questionswhat would you do if you become aware of a…


I guess it would depend on the age of consent in the state this occurred in. Still, pretty sleazy and more than a little bit predatory. Also, are people willing to testify if it was, indeed, illegal? If not, it's someone's secondhand knowledge against someone else's denial. Tough work, that.


Are they still together? happily?

Tough call, but i can certainly say i've seen many 16 yr old girls who look and act far older, and many 24 year old guys who look and act much younger. Also - 16, though creepy - is an adult age in many cultures - whats the cultural background (if you can give that info) - in nyc, for instance, you often have multi cultural traditions rubbing up against legality. For age-borderline examples such as this, if all parties are informed and do not object or wish to pursue matters - it gets dropped for those very reasons.

If the parents were aware, and chose not to do anything, the onus and blame (if there is, indeed any blame to be had) is theirs

While sleazy, 16 is right on the cusp of consent in most states, and perfectly legal in others. We're not talking 11 yrs old.

Mainly, i'll ask why is it you feel the need to be concerned with it at all? Do you feel some harm was done? Keep in mind your perception might be based on a limited scope of facts


meh, 16 is the age of consent in many places, she probably knew what she was getting into. I'd rather see the parents dealt with than the 24 yr old. Sounds like it's probably too late for anything to be done about it anyway (statutes of limitations).


To be perfectly clear, if it were a flat out case of child abuse, then there's no question about bringing it to the authorities.

Without more information, this just sounds like a case of busy-bodyness


let it be, you wouldn't help anyone.


I think this is a situation where if the parents are ok with it, no one is going to be pressing charges, so it's not worth your concern.

Also if she is of age now, there is probably no way to prove (in the eyes of the law) anything happened, so any efforts to change what happened would likely be in vain.


It really depends on where you are. 16 is legal in the majority of the United States.

age of consent 16 (30): Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia
age of consent 17 (9): Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Texas, Wyoming
age of consent 18 (12): Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania

So there is no consistency. The real question is whether there is a healthy relationship, or if it is abuse.


I'd mind my own business. Several answers before stated it better, but that's my short answer.


it depends on he age of consent but if you are speaking of little children i would do everything i could thru the law to stop this it is sick and you will ruin a young girls life forever


I would report it immediately.

Here's the rub, if it is illegal and found to be something you knew about, it's entirely possible down the road someone could chase you down as being an accessory to the crime, precisely because you knew and refused to do anything about it.

I don't care what everyone is saying about the law is silly and needs to change or stuff like that, because it doesn't matter. If you want the law to change, then bother your congresspeople, but the proper place to do that isn't by not reporting a crime. I wouldn't care about everyone getting angry and bent out of shape by you reporting a crime. Why's that? Because you're reporting a CRIME.

If this makes you uncomfortable and raises question marks, it's very likely it does the same for many other people in your community too. If you report it, I applaud your bravery. If you don't report a crime, I'd ask how would you appreciate a knowledgeable party not reporting a crime done against you?


If it was a consensual relationship AND the girl's parents knew about it and were okay with it it's not going to go anywhere.
Stop being a busybody.


BTW: Without the girl willing to testify, it is nearly impossible to prove (in court) that the two had sexual relations without walking in on them and physically seeing them having sex. It sounds like all you have is hearsay and rumor. Nothing to go to court with, and at most, barely enough to start an investigation. Since she is now over 18, I don't see the point.


@wilfbrim: Not necessarily. I had a friend that had statutory charges brought against him by the girl's father where the girl testified in his defense. He still got a convicted. Age difference there was 19 (him) and 15 (her).


let it be.... what's done is done.. besides, many states allow with parental consent.


Interesting responses. This makes me think a little more. Thank you.

I am curious. For those who said we should "let it be", how many of you are men and how many of you are women?

For those who said that it should be "reported immediately", how many of you are men and how many of you are women?


There's not anything necessarily (legally) wrong with that. It depends on what the age of consent in her state is. In most states it is 16, I believe. The fact that her parents consented to it would support this as well.

It's definitely something that's morally questionable at best, but I don't believe there's anything legal that could be done. Publicizing it at this point would only harm all the parties involved.


If you know something about a serious situation like rape, the last place I would be talking about it would be on a chat board.


