Illigal dating age
Just like the therapist in the Suskie case, professionals have to rely on what the teens are willing to tell them and what they observe to decide if something sinister is afoot."In the case that a person says they're 16 and the partner is their 25-year-old neighbor, I would not refer that to the hotline, because I would be having to take their word for it.I can't go out and figure out if it's their neighbor or not," Patterson said."It created a hole in the law that likely wasn't intended, because these laws were passed at different times."Prosecutors are apparently not the only ones who deal with the struggle of determining what the law allows, especially when you review the Suskie investigation file, which required law enforcement, principals and mental health providers to try and determine if the relationship was actually illegal.Ultimately, because of her position as a substitute, she was charged with sexual assault."I think it's a topic where unless you're working in a hospital or a center, they don't have a lot of practice with that.These aren't rules that are just easy to rattle off the top of your head.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.
Those laws made it illegal for, say, a 19-year-old to solicit a teen for sex, while making it legal for them to actually have sex, given a certain age span."[Prosecutors] have had to tell parents of a young lady that if only the guy who she had a sexual relationship with had solicited the relationship -- we would be able to prosecute," Tucker said.
The decision to call is not always an easy one, Patterson said, because the therapist has to weigh issues of confidentiality and the impact the notification will have on the therapist's relationship with the patient.
Patterson noted that therapists and other reporters often have to make the tough call regardless of those considerations if they believe a child is in danger."I think sometimes kids can fall through the cracks because individuals don't understand the law," Patterson said.
One High-Profile Example of Confusion & Consent Laws Forty-four year old Erica Suskie's day in court for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old appeared to hinge on one fact: she was a substitute teacher at the teen's school.
That detail was something the teen's therapist was not aware of when the 16-year-old disclosed the relationship in August 2015.