While the general age of consent is now set between 16 and 18 in all U. states, the age of consent has widely varied across the country in the past.
The age of consent in other states ranges from ages 14 to 18.
Some states base the penalty for violations on the age of the offender, with older offenders receiving harsher penalties.
While the statutory age of consent in Washington State is sixteen years of age, the practical age of consent is eighteen years of age.
The reason for this difference is Washington's criminal law regarding “Communication with a Minor for Immoral Purposes”.
For instance, why should it be illegal to communicate with a seventeen year old about sex, when it is entirely legal to actually engage in sex with that same seventeen-year-old?