Once you start adding in the variations, the law can become a web of what is or isn't allowed -- and that isn't always clear."It definitely creates confusion, the real problem I'm trying to address is that it creates a hole in the law," said State Representative Clarke Tucker, in regard to variations and gaps in the law.
A 15-year-old can also consent to have sex with someone who is no more than 3 years older or younger than him or her.
The same goes for younger teens, though with more variations. But then the law varies even more when you start dealing with younger adolescents, adults in authority, caregivers, sexting or soliciting sex, sending graphic images, and indecent exposure.
Farst said healthcare professionals and other mandated reporters have to try and learn about the nature of the relationship by asking the right questions to know if a child is a victim or a consenting participant."Does the person [who is over 18] have authority over them?
Is there anything that has been coercion or manipulation that the adolescent may not even recognize? "Many times these teens are not at a place, maturity-wise, to recognize the risks the relationship can have, and sometimes it's our job to try and tease that out, and talk to them about what this relationship really means."If they're able to determine what that means, they turn to their knowledge of state laws within the criminal track, which you can read here, and the Child Maltreatment Track, which you can view here.
The teen's father acknowledged that uncertainty saying, "I wasn't thinking criminal either, because I was thinking the whole time that this sucks because [he] was 16.