is it possible for someone underage to run off with someone older with out being "groomed" ?

Ok About a week ago I read where someone did a short interview with the girl that ran off with her teacher in Tennessee and her attitude was " yeah it wasn’t the best or legal thing to do but I wanted/decided to do it anyways" with out much remorse to get our of her home life

A day or two later a psychologist pretty much said "well shes going to have different reactions on it for the next few years since she was "groomed " in a different story

My question is this what if she wasn’t ? And she decided to do this and the teacher trying to help just went along for the ride?

Even if there was sexual contact… she goes into court and says " he didn’t make or encourage me do anything I didn’t want to do would they at least drop the kidnaping charges ?

This was discussed by some of the neighbors because another former neighbor had a wild child that ran off when she was 16 and came back married a few years later and the family acted like shed been on a holiday…

In theory, I can’t see why not. But it seems unlikely in practice. The idea that the behaviors are okay have to come from somewhere, and for all of them to be together suggests that they came from the adult.

Sure, with a post-pubescent, you don’t have to introduce them to sex or make it seem normal and acceptable in general, but doing so with your teacher? And having the idea to run off with them?

I would find it quite unlikely that this guy didn’t groom her in some way. Grooming involves making it seem like it’s all your idea, and explanations for what it’s okay, which she seemed to have at the ready. And groomers often target those with unhappy home lives, as they are more likely to be okay with everything. They may even justify it to themselves as helping them.

Coming up with excuses to show he hadn’t done anything wrong very much makes me suspect the girl was groomed. I’d expect those ideas not to even occur to her otherwise.

My opinion – possible but probably rare in actuality. Especially with it being a teacher. I know/knew fellow teachers who would have broken a law or three to help a student they felt really needed it but to run away with one and begin a sexual relationship? I would doubt it.

When I was 16 I thought I knew exactly what I wanted. Turns out, those ideas were all wrong. My Daddy was a Marine corps drill instructor, me and my sibs were raised in a semi - boot camp. It was hard and we griped and grumbled daily, I was probably my Daddy’s whipping boy ( girl ) so I took most of the abuse. He wasn’t legally abusive, but he was hard as nails. Later in life he explained why he was especially hard on me was because he expected more from me for some reason. Any way I would’ve run with whomever was leaving at the time, that is how ignorant I was. 16 year olds are rarely able to make good decisions like that, some are, maybe, I 've never met one.

The teacher is never free from blame, because they were the adult and they should know better. But teenagers absolutely do get interested in teachers without the teacher having done anything to encourage it. Sometimes even when the teacher is doing everything to discourage it. And running away is a plan a 6 yr old can come up with. It could easily be all the teen’s idea.

Does that change anything legally? I think non-custodial parents can be charged with kidnapping even if the child wants to go with them, so it may not be something children can consent to.

We had a pretty shitty family so I could see one of us going along with anyone who we thought could save us. I think predators are good at picking up on that.

After I left home, one of the neighbors moved into an apartment with one of the girls. I think she was 17ish and he was in his 50s. She came from a dysfunctional family and they had spent a lot of time together.

There are any number of stories of children and adolescents seeking safety with adult strangers. Or leading them. Alexander the Great had an early start, and Mattie in True Grit was supposed to be 13 or so, wasn’t she?

In real life, I think it is possible. Legally, I would think that a minor could not make that decision for herself. IANAL, so YMMV.

Gotta say yes, that can happen. Does not take the onus off the adult who is supposed to know better and would be ethically (and legally) expected to say “no, this is not right”, but as mentioned before hell yeah adolescents may of their own harebrained initiative want to take off with some older partner.

Older teens, certainly, in fact they may be the seducer. 17 or so.

The answer depends on the people and the details and not so much on the law or specific ages, or even the teacher/student relationship. It is certainly possible, although in this case it seems unlikely, that no grooming, manipulation or coercion took place.

In the state of Tennessee she hasn’t reached the age of consent so he can be charged for kidnapping and statutory rape regardless of the details. But in more than half the world the age of consent is 15 or even lower. It can’t be that US residents specifically reach maturity at 18 but Germans do at 14 and in Bahrain not until 21. The idea that at 18, or 15 or 21, on our birthdays at midnight we suddenly attain a new level of maturity and can no longer be misled or coerced is silly.

At 15 if I had been propositioned by a 40 something year old teacher I think I would have understood the implications of the situation pretty much as well as I would today. But a 29 year old grad student of a different upbringing, education and background might be manipulated and ‘groomed’ by a professor barely older than they are. Legally that teacher would be in the clear and my teacher would be doing time.

