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‘Our daughter broke one of our major home rules. She spent the night with a friend and we told her to be home the next morning by 10:30 am. Our daughter didn’t get home until after 9 pm that next day. She didn’t call us and we were unable to contact her or the girlfriend she had stayed with the previous night. All we ask is that she check in with us and let us know when her plans change. I was worried sick and when I told her how upset and worried we had been, she was unaffected.
She told us that she was 17 and we no longer controlled anything in her life. She cursed and yelled at us. I subsequently had her phone and internet service turned off and she was livid! We haven’t had any real problems with her before this occasion. Here’s where the problem begins.
Our daughter called a 19 year old young man and told him she needed to leave our house and she needed a place to stay where we could not find her. She left through her window and he was outside to pick her up. We found a note she left in her room and we had no idea where to even to start looking for her so late that night. I did find the young man’s name on her MySpace site and sent him a message. I wrote him stating that we were worried and that we wanted our daughter home safe. I told him that we could not work out this problem without communication. He sent me a message later, about 2 am…” She’s OK, and asleep on the sofa.” Is it Illegal, in Texas, for a 19 year old man to help and give refuge to my 17 year old daughter who has runaway? I do not want to get this young man into trouble, but I would like to let him know if he is putting himself in jeopardy of criminal charges. If he does continue to help her we will do what is necessary for the well-being of our daughter. My daughter is extremely bright, an IQ over 175, and it is still our responsibility to guide her, protect her and help her reach her goals. We love her more than life itself and only want the best for her. Thank you for your help.’
Question: In Texas, it is a misdemeanor offense to harbor a runaway child age 17 and under. Texas law is not consistent on the treatment of 17 year-olds as runaways, where certain actions are penalized (like excessive absences from school/truancy) and others are not (age of consent for sexual intercourse is 16).