Parents in Missouri no doubt maintain a good deal of concern about their teens as they first begin to interact with their peers in an intimate matter. Much of the advice and guidance parents give during this time is likely based on their own unique moral standards. Regardless of what a person’s moral stance may be, however, the law also mandates certain standards when it comes to teenage sexuality, as well.
While talking to teens about sexual issues may be difficult for parents, it is important that teens understand what state law dictates when it comes to sexual activity amongst minors (even consensual activity) in order to avoid facing any criminal scrutiny.
The most important thing for teens engaging in sexual activity to understand that the law does not permit such action under a certain age. Indeed, according to the Missouri Revisor of Statutes, sexual intercourse with a person under 14 years of age is a felony offense that can net one a five-year prison term. If one sexual partner (again, even a consensual partner) is under 12 years of age, the mandatory minimum prison term extends to 10 years.
Most may agree that any sexual activity should not occur with anyone at or near the aforementioned ages. Yet what about as youth progress into the later teenage years (specifically the high school years)? Per the Missouri Department of Health, teens between the ages of 14 and 16 cannot consent to sexual activity with anyone four years older than them (and they cannot consent to such activity with anyone over the age of 21). However, once a teen turns 17, the law does allow them to engage in consensual sexual activity with anyone over the age of 14.
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