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Age of Consent


Age and experience create a power imbalance that makes it impossible for the younger person to freely give consent.

In Pennsylvania:

  • Children less than 13 years old cannot grant consent to sexual activity.
  • Teens between the ages of 13 and 15 cannot consent to sexual activity with anyone who is four or more years older than them.
  • People ages 16 and older can legally consent to sexual activity with anyone they choose, as long as the other person does not have authority over them as defined in Pennsylvania’s institutional sexual assault statute.

Statutory Sexual Assault

It is considered a felony statutory sexual assault when:

  • one person is 13 and the other is 17 or older
  • one person is 14 and the other is 18 or older
  • one person is 15 and the other is 19 or older

Institutional Sexual Assault

Pennsylvania also recognizes that power imbalances in certain relationships make consent impossible, regardless of age. It is considered felony institutional sexual assault when sexual activity occurs with an employee/agent of a:

  • School (teacher/coach)
  • State or county jail
  • Personal care/group home
  • Other licensed residential facility serving youth


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