last America is realizing how Taliban-esque our sex offender laws can be. First came the story of Elkhart, Indianaâ€™s Zach Anderson, which hit the front page of theÂ New York TimesÂ on Sunday (you read itÂ here first): Zach, 19, had sex with a girl who told him she was 17 butÂ turned out to be 14, which a judge decided makes Zach a sex offender for life. Watching a TV segment about his case, another family in Elkhart couldnâ€™t believe their eyes.
Their son was living the exact same story.
As Fox28 reports, Darian Yoder, also a 19 year old, also met a girl on the same app Zach used, “Hot or Not.” The girl said she was 17 but turned out to be 13 â€“ a fact Darian learned months after the encounter, when he was arrested for sexual misconduct.
Judge Dennis Wiley — the same judge who sneered at Zachâ€™s trial, “That seems to be part of our culture now: meet, hook up, have sex, sayonara.Â Totally inappropriate behaviorâ€ — presided over Darianâ€™s case and sentenced him to the same draconian fate: He is now officially a sex offender, for life. As such, he cannot be around anyone under age 18. This includes his younger brother and sister, whom he has not seen since he was sentenced.
His devastated family has been torn apart, as if Darian is an insatiable child molester. Even though we all can see what he was â€“ and is: a teen who had sex with a willing partner he thought was his age.
But there is indeed someone insatiable in this story. Judge Wiley. He has a taste for young men. He can’t wait to ruin their lives.
That is the power we give judges and prosecutors with our over-encompassing definition of what constitutes a sex offender. There are hundreds of thousands of people on the Sex Offender Registry who bear no resemblance to the predators we fear â€“ or that the registry was created to track. Of the 800,000 registered sex offenders, roughly one quarter got on AS minors, because young people have sex with other young people.
As for the rest,Â this Economist article quotes a study by theÂ Â Georgia Sex Offender Registration Review BoardÂ that determined of the 17,000 people on that state’s registry, about 30% were potentially threatening, but only 100 could be classified as “predators.”
That’s 100 out of 17,000.
The Sex Offender list is a dungeon we can throw people in on the slightest pretext. The Taliban would be proud. Politicians and grandstanders exhort us to fear those on the registry. But itâ€™s a lot scarier to think about how easily our sons could end up on it themselves. Â Â
Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports
This is so far beyond terrifying. How do we email this judge?
Michigan has elected judges. This man has to be removed from office.
Well, *I* didn’t vote for him.
I like the British system better. If it is done with consent and the Younger person looks(to a reasonable person) to be over the age of consent, then it is a legitimate defense. Rarely is consenting sex prosecuted.
We live in increasingly puritanical times. There is real danger in crimilizing growing up. As a parent of a 14 year old male, this terrifies me. But not nearly as much as the new sex crime laws that are being proposed by legal scholars that can make even holding a person’s hand an attack. What the hell will I tell my son when he starts dating, and especially when he goes off to college? I want him to trust and respect women, not be terrified that any encounter with them might ruin his life forever. That I believe is the other unintended consequence of this hysteria.
“not nearly as much as the new sex crime laws that are being proposed by legal scholars that can make even holding a personâ€™s hand an attack.”
Nobody has actually suggested this.
“What the hell will I tell my son when he starts dating, and especially when he goes off to college? I want him to trust and respect women”
Teach him to respect women, and he should be fine.
So what I’d like to know is why aren’t we focusing on the real problem here – young girls seeking sex with adults?
What I will be telling my children is don’t tell lies, and don’t sleep around. I really wish I could know what happens to young teenage girls who lie about their age in order to have sex with any idiot who believes them.
An older guy with a younger girl was once a common theme in books, music and movies at least since Shakespeare.
Many 60’s songs wouldn’t get played today due to the subject matter and that they found clever ways to avoid profanity.
Imagine dubbing new dialog onto an old movie so the story line has today’s laws in mind.
It could either be a comedy or a tragedy.
But the example that comes to mind of redoing a movie is “What’s Up Tiger Lily?” by Woody Allen which has more than its share of baggage.
“I really wish I could know what happens to young teenage girls who lie about their age in order to have sex with any idiot who believes them.”
They have sex with easily-deceived people.
This judge is a lovely person altogether:
I think @Hancock means what happens to them that they decide to troll for sex using an app. It’s SKL’s point too I think.
There is probably a laundry list of reasons that people crave/seek attention. Being able to click on their phones, download an app, and find people “seeking” makes it way to easy to act on it.
I keep saying, just 1 generation ago, the only way to communicate with someone was face to face or via the telephone on the wall. It took a nerve (unless it was your girl/boyfriend) to pick up the phone and call someone you “liked”. Mom/Dad or big brother/sister could pick up first or pick up at any time during the call. You didn’t dare call after a reasonable hour for obvious reasons.