@mkentosh: Statutory rape isn't exactly a serious situation. Inappropriate, maybe, but it's not exactly uncommon, nor is it anywhere near the same thing as actual rape (you know, the kind where one of the parties is not consenting).


Mind you, I'm a guy.. and ya I said let it be.. However only because of the following:

1) Parents knew about it
2) As far as you know there is no abuse
3) They are still together (always a good thing)

My response would be very different if it was actual rape (non-consenting).. Then I don't care who they are (what age) I would report it in a heartbeat.


@stryker4526: wow that dosen't sound too republican.......


I am absolutely disgusted with some of the answers here. 'Statutory rape isn't that big of a deal'?!?!?
Look to the teenage girls in your life, now look to the mid 20's + men in your life. Do you really think that is an emotionally appropriate relationship? It's not. Yes, it can damage the younger person in the relationship. Yes, 16 is legal in some states. It's a bit young to me, but the people who don't live there don't vote there.

There are exceptions to the rule, the late teen girl and mid 20's man who end up married for 20 years is an exception. Perhaps this situation is an exception, we don't know. If you are aware of an underage child in a sexual relationship with an adult, it is absolutely your responsibility to report it. This case, the young woman is 18, the window to report has passed. I am not sure that jail time is the appropriate response to this crime, but you can dang well bet that someone should make sure the kid isn't being harmed in this "relationship."


@thumperchick: Oh please, drama mama. It might be inappropriate but it hardly warrants ruining someone's life over unless there's actual abuse taking place. Your response to the situation is extremely overbearing. Being an overprotective parent can "damage" your younger person as well.
Just because it has that big, scary "rape" word in it doesn't make it a heinous crime.
Hell, calling a consensual relationship like that "rape" is about as appropriate as the relationship itself...


@stryker4526: How cute, resorting to name calling to make yourself feel better about you looking aside as an adult potentially takes advantage of a minor. Creepy.


@thumperchick: Ah yes, of course, you are right, how silly of me.
All relationships between people of the arbitrarily-selected age of consent and people of the arbitrarily-selected number of years over said age are nasty, evil, heinous things and all of the blame falls on the older person who is clearly always taking advantage of the younger person.
Clearly the minor is not at fault at all, because we all know people under the arbitrarily-selected age of majority have no free will or intelligence and are completely incapable of making decisions for themselves based on their education and experience.
Clearly the parents can take no blame for failing to instill the values they believe in or failing to teach their children about inappropriate relationships, how they can potentially be taken advantage of, how to make smart choices, etc, because kids will be kids, and they are dumb and will do whatever they want regardless of what you try to teach them or how you try to raise them.


@thumperchick: No, clearly the person over the arbitrarily-selected age gap are always at fault. They are always evil, evil people out to "take advantage of" the younger person and "damage" them, and there is no way these relationships could ever be consensual or anything less than very, very bad.
You have opened my eyes. How could I have been so wrong?


@stryker4526: looks around I said none of that. But hey, if you wanted to argue with a strawman, you found yourself a straw-fight? I guess?


I am a psychologist who works primarily with adolescent girls. Would I report? I am a mandated reporter.

There is a reason why reporting is mandated.

It is because people outside of the situation - like ALL of us in this discussion, including the OP - are not qualified to determine whether a given relationship between a 16 year old girl and a 24 year old man is "appropriate" or "inappropriate."

Most of the time, parents aren't qualified to make that determination either.

Why? Because they're too close to the situation.

I've seen exactly what the OP describes, over and over again: teenage girl has aspirations, modeling/gymnastics/figure skating/whatever; man in his 20s pays attention to her, says he can help her along, use his connections. Girl is thrilled, parents are thrilled. Parents have invested energy, money, time into girl's dreams. They don't see the situation for what it is.

Downvote me all you like, because this is a far more important point than DW reputation:


If it takes a village to raise a child, then the deals.woot village has declared that it's more important that we not be "busybodies" than that we potentially save children - and 16 year olds are developmentally children far more than they are adults.

OP: What are you doing discussing this on an internet site? If you're concerned, call CPS anonymously to ask about your state's laws. If this situation doesn't qualify, you're off the hook. If it does, you have a decision to make. Offloading your moral quandary on a website devoted to seeking cheap deals is irresponsible. Or trolling.

