he's right to steer clear of me until I turn 18, or if it's actually okay for us to date, even if it's just over the internet, because I turn 18 in a little over 6 months. I need good advice here guys, I'm very aware of what I'm doing, so please don't criticize.


I'm asking legally. We have all the personal details figured out, like how the relationship would work, but would it be illegal for us to date?

6 Answers

  • Difdi
    Lv 6
    8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Dating is not against the law, regardless of age. However, pornography and actual sex can still get you into trouble.

    Until you turn 18, any image of you in a partially or completely unclothed state is a felony under federal law. You dressed normally would be okay, in a swimsuit is probably not. When in doubt, assume it's not legal. If the intent is to turn him on sexually, then it absolutely is not okay. Any pornographic image of someone under 18 is legally considered to be child pornography, even if you are only a day short of your 18th birthday. The government definition of child pornography errs on the side of protecting children, so taking any chances on this is almost certainly crossing the line.

    Creating child pornography (even a self-portrait) is worth 10 or more years in prison without possibility of parole. It also would make you a sex offender. Possessing child pornography is worth 3-5 years per image or file. If you take a naked self-portrait (or do a web cam chat naked) you could go to prison for 10 years, and your boyfriend for 5-10 years. The law makes no distinction between a 40 year old taking pictures of children and a child snapping a self-portrait in the mirror. Don't do it, it's not worth the risks.

    Dating is legal in every state, but different states define sex differently; Most define it as genital contact, but some go so far as to include some times of hugs and/or kisses. Safer to keep it chaste.

    Actual sex would depend on both state age of consent and federal age of consent. Since you're in different states, you must consider both states AND the federal laws on the matter. In Ohio, you would be legal to have sex with your boyfriend right now. But in Pennsylvania, since he is over 18 and you are not, sex would be a crime. And under federal law, sex would also be a crime.

    Pennsylvania sets the age of consent at 16, but they also have a corrupting minors law on the books that effectively raises the age to 18. Pennsylvania is one of the states were two 17 year olds can consent to eachother, but the day one of them turns 18, sex becomes statutory rape until the other turns 18 as well due to that corrupting a minor law. Corrupting a minor is a first degree misdemeanor.

    Ohio is more lenient. Ohio age of consent is 16, with no odd legal booby-traps. A clear read of the law would seem to imply that visiting your boyfriend in Ohio would let you have sex. It doesn't. That brings us to federal laws.

    There are two federal laws that impact you directly.

    One is the federal age of consent, which is set at 18 years of age. Those under 18 have a 4 year Romeo & Juliet exemption, that you don't qualify for, since your boyfriend is over 21. That's actually the more minor of the two problem laws at the federal level. The federal age of consent kicks in on federal land (national parks, federal courthouses, etc) AND when you cross a state border in some fashion. Use of the internet, any telephone (land or cell) or the U.S. Mail to arrange to meet for sex is considered to cross state borders.

    The other federal problem for your relationship is that it is a felony to cross any state or national border to engage in behavior that is illegal in your place of residence.

    My advice to you is to wait the 6 months until your 18th birthday before you do anything more sexually provocative than talk, fully clothed.

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  • 8 years ago

    7 yrs its not that bad of an age diffrence but in your case it is. Physically you may think you are meant for each other but think about the long term consequences. For one thing what are yall going to do for fun? You cant have sex 24/7. You may want to do things teenagers want to do while he would want to do what grownups do. You are not legally able to go to a club yet alone a bar. Do you think he would like to gang around your young friends or vise versa. If is just sexual go a head but dont do it if feelings are involved because it wont last long believe me. It would have made a diffrence if you were 20 and him 27. Your still too young and he needs to find someone hes age.

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  • Dating, whether online or in person, is NEVER illegal. The minor's parents might forbid it, but the law does not.

    SEX can be illegal in certain circumstances and ages, which vary by jurisdiction.

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  • Anonymous
    4 years ago

    24-year old is way too old for you!

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  • 8 years ago

    Not criticizing, but if you are aware of what you're doing, then you wouldn't have to ask complete strangers.

    Source(s): Just saying.
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  • Anonymous
    8 years ago

    The guy is a predator. Don't have anything to do with him.

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