Now there are 100s of ways to contact someone and teens need the self respect/discipline to NOT use them. In HS, you only “flirted” with people in person at school or social functions. Now there are dozens of ways to send out flirtation and see who is interested.
It really sad to realize that parents (apparently) don’t just have to worry about teen sex with girlfriends or classmates, but now complete strangers. Even the “loose” girls in our HS didn’t have sex with strangers.
” Even the â€œlooseâ€ girls in our HS didnâ€™t have sex with strangers.”
… that you know of. It took the form of going to a party, meeting someone there, and having sex. Not particularly common, but not unheard-of, either. People who want to have sex are going to find a way to have sex.
@SKL, amen. You can lock up every 19 and 20 year old guy you can find, but if your teenager daughter is dead set on finding an older guy to sleep with, she will.
I don’t like “slut shaming.” However, we seem to be veering quickly to the other extreme, where women, especially teen girls, are not expected to take any responsibility for the sexual choices they make. Why *not* find some older guy to sleep with you, given that, if anybody finds out, you’ll be the innocent victim?
I do not think people should have unmonitored access to the internet or to social media before they are 15 or 16. Because many of the cases involving teens sexting nude pics, finding guys to hook up with on the internet, etc., seem to involve 13 and 14 year olds. I don’t find this very surprising. We’re dealing with people who are newly sexual but still quite immature. They are going to make dumb choices. They always have. The internet just allows them to make more significant dumb choices, and all from the privacy of their own home.
I don’t personally think it’s odd that, if a 13 or 14 year old wanted to have sex, they’d be interested in a guy who was 19. I mean, we’re using “adult” as if there’s no difference between being 19 and being 90, but obviously there is massive differences in the large group of people called “adults,” who range from 18 to 116. Teen girls being interested in young adult guys is not only nothing new, it was the norm for most of history. So I don’t think we need to look for any pathology causing the interest. The issue is that, if we do not want them acting on it, we shouldn’t be giving them unlimited access to them via unmonitored access to internet-enabled devices.
@E, people don’t date anymore. They just hook up. So it’s not surprising that young teens would be emulating the behaviors they see older teens and young adults engaging in.
I don’t equate meeting someone at a HS party to finding a complete stranger on a phone app. There are at least some connections between the 2 people because they ended up at the same party. Again, we’re talking about High School (in regard to the ages of the 2 girls in the recent stories) and young HS girls at that.
The older person at the party would also have some options in learning about this young girl (like her age) that an anonymous app does not afford.
“I donâ€™t equate meeting someone at a HS party to finding a complete stranger on a phone app. There are at least some connections between the 2 people because they ended up at the same party. Again, weâ€™re talking about High School (in regard to the ages of the 2 girls in the recent stories) and young HS girls at that.
The older person at the party would also have some options in learning about this young girl (like her age) that an anonymous app does not afford.”
I have no idea what these generalizations are based on. My recollections do not seem to match your statements.
@James, you wrote:
” It took the form of going to a party, meeting someone there, and having sex. Not particularly common, but not unheard-of, either.”
I was talking about the fact that these methods of meeting/hooking up with total strangers via electronic means unbeknownst to our parents did not exist. And I commented that even the “loose” girls didn’t have sex with strangers.
Your response led me to believe that you equated your example to using an app to find people to have sex with.
My response was simply that meeting someone at a HS party is not the same as meeting them anonymously via an app. There are least some common friends at a HS party.
I realize that promiscuous people can find promiscuous partners w/o the internet. I’m just saying that when you were 13 a generation ago, it was certainly a little more difficult to end up with a complete and total stranger who was also looking for a sex partner. And you did not have visibility into such activities if you were not participating in them.
@James — in re-reading, you are saying your recollections of HS don’t match mine?
Can you elaborate? When I was 13 and a freshman in HS, I was not attending parties without friends (and that actually applies to any party I ever attend I guess). If I meet someone at that party, it’s likely that I know someone they know. I don’t consider that a complete stranger. There is a strong likely hood that there are a number of people there that know I’m a freshman and not 17.
At the risk of spamming…
Put it this way, if a 19 yo attended a party that included 13 yo HS freshman, he would probably observe the range of ages there. He would probably know someone who knew someone. He might know a friend’s younger sibling, etc.
Then again, would a 19 yo even attend or stay at a party that was attended by 13 year olds?
“Your response led me to believe that you equated your example to using an app to find people to have sex with.”
“My response was simply that meeting someone at a HS party is not the same as meeting them anonymously via an app.”