To just about everyone else: Regardless of what happened to you as a teenager, regardless of the couple you know who started dating when she was 16 and he was 24 and they're happy 20 years later, regardless of what you think the parents know and what you think the parents think - you don't have the information to make the decision not to call. Unless you are a psychologist or social worker specializing


in this, you don't know. So call. Protect children. The days of 24 year old men being prosecuted for statutory rape just because - without any harm done - are generally long gone. Sexual abuse has gone nowhere.

Make the call.

Make the call so that when the girl you know ends up in my office, she says, "At least someone cared enough. I didn't understand, but someone did. Someone cared about me."

Because I have far too many girls walk into my office and say, "Why did everyone know and no one did anything? I didn't understand it was wrong, but they did. What's wrong with me that no one cared enough about me?"

If you are not an adolescent psychologist or social worker with extensive experience with victims of abuse: you don't know enough to decide if the relationship is "okay."

But now you know why it's so important that you call.


"Every parent of a teenager is familiar with the special behavior that puberty seems to induce - mood swings, slammed doors, rash decisions. Parents often blame such erratic temperament on surging adolescent hormones, but it turns out that the brain has something to do with it, too. Specifically, a teen's prefrontal cortex - the piece of brain right behind the forehead that is involved in complex decision making - is not capable of the kind of reasoning that allows most grown-ups to make rational decisions."
Full Article HERE
"For many teens, the output of their underdeveloped decision processing centers may be as mild as choosing a bag of cheese puffs for lunch or a new purple hairdo. But some youngsters take bigger risks - such as stealing a car or trying drugs. More 17-year-olds commit crimes than any other age group, according to recent studies by psychiatrists"
This is the development age that the girl was at. Cont.


Teenage brains are not fully formed and are missing key parts that help them make rational, complex decisions. These ages are not arbitrarily chosen. There is a reason you can't go fight in a war, vote, smoke, or do any number of 'adult' things until you are 18 or 21 in most of the US. That reason is this inability to see the long term consequences and effects of complex decisions.
If you factor into this the hormonal surge that happens during/directly after intercourse for women, the hormones that cause the euphoric "love" simulating feelings, combine that with the effects of puberty and you get a really confusing situation for a lot of teen girls. (I imagine there's confusing stuff with males, but don't have the stats on that.)
There are a lot of variables that need to be considered and just assuming that "she knew what she was getting into" or that it'll work out, may not be correct.

Thank you @neuropsychosocial, for your professional input to this conversation.


@thumperchick: Well if you're going to select these ages by when the brain actually matures, we should be setting the ages for everything closer to 25, as the brain doesn't mature until around that age. So yes, they are arbitrarily chosen at some point well before the brain is actually fully mature. Just look at the huge variation in age limits on things like consent, smoking, drinking, majority, etc. around the world.
I don't know about you, but I wouldn't want to have people waiting until they're 25 to drive, sign contracts, move out on their own, get jobs, etc. Would you?


@neuropsychosocial: I asked a question. That's all, calling this trolling may be a bit much, there are a lot of caring people on DW, you know? I did not name names, how was it "irresponsible"?

I appreciate your comment as a psychologist/professional. And while I have training in dealing with these situations and have attorney friends who deal with these everyday, I wanted to see what other people would do (and it's also an observation on humanity, you see?). Thank you.


@neuropsychosocial: And by the way, here's you, the professional, who responded with a resourceful and thoughtful reply. Then this post was worth it, don't you think?


@neuropsychosocial: Your professional and well thought out response has actually changed my mind on this issue. It doesn't matter if I THINK its ok or if it PROBABLY is, it matters that it MAY NOT be. So to prevent the harm (physical or emotional) of any adolescent, it should always be reported. hands down.

I do have a question that now interest me. Do you find that it's because the experience was with someone so much older that causes the trauma? I guess I'm trying to understand if the same type (sexual) of relationship was had with someone of the same age or maturity can the effects me equally as damaging?

@thumperchick: you give this overbearing vibe that is a real turn off. I see you feel strongly about it, but your information, mostly its presentation, is no more useful or convincing than anyone elses. Truthfully I stopped reading you responses because I felt as if I were being yelled at or lectured. Not Informed.


@nmchapma: I think it came off that way because I was lecturing someone. Not you, but yeah. I get it. If you manage to make it through my other responses, on is strictly a quote and link to a brain study. A study which is a good read overall.