Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
It is a big mistake, particularly in California, for anyone over age 18 to be involved in any sort of a dating relationship with anyone under age 18. In California, it is illegal for anyone under the age of 18 to have sex. Other acts leading up to sex can also be illegal. These things can be considered grooming, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and other things. There could also be legal trouble if you two were doing things that were legal for the 18 year old and not legal for the 16 year old, such as smoking, viewing pornography, staying out past curfew, not following the day time curfew for students, smoking medical marijuana. Socially, too, it is best for someone high school age to stick with other high schoolers and for those over high school age to stick with other adults. Put bluntly, it is considered inappropriate for an 18 year old to want to date a 16 year old. You are at risk of being coerced or socially isolated from your friends because you are with someone older. The 18 year old is at risk of being seen as a pedophile or getting into legal trouble. The 18 year old is also at risk of rumors or of possible false allegations. Those kind of rumors or allegations can destroy lives and future careers. The stakes are too high to take any chances. All in all, it is best for you two not to date. It is best if you wait till you are both over 18 and then revisit it and see if you both still have any interest. If you really care about the 18 year old, you will not want to put her at jeopardy legally and socially. And vice versa.
Answer Applies to: California