Even if you and your partner both agree to have sex, sex with a minor is illegal under California law unless the two people are married.
Statutory rape is sex that both people agree to, but is still illegal because
- one or both partners are under 18, and
- they are not married to each other.
Statutory rape is rarely prosecuted when the minors are of similar ages, but it can happen. Some counties have said they will not prosecute these cases. Other counties have not made that promise.
One question is how the police might find out. If you tell your health care provider that you are having sex, your health care provider must keep it private and cannot report it to the police unless he or she believes you are being abused (see the exception below). Other people, like teachers and family members, can report it to the police if they want to.
Exception: If you tell your health care provider or teacher that you are having sex, and the sex qualifies as child abuse because one person is much older than the other or someone is hurting you or forcing you to have sex, your health care provider, teacher and other “mandated reporters” must report it to the child welfare department or police in order to help you.
For more information about child abuse reporting, click here.