Although the age of consent in New Jersey is 16, there are several statutes that make it criminal for an adult to have sexual relations with a minor between the ages of 16 and 18. Thus, even though a 17-year-old, for example, is able to give legal consent for relations, adults who have supervisory authority over the minor are guilty of an offense if they have sexual contact, even with the consent of the victim. These laws make it certain that sexual contact between teachers, counselors, or guardians and the minor in their charge are always sex offenses in New Jersey regardless of consent.
The sex offenses range from improper touching against a person's consent to violent rape. In between is a wide range of sex crimes. There are also what is called the inchoate crimes, such as attempted rape. An attempt involves acting to carry out the offense but failing for some reason in the final execution. Attempted rape, for example, would not require penetration but would require some form of force to compel sexual relations but stopping short of completion.
In a recent New Jersey case in Hackensack a 29-year-old female former softball coach was sentenced in a New Jersey Superior Court pursuant to a plea agreement. She was sentenced to probation for five years and must register as a sex offender. She agreed that she would be barred from teaching or coaching anywhere in the country. She pled guilty to having sexual relations with a 17-year-old student. Even though consensual, she was guilty of sex crimes because she was in a position of authority over the boy.
In a plea agreement that served her well under New Jersey law, she pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. Other sex offenses were dropped, including sexual assault and child endangerment charges. The incidents reportedly did not involve sexual intercourse but rather a mutual touching of each other's parts.
Source: northjersey.com, 5 years' probation for former Wood-Ridge H.S. softball coach who pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a student, Kibret Markos Staff, Jan. 3, 2014