Oklahoma's age of consent has caused the state to be in a bit of a bind. The Oklahoman reported the problem on March 22, 2009. Twice in one week, officers from two different states searched for two different 16 year old girls who went missing after meeting men online. Both girls had tickets paid in full by men in Oklahoma. One girl, from Hawaii was found in Los Angeles on her way to Oklahoma. The other, from New York, was actually found living in a house in Oklahoma with an older man.
Here is where the issue arises. The man who was living with the girl from New York was taken into custody but the Oklahoma City Police do not plan an investigations because the girl was 16- the age of consent. "In Oklahoma, if you are 16, you can have sex all you want,” said Gayland Gieger of the Oklahoma County district attorney’s sex crimes team. However, if these sex acts were to be recorded or photographed, this would be illegal. It would be considered child pornography. One cannot help but to question how the act of sex isn't illegal but a mere picture of it would be.
The story goes on though to discuss how federal officials are not sure on whether or not there is a violation of federal law here. An FBI officer was quoted in calling this a "pretty tricky" situation. Basically, the issue for the FBI was on the purpose of the meeting as well as the men buying the tickets for the younger 16 year old girls. Maybe the sex isn't illegal, but shouldn't the transporting of the girls (with paid tickets) across state lines be?
Issues like this only further beg the question of whether or not there should be a uniform state-by-state age of consent. Does Oklahoma have to worry about people from Texas, Tennessee, or Missouri, where the age of consent is higher, coming to their state to "enjoy" their lower threshold? Maybe. Despite this, the other issue that would have to be considered is if we want to throw teenagers in jail who both were under this age of consent but the sex was otherwise consensual. Granted, having sex at 13, 14, or maybe even 15 is a bad idea. But without a decent age differential, is it really criminal or just an issue that should be left to be dealt with in the living room rather than the court room?