Pennsylvania Age of Consent

The age of consent in Pennsylvania is 16 years of age for statutory sexual assault and 18 years for corruption of minors.

Teenagers aged 13, 14 and 15 may or may not be able to legally engage in sexual activity with partners who are less than 4 years older. Such partners could not be prosecuted under statutory rape laws, but may be liable for other offenses, even when the sexual activity is consensual.

Under Pennsylvania law, a defendant is strictly liable for the offense of rape, a felony of the first degree, when the complainant is 12 or younger. Pennsylvania has enacted several other strict liability sexual offenses when the complainant is under 16, but 13 years old or older.

§ 3122.1. Statutory sexual assault.
Except as provided in section 3121 (relating to rape), a person commits a felony of the second degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse with a complainant under the age of 16 years and that person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other.

§ 3125 Aggravated indecent assault
(7) the complainant is less than 13 years of age; or (8) the complainant is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and the person are not married to each other. (b) Aggravated indecent assault of a child.–A person commits aggravated indecent assault of a child when the person violates subsection (a)(1), (2), (3), (4), (5) or (6) and the complainant is less than 13 years of age.

§ 3123 Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
(7) who is less than 16 years of age and the person is four or more years older than the complainant and the complainant and person are not married to each other.

When the alleged victim is 16 or older and less than 18 years of age, and the alleged offender is over the age of 18, the Commonwealth may charge the offense of corruption of minors or unlawful contact with a minor, even if the activity was consensual:

§ 6301 Corruption of minors.
(a) Offense defined.– (1) Whoever, being of the age of 18 years and upwards, by any act corrupts or tends to corrupt the morals of any minor less than 18 years of age, or who aids, abets, entices or encourages any such minor in the commission of any crime, or who knowingly assists or encourages such minor in violating his or her parole or any order of court, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.

The crime of corruption of minors is usually a crime that accompanies another “more serious” crime such as statutory rape or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse or accompanies some drug or alcohol use, possession or sale. Tending to corrupt like contributing to delinquency is a broad term involving conduct toward a child in an unlimited variety of ways which tends to produce or to encourage or to continue conduct of the child which would amount to delinquent conduct.”

The question of whether consensual intercourse with a minor 16 years or older tends to corrupt the morals of that minor is a jury question to be decided by the “common sense of the community.”

§ 6318. Unlawful contact with minor.
(a) Offense defined.–A person commits an offense if he is intentionally in contact with a minor, or a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties who has assumed the identity of a minor, for the purpose of engaging in an activity prohibited under any of the following, and either the person initiating the contact or the person being contacted is within this Commonwealth: (1) Any of the offenses enumerated in Chapter 31 (relating to sexual offenses). (2) Open lewdness as defined in section 5901 (relating to open lewdness). (3) Prostitution as defined in section 5902 (relating to prostitution and related offenses). (4) Obscene and other sexual materials and performances as defined in section 5903 (relating to obscene and other sexual materials and performances). (5) Sexual abuse of children as defined in section 6312 (relating to sexual abuse of children). (6) Sexual exploitation of children as defined in section 6320 (relating to sexual exploitation of children).

SOURCE

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16 Responses to Pennsylvania Age of Consent

  1. Sherry Hodge says:

    Hello,I am needing to know if in the State of PA.,if a peron in on the sexual offenders list for 6301 Corruption of a Minor,are they allowed to live in a house with a child? I appreciate your help with this question considering the topic.

                                                                          Thank you again, Sherry Hodge

    • Shelby says:

      I'm not sure if they would be allowed to live in the same household as a child of they are on the sex offenders list, especially if the person knows they didn't change and knows that they would be tempted to do it again, and that it definitely would not be safe, at all. I would not let my child live in the same house as a sex offender.

  2. Shelby says:

    So if the age of consent is 16 years of age, does that mean if the significant other just turned  21 years of old that it would be corruption of a minor even if they didn't do anything sexual with the 16 year old, and if the parents of the 16 year old consented to you being able to be in a relationship with said significant other?

    thank you, I need to know asap.!

    • B Free says:

      Highly unlikley. The prosecutors have much discretion when deciding when to file charges, so considering that the parents consented to the relationship, it would likely not happen.

  3. Steve says:

    I have a question i didn’t get my exact answer reading this. My question is if I’m 20 and my girlfriend is 17 and is turning 18 in 3 months and her parents have given me permission to date her but my parents don’t approve can i be charged with anything ? Not saying my parents are gonna charge me.

  4. Karen says:

    Im 15 so if i would date somebody 18 years of age does that mean that he could be charged even though we dont have a 4 year age differance?

  5. jeff says:

    if the girl i wish to date is 16 and i am 21 and i get her parents concent can i get charged with anything

  6. Lori says:

    I am wondering if the one person is 19 and the other is 15 but the 15 year old's parents allowed the relationship, even allowed the 19 year old to move in with 15 year old, what does that fall under?

    19 yr old sees a therapist who just found out 15 yr old is turning 16 and says is mandated reporter so has to call children and youth.

    Please help, should we call attorney

    • jon says:

      Yes! you should call an attorney. and to avoid any further issues the 19 yo should change therapists and if asked to talk about sexual relations with the 15 yo, generalize. i.e. not mention of his or her name or local. the reporting laws are very strict. In Sex offender treatments all participants are asked to generalize any details with prior victims so that the therapists don't have enough information to report on but the participant is still being truthful of all offenses. also by victims i mean any sexual contact that could be construde as illegal in the court of law. that meaning if a 19 yo had sex with multiple sexual encounters with various 15 yo's and was never charged with having sexual relations with any of them, they would still be considered victims. 

      • Matthew says:

        Jon, is 100% right on this, keep things simple, that way you dont give enough information that could lead to charges being filed "BUT" your still being truthful and can benefit from the theraphy and if pushed for more details think before you answer, "OR" say I don't feel like talking about it.

        Yes! you should call an attorney. and to avoid any further issues the 19 yo should change therapists and if asked to talk about sexual relations with the 15 yo, generalize. i.e. not mention of his or her name or local.

  7. Renee says:

    If I'm 16 and the guy I like is 21 is it illegal for us to date without my parents consent? Even if we aren't haveing sexual intercourse?

    • B Free says:

      Renee,

      The legal age of consent in PA is 16. This means that even if you had consensual sexual relations with this man, he would not be guilty of any sexual offense in PA. Nevertheless, you are still considered to be a minor because you are under the age of 18.  Therefore, if he were to engage in behavior, however, that “corrupts or tends to corrupt [your] morals”, or “aids, abets, entices or encourages [you] in the commission of any crime”, he could be charged with Corruption of Minors § 6301 (a)(1)(i). A classic example of this would be if he purchased alcohol for you. Additionally, if he were to photograph or record a video of you engaging in sexual acts, he would be guilty of child pornography.

  8. Ren says:

    If the guy is 21 and I'm 16, is it illegal for us to date without my parents permission, even though we aren't having sexual intercourse?

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