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August 15, 2022

Handling Teen Legal Issues – Age Differences | Cup of Joe

“I met a girl and she lied about her age, can I still date her?”

written by Joseph D. Nohavicka

Legal issues involving minors can often be tricky situations. Teenagers' brains are still developing, and they are still figuring out who they are and their place in the world. Let's analyze a scenario in which a teen reaches out to an attorney for advice on his new relationship...


TEENAGE CLIENT: “So, like, is everything I say confidential?”

ATTORNEY: “Yes it is.”

“Even though I didn’t pay you?”

“Yeah.”

“Okay, I met this girl in the grocery store and you know me being a teenager I got her phone number and we started talking. She told me she was 17 and me being me I’m not gonna look like a weirdo and ask for her ID and such. We started dating, but turns out she lied to me about her age and she is actually 13.”

“Okay.”

“I wanna know if it’s illegal to date her or I should end the relationship and any contact with her. Am I allowed to not date her but still be her friend and guide her through her life?”

“Okay, are you ready for this?

“I guess.”

“Here is what I can tell about you from what you just told me: You are intelligent and mature because you knew that you needed confidential advice.”

“Hey, thanks.”

“You are confused because you find yourself in a potentially romantic relationship that our community does not accept. You already knew the answer to your question. But you are in a very difficult situation and you must find all the inner strength you have to get yourself out of this.”

“How?”

“First, you have to remind yourself that there is a big difference between a 17-year-old and a 13-year-old emotionally and legally. The age of consent in NY is 17. She is only 13 and having the attention of an older man is overwhelming for her. The power that she is feeling is intoxicating. “

“Why’s that bad?”

“Well, if she feels threatened or embarrassed by anything you do to her, the emotional reaction will be violent. She may already be exaggerating the physical part of your relationship to her friends. One of them may tell their parents and the parent could go to the police. How will you explain this situation in the interrogation room?”

“But we were just hanging out and kissing!”

“Listen: When you are at the station and you hear the words ‘we just hung out and kissed’ coming out of your mouth to the sex-crimes detectives, they will sound weak and creepy even to your own ears. You have put yourself at the edge of a rooftop and all you have to do is back away.”

“But I really like her.”

“Maybe you would feel better if you spoke to a therapist. It’s confidential. There is no shame in speaking to a professional about this problem if it is too much for you to handle on your own. But you have to end this now. Life is difficult enough without having the brand of a child sex offender.”

“I hear you. Thanks a lot. Really.”


Knowing the age of consent in New York is 17, what do you think? Is this the advice you would have given this teenager, or would you have different suggestions?

Let us know on social media.

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