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I know two people who have been sending messages between

I know two people who...
I know two people who have been sending sexual messages between each other. The girl just turned 19 and the boy turns 18 in 5 months. They have not sent pictures but only messages. She is my friend and I don't want her to get in trouble since he is above the age of consent and they are only sending texts to spice up their love life. Since he is going to be 18 soon I don't see the big deal but is there any way that they would get caught? No one knows but me and I wouldn't say anything but I just wanna make sure she's safe from any unwanted spying from the government or phone companies.
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Answered in 15 minutes by:
9/30/2013
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102,944
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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Hello friend. My name is XXXXX XXXXX welcome to JustAnswer. Please note: (1) this is general information only, not legal advice, and, (2) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my replies.

On this website, I do not always get to give good news, and I am afraid that this is one of these times.

The age of consent in Oklahoma is sixteen. Because they are not three years apart and are at 19 and 17.5, this would not be considered statutory rape in Oklahoma.

However, the question is what about sending messages with sexual undertones - is this lawful?

The answer is no. Allow me to explain why. Oklahoma does not have any strong laws about this. But the federal law does. This is called "grooming" (enticing someone under lawful age to sexual activity via internet, media, etc).

In the United States, 18 U.S.C. § 2422(b) makes it a federal offense to use internet, mail, telephone, etc to "groom" someone who is under 18:

Whoever, using the mail or any facility or means of interstate or foreign commerce, or within the special maritime and territorial jurisdiction of the United States knowingly persuades, induces, entices, or coerces any individual who has not attained the age of 18 years, to engage in prostitution or any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense, or attempts to do so, shall be fined under this title and imprisoned not less than 10 years or for life..

In other words, while Oklahoma may strictly not have law against it, the federal government does, and its laws supersede state law. Thus, what is being done is strictly speaking unlawful, arguably.

Now, the chances of the 19 year old being charged are slim. And the government is not watching out "every move" (despite mass hysteria). However, what if there is a break up? Or what if the 17 year old's parents find the texts? Or what if a friend finds them and decides to play a prank that gets out of control?

For these reasons, it is best to curtail such activity until the 17.5 year old turns 18.

Please note: I aim to give you genuine information and not necessarily to tell you only what you wish to hear. Please, rate me on the quality of my information and do not punish me for my honesty. I understand that hearing things less than optimal is not easy, and I empathize.

Gentle Reminder: Please use the REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces and then submit, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith. (You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating.)
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PS - allow me to modify my answer, if you would.

The statute states: to entice "to engage in prostitution or any sexual activity for which any person can be charged with a criminal offense."

The 19 year old CANNOT be charged here under state law. While the federal age of consent is 18, in OK, it is 16, and unless on a military base, etc, OK law applies.

This makes it tentatively legal, but can still draw a lot of scrutiny due to the confusing overlap of law. Hence it is still best to avoid such activities until both are 18.

Gentle Reminder: Again, surely you prefer that I be honest in my answer – please remember that rating negatively due to receiving bad news still hurts the expert – it is simply the way that the system is set up. Please use REPLY button to keep chatting, or RATE my answer when we are finished. (You may always ask follow ups free after rating.)
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102,944
Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
Verified
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Ely
Ely
Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 102,944
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Experience: Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.

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DISCLAIMER: Answers from Experts on JustAnswer are not substitutes for the advice of an attorney. JustAnswer is a public forum and questions and responses are not private or confidential or protected by the attorney-client privilege. The Expert above is not your attorney, and the response above is not legal advice. You should not read this response to propose specific action or address specific circumstances, but only to give you a sense of general principles of law that might affect the situation you describe. Application of these general principles to particular circumstances must be done by a lawyer who has spoken with you in confidence, learned all relevant information, and explored various options. Before acting on these general principles, you should hire a lawyer licensed to practice law in the jurisdiction to which your question pertains.

The responses above are from individual Experts, not JustAnswer. The site and services are provided “as is”. To view the verified credential of an Expert, click on the “Verified” symbol in the Expert’s profile. This site is not for emergency questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals. Please carefully read the Terms of Service (last updated February 8, 2012).

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