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Chris T., JD
Chris T., JD, Lawyer
Category: Family Law
Satisfied Customers: 4779
Experience:  I have assisted many customers and clients with their family law questions and I'm experienced in family law litigation.
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My childs health teacher told students that a couple where

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My child's health teacher told students that a couple where one is 18 and the other not yet 16 is illegal and even them kissing is illegal. It is my understanding that sexual penetration or intercourse would be illegal until the younger party reached the age of consent (16) but only if the younger party or his/her family pressed charges. Is this teacher filling our kids heads with garbage or am I not understanding something?

texlawyer :

Good evening. I'll be assisting you with your question.

texlawyer :

Here is the South Dakota statute:

texlawyer :

As you can see, the age of consent is 16, so if an 18 year old and a 15 year old engage in some kind of sexual contact, that is a felony offense.

texlawyer :

Whether the family presses charges is not a factor. The DA does not need the consent of the "victim's" family to bring charges.

Customer:

Right. And it goes on to say that if there is less than a three-year age difference, it is a misdemeanor instead.

texlawyer :

Yes. When you are talking about a 18 year old and a 15 year old, it can come down to when their birthdays are. An 18 year old and 15 year old can be 3 years or more apart.

Customer:

Right. So if they are less than 36 months apart, it's fall into misdemeanor territory. But what I'm not seeing is what constitutes 'sexual contact.' I mean, kissing? Really?

Customer:

And do DA's actually charge people with this all willy-nilly? Or does there have to be a complaint?

texlawyer :

Here is the legal definition of "sexual contact." Kissing would not fall withing this definition, but touching the breasts, even if over the clothes, does. https://legis.state.sd.us/statutes/DisplayStatute.aspx?Type=Statute&Statute=22-22-7.1

texlawyer :

The teacher is stretching.

Customer:

Yeah. She's kind of a nut anyway. I'm wondering if she is putting her own special brand of crazy on her curriculum.

Customer:

;)

texlawyer :

Sounds like it. Frankly, I'm not surprised. Oftentimes, teachers are woefully uninformed about this stuff, so they err on the side of warning against almost everything. Kind of a CYA thing.

Customer:

I mean, not like I want my kid kissing a bunch of older kids, but I don't want them misinformed.

Customer:

Scare tactics are not a good way to educate.

texlawyer :

No, they are not. The truth is.

Customer:

Alright, well, now that I know way more about sex laws in my state than I ever really wanted to, I shall mosey on. Thanks!

texlawyer :

Glad to help!

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