How is it different (beyond that you had to actually get up, find a party, and go there, and now you can sit in your own bedroom and “meet” people.)
“There are least some common friends at a HS party.”
You’re making an assumption. I’m suggesting that your party-going experiences are substantially different than mine. The whole point of going was to meet new people. The notion of having sex with them, while not usually the end-result, was not unknown.
There’s nothing new about young teen girls seeking sex with adults, but it is a problem IMO.
When I was in school, they did it by hanging around bars, truck stops, etc. Or just walking down the street with shorty-shorts and whistling at guys in pickup trucks. Whatever.
What is happening to these girls to make them think so little of themselves? Is there anything we can do about that? IMO that’s where most of the focus needs to be in cases like this. Not “slut shaming,” but helping these girls develop some healthy self-esteem. Throwing a young man in jail for not carding his date isn’t going to fix anything.
“Then again, would a 19 yo even attend or stay at a party that was attended by 13 year olds?”
If it’s ALL 13-year-olds, and his goal is to find someone to sleep with, then it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion… it’s because he’s a pedophile. If there’s one or two 13-year-olds at a party with 75 people in it, not so much, no.
I don’t sleep with people I’ve just met; not wired that way. But I knew people who did. LONG before there were phone apps to help.
What threat to society do these young men pose? Haven’t they served time? Couldn’t an assessment be made of whether they might “reoffend”?
The Registry served a useful purpose as it was initially passed as the Federal Jacob Wetterling Act of 1994. But the Justice Department gave the States money to set up their own versions, and has continued to do so. The 1995 state laws were more punishing and shaming than the federal law intended and the 2006 version was even more punitive. The original did not intend to publicize addresses and personal information of those who did not pose a threat to society.
Since these are state laws, even though are unhinged from facts, statistics, research and reality, they are subject to the will of the citizens in each state. They can be reviewed, modified, repealed, revised, at the will of the people. We do not have to accept the mistakes of our legislative bodies. No matter how misguided and downright mean-spirited they happen to be.
These laws have seemingly backfired– becoming a danger to our young people and teens.
We should repeal sex offender laws. Other nations do perfectly well without them. So can we.
I think we’re forgetting how much individuals vary. At 13, some of my classmates were still reading Babysitter’s Club books and mooning over horses. I was reading Virginia Woolf and Sassy and working 2-3 nights a week as a babysitter myself. And, a few classmates–not many, but a few–were already addicted to cigarettes, struggling with drinking problems, having sex, and hanging out with much older classmates.
So, would a 19 year old want to hang out at a party full of 13 year olds? Most likely not. But would a 19 year old notice if they were at a party and some of the people there were 13? Probably not, because the 13 year olds who would show up at a party where there were older teens are probably going to blend in pretty well. You aren’t going to get the horse-loving, Babysitters-Club-reading 13yos showing up, but the ones who are sneaking cigarettes and booze into the middle school bathroom.
Personally, I have to say that I really don’t see why a 13 year old having sex with a 19 year old is fundamentally worse than a 13 year old having sex with a 16 year old or a 14 year old or another 13 year old (assuming that 19yo is not forcing her, coercing her, or in a position of authority over her–none of which are the case in most cases). I mean, if we think a 13 year old cannot consent to sex because she cannot understand the repercussions, it’s not like those repercussions disappear if she’s sleeping with a guy her own age. A guy her own age can get her just as pregnant, just as infected with an STD, and leave her with just as broken a heart (or damaged a reputation). Sure, when we start talking about guys older enough that they could legitimately like be her father, a lot of “ick” sets in. But, 19? I just don’t see it. He’s like older-brother age, not “daddy issues” age. And, given that just yesterday we were talking about how today’s college students are still behaving like helpless children, I’m just not buying that there’s such a significant difference in maturity between EVERY teen girl and EVERY young adult guy that somehow sex between two teens is just fundamentally and always better than sex between a teen and a young adult. My personal opinion is that 13 and 14 year olds should not be having sex with anybody, but for those who are going to do it anyway, I really don’t see why it’s okay for it to be with somebody 15 or 16 but a massive episode of felony sexual assault if the guy is 18 or 19.
I also think there’s probably a significant difference between a 14 year old hanging out at a truck stop looking for sex–where she’ll likely meet guys in their 40s or 50s, which does seem to scream of underlying issues or attention-seeking–and a 14 year old girl hanging out at a party with seniors or college students, which seems less indicative of some serious problems. That doesn’t mean I think it’s a good thing–as said, I don’t think 14 year olds should be having sex with anybody–but that’s not because I think they are unable to consent, but rather because I think sex should be reserved for relationships with a level of commitment that very, very, very few if any 14 year olds would be in.