Let’s take this as an example and examine this:

Why isn’t it right? If someone who is technically a minor approaches someone older and wants to be with them, and skip town with them, why is this inherently wrong? I don’t think it’s inherently harmful. An adult who actually cares for the wellbeing of the teenager can help get it out of the teen’s system and be a positive influence. I’m not up to date on the actual psychological studies involved here, mind you.

Get what out of their system?

Whatever would make them want to do that in the first place.

It isn’t always inherently wrong, but it is inherently illegal because it has to be. Legally we have to have a bright line - before such-and-such an age, you are a minor, after, you are an adult. If someone wants to apply to become an emancipated minor, that is a possibility, but someone who doesn’t bother to try to do that is presumed to be someone who isn’t ready to be emancipated. The law has to be set up to deal with everybody - it can’t be on a case-by-case basis, because society doesn’t have the time.

The presumption is that the adult who actually cares for the wellbeing of the teenager is the custodial parent, not the guy who wants to fuck her.


But you don’t start a sexual relationship with someone and run off with them because you have an itch you want to scratch, and it’s not something you will “get out of your system”. You run off with someone because you are in love with them–however ill-founded or hopeless that love may be–and feeding that fire doesn’t burn it out so life can go back to normal. Either it turns into a long-term pair bond (very unlikely) or it crashes and burns terribly leaving both parties devastated–but the younger one is now isolated and has all their bridges burned, and may well have kids to take care of and very few paths forward for a secure future.

And I don’t think there’s any line between “grooming” and “letting nature take its course”. Love does what it does. The older partner in this situation has a positive duty to set the boundaries in such a way that it never becomes romantic. I’ve had plenty of students infatuated with me. All decent teachers have. It’s common. Some of those former students are good friends of mine even now, sometimes years later–because I set appropriate boundaries. There’s simply no question that that is better for the kids.

Something like that happened with my great-grandfather (born January 1883) and my great-grandmother (born December 1896). My grandmother, their eldest, was born in January 1915, which means great-grandma was all of 17 when she got pregnant and was only about two months over 18 when she gave birth. Grandma was never able to find a marriage certificate for them; she thought perhaps they got hitched by some JP on the way from western Massachusetts (where great-grandma was born and raised) to Cleveland (where Grandma was born).

Turns out great-granddad may already have been married! Found some evidence of a previous marriage – with child – in Connecticut that ended in divorce in 1913. I know for a fact great-grandma’s childhood was not an easy one (alcoholic father, relatives not particularly keen on raising her or her brothers) so it may have been a case of two people with messed-up lives hitting it off and hitting the road.

They had four more children – all boys – before great-granddad died in 1927, and Grandma said that even though her father was fairly socially conservative, he wasn’t a bad father or a terrible husband. By all accounts they seemed to be very happy together.

So yes, highly anecdotal and beyond impossible to prove one way or the other a century after the fact, but I think it can happen.

I had a friend in high school who had a home life that was beyond shitty. It was about as bad as it could be without sexual abuse, or really serious physical abuse. Her parents used to smack her across the face from time to time for things like “backtalk,” and they were alcoholics who kept the house in a filthy state. Looking back, I’m not sure her father didn’t have some kind of mental illness, like schizotypal personality disorder, and her mother wasn’t mildly retarded. Seriously. She was on her own for meals a lot. She used to stay over at my house pretty frequently.

When she was a sophomore in high school, she hatched a plan to find someone to marry her (if she was 16 and pregnant in Indiana, she didn’t need parental consent), and get her out of the house.

So she started cruising places where grad students hung out, looking for someone who was about to become a lawyer or a professor, and flirted shamelessly.

She was tall and busty, and could pass for 18, and her hanging around a college campus made people assume.

I was terrified she was going to get AIDS, because it was the early 1980s.

Most men would eventually find out her real age and drop her-- some before they’d slept with her.

So yeah, the younger person can be the pursuer, but if any of those guys, who were all at least 24, and some were older, had continued the relationship after finding out her age, IMO, that would have been pretty skeevy.

There’s more than one way to take advantage of naivete and ignorance.

In many states they can even get married.

IMHO Teens are boundry-testing machines. One of the strongest motivations for teens is to “be grown-up”. A troubled family situation isn’t even necessary. Some teens are just MOTIVATED to go out on their own.

I suspect in some situations, the teen could be targeting and grooming an adult. As an adult, I can say with complete confidence that not all adults are stalwart upstanding rocks of probity. Some tiny number are insecure and could be vulnerable to attention from an underage person. I have been on the receiving end of underage attention myself, but I’m not susceptible. Expecting every adult to “know when to say no” in 100% of the cases is losing bet.

Caveat - I am in no way excusing anyone’s behavior in these situations. Nor am I discounting the preponderance of real underage victims. In no way am I suggesting that this specific case resembles my description above.

I’m simply offering another perspective on life’s rich pageant.