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Children, Sexuality, and the Law$
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Sacha M. Coupet and Ellen Marrus

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780814723852

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814723852.001.0001

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Consent, Teenagers, and (un)Civil(ized) Consequences

Consent, Teenagers, and (un)Civil(ized) Consequences

(p.30) 2 Consent, Teenagers, and (un)Civil(ized) Consequences
Children, Sexuality, and the Law

Jennifer Ann Drobac

NYU Press

This chapter addresses the inconsistent legal treatment of adolescent consent, particularly in sexual harassment cases. The existing conflicts between criminal and civil law treatment of adolescent consent leave teenagers vulnerable, especially to sexual predators. Thus, court conflation of acquiescence, consent, and capacity highlights the need for legal reform and intervention. Until adolescent maturity and capacity can be accurately assessed, there needs to be a way to protect teenagers while affording them some measure of legal autonomy and maturing experiences. Indeed, an approach that credits legal assent by adolescents empowers teenagers to take responsibility. It also permits them to recover from poor choices by voiding their assent within a reasonable period.

Keywords:   adolescent consent, sexual harassment, sexual predators, adolescent maturity, legal assent

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