As long as these little tramps and sluts get to walk away free and clear this will continue to happen.
As much as I hate the idea of more laws, we need one. These types of girls get to destroy a man’s life and walk away. They need to be held responsible, not the man.
Good day, all. I did some snooping around and came up with the following contact information for some of the major players in the Darien Yoder case, should you like to engage. This information is all from official court, county, and senate web sites, and confirmed with phone calls.
Judge Dennis M. Wiley:
I couldn’t locate a direct email address, and his office staff gave me the run-around trying to find it. However I did speak with his secretary, “Pat”, and she is apparently the gate keeper for the judge’s email. She can be reached at:
Mailing address is:
Berrien County Courthouse
Attn: Honorable Denis M. Wiley
South County Building
1205 N. Front Street
Niles, MI 49120
269-684-5274 x 6272 will get you his admin staff.
Prosecutor, Mr. Jerry Vigansky
Same mailing address and phone number as above. Didn’t get his extension, but you can get him through the voice-activated directory. He picked up his own phone, by the way, so be ready.
Michigan State Senator Rick Jones
Mailing address is:
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536
517-373-3447 This number rings directly to his office staff.
I’m working on confirming contact info for the defense attorney’s firm. I’ll post it when I have it.
A now-six-year-old article on what’s wrong with the SO by Lenore. Highly recommended
for those who’ve joined the site since then.
@James — I think we’re saying the same thing essentially (although I’m puzzled about how you ended up at parties without knowing SOMEONE else at the party. Yes, you meet new people at a party, but there is a commonality among the attendees are else you wouldn’t even know the party existed. Again we’re talking about people that are freshman in HS).
My whole point is that technology has made so many things easy. I can email my boss w/o even getting up out of bed if I’m sick. I can order pizza w/o even getting up out of my chair while I’m watching sports on TV. I can pay my bills in about 1 minute as opposed to writing 10 checks and putting them in envelopes. I can blow hours binge watching a tv show if I choose.
Technology has also altered the adolescent experience. You peer into the world of the kids in that “other clique” just by looking at their FB or twitter or instagram pics. You can see that kids are doing drugs and seem to be normal/healthy which might normalize a behavior that you’d never be exposed to otherwise. You can send private messages to people you might never have the nerve to speak to in person or call their house phone. And you can do this while you watch TV, do homework, go to the bathroom, or when your parents think you’re sleeping.
I just think that if it’s easier for me to do a set of things due to technology, it’s also easier to go down some paths for other reasons too.
I’m not blaming technology for promiscuous behavior, but I’m saying that it’s an entire element that makes it very easy to go to other outlets to look for validation (and find it). It’s a lot easier to send a “harmless” message to someone on a “hot or not” anonymous app then it is to stand at a truck stop.
And the biggest thing (to me) that’s different is that it never shuts off. I could have had a crappy day in HS and feel bad about something, but I came home, had dinner with my family, did some homework, might chat with a friend on the phone or watch tv and go to bed. There is NO compartmentalization for kids today. Their social life is never off. That’s a different emotional experience imo.
The sex offender laws are an extension of Sharia law. Does the judge have any connections with ISIS?
“Iâ€™m puzzled about how you ended up at parties without knowing SOMEONE else at the party.”
It wasn’t unusual to know maybe 2 or 3 of the dozens of attendees, and not to see the person I went with for essentially the entire night.
“Technology has also altered the adolescent experience.”
It has, but many essential truths remain, regardless.
” Itâ€™s a lot easier to send a â€œharmlessâ€ message to someone on a â€œhot or notâ€ anonymous app then it is to stand at a truck stop.”
Are you suggesting these are equivalents?
@E, at the same time, though, every survey and study has found that teens are having sex less often and at older ages than in the past. Not by much, mind you, but the age of first sexual intercourse is higher than it was 20 and 30 years ago, teen pregnancies are at record lows, and more teens are not having sex than were when we were teens.
So I don’t think these technological changes are encouraging teens who would otherwise not be having sex to go out and have sex. Instead, it’s just a new type of risk-taking behavior for teens already prone to engage in risk-taking behavior. I knew 13 and 14 year olds who snuck out of their house to go to raves, who lied to guys at the mall about being 17 or 18, and who otherwise managed to find lots of ways to find older guys they barely knew to hook up with, so I don’t think things like the Hot or Not app are really uniquely or especially risky.
@James — no I wasn’t. I’m just voicing my opinion about the “ease of use” in regard to what social apps offer today, that were simply not available.
