Can a 21-year-old male date a 17-year-old female in Erie PA?

Q: My friend and I have been wanting to date each other for some time but choose not to because of not knowing the legal standards in Pennsylvania. Is she able to date me and is she able to make her consent on this? I’m looking for an honest real answer because I don’t want both of us to get in trouble with the law. (Erie, PA)

A: I am not sure what you mean by “dating” but if you intend on having sex, you should be careful. Her being over the age of 16 avoids almost all the having sex with a minor crimes in the PA Crimes Code. However, you could be subject to a Corruption of Minors charge, due to the age difference. I see this happen when the parents or family of a young girl allege the older male is tending to corrupt her by having sex or furnishing alcohol. The parents could actually file the charge as she is still a minor until age 18. If anyone in her family is not on board with this you should wait until she turns 18. Even if they are OK with it, things can change.

If you feel like this issue relates to you, or a problem that you are experiencing, please contact me so that we can discuss your situation.