Is it illegal for an eighteen year old male in Canada to be dating a sixteen year old female from California or Oregon?(Online)
1 Answer from Attorneys
That depends on WHERE you are dating and whether "dating" includes sexual conduct.
The age of consent in California is 18. In California it is illegal for anyone to engage in sexual intercourse with a minor (someone under the age of 18), unless they are that person's spouse.
Oregon's age of consent is also 18, but there is an exception to the law for people who are within 3 years of each other. If you are two years apart, you would be within that 3 year period and so long as there was consent, you would likely not be prosecuted for statutory rape.
The penalty for statutory rape in California where the younger person is within 3 years in age of the "perpetrator", would be a misdemeanor. If it were more than 3 years it would be a felony.
The consequences of being convicted of statutory rape are harsh. Worse than the criminal sanction is the potential for registration as a sexual offender.
The second part of the answer is what you mean by "dating". If you are in Canada and she is in California, for example, you might not be having physical contact, in which case you would likely not meet the requirement for violating the statutory rape laws, as your relationship is not sexual.
A very strong warning though: do not "sext" or transmit any sexual images between yourselves. Sending sexual images to a minor (someone under 18) or receiving visual depictions of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct is criminal. Federal law prescribes a 5 year mandatory minimum prison sentence for doing so. It may seem backwards, but in some states it is legal to have sex with someone under 18 but illegal to exchange sexually explicit images with them.
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