If we’re talking about 13/14 yo kids that for whatever reason, are seeking validation in the form of sexual acts or sexual conversation, it would be a lot easier to do that today than a generation ago.
Am I suggesting that teens didn’t have some of the same emotions a generation ago? Nope. Just saying that if you’re a teen with a smart phone, it’s far easier to seek out attention using it than what was available to use 30 years ago.
Yes, you could hook up at a party in the 80s (and any other decade). I was simply addressing what’s different.
@anon mom, you make good points describing the pre-social media “fast girls”.
I sometimes wonder how I would have engaged on social media when I was a teen if it had been there. I suppose I might have been more willing to send a text directly to a boy than I was to call their house phone, but that doesn’t meant I’d be using a hot or not app for sex partners, lol.
I guess the most obvious difference with this whole topic is the one Lenore is wanting to bring focus to…the lack of the registry and its tentacles a generation ago.
“If weâ€™re talking about 13/14 yo kids that for whatever reason, are seeking validation in the form of sexual acts or sexual conversation, it would be a lot easier to do that today than a generation ago.”
I don’t think that’s the case. There have always been young girls who’d prefer to be with older guys, and this will remain true in the future, regardless of technological advance.
Go read the “Little House on the Prairie” books. How old was Laura when she met Mr. Wilder? How old was he?
Hate to burst the judge’s and other people’s bubble, but the technology was there years ago, long before the internet and cellphones.
It was the common house phone. Party lines, hook up lines, chat lines and so on and so on. They have been around for decades, and I have still seen them advertised during late nite movies.
Teen girls having been seeking out the company of older boys/men since the beginning of time. It is just recently that men have been sent to prison for the girl’s actions. Sounds fair to me.
“It is just recently that men have been sent to prison for the girlâ€™s actions.”
You’re of the opinion that statutory rape laws are a recent invention?
Same town, same app, same judge, was it the same girl? The time frame seems to match up correctly.
P.S. I’m sensing a law suit against Hot or Not.
Although this is horrible I can also see good in this story. The New York Times and Fox 28 showed these stories and highlight the injustice of the sex offender laws. This is proof that things are changing.
5 years ago if they had these stories they would have tailored them to highlight how these sex fiends use the internet to track down innocent under-age children and YOUR DAUGHTER COULD BE NEXT!
The attitude is changing. I often think of the news media as a prostitute that jumps into bed with whatever will increase their ratings. However they are a GREAT barometer. They know that more and more people are becoming outraged at this injustice. Soon politicians will realize they can get votes by standing up to sex offender laws whereas 5 years ago this would have been political suicide.
When I want your input, I will direct you to speak.
But to answer you question, in comparison to how long males and females have been having sex, yes stat rape laws are very recent inventions.
“P.S. Iâ€™m sensing a law suit against Hot or Not.”
Hard to see such a suit being worth the time, effort, or money.
From their terms of service:
“You warrant that you have the right, authority and capacity to enter into and be bound by the Terms and that by using Hot or Not you will not be violating any law or regulation of the country in which you are resident. You are solely responsible for your compliance with all applicable local laws and regulations.”
“When I want your input, I will direct you to speak.”
When I care what you want, pigs will fly, the ground will tremble and the sky will burst asunder.
@Donald, “I often think of the news media as a prostitute that jumps into bed with whatever will increase their ratings.”
I think you mean “as a sex trafficking victim who is forced by a pimp who completely controls and manipulates her to do things she is not in any way responsible for.” 😉
There is a lot of ‘slut shaming’ on here. Has anyone even considered the pressure of trying to fit into the crowd? This sound stupid now but in the teen years that can seem almost as important as food or water! TV shows are BS. Songs on the radio are BS. Movies are BS. However the message is clear, if you’re still a virgin at 15 years old then you’re a freak. Teens are very susceptible to believing into this BS (and to help spread this ‘truth’ and to ridicule and mock 15 year old virgins)
However it’s not clear that this concept is BS
Obviously she didn’t consider the risk of ruining a 19 yr old boys life. However that’s up to par. Many teens are unable to perceive things like that.
“the message is clear, if youâ€™re still a virgin at 15 years old then youâ€™re a freak. Teens are very susceptible to believing into this BS”
Median age for first sexual encounter for American women is 16. Half of 16-year-olds have, and half of 16-year-olds haven’t. Funny thing is, this has been largely unchanged for well-over 100 years. People are ready when they’re ready. Some people have sex before they’re ready, and some delay it long after. None of these seems likely to change any time soon.
I went to HS in a college town. My HS sits in the middle of frat/sorority row with 2 frat houses in its front yard. The main dorms are just a couple blocks down the road. Downtown is crawling with college guys any night of the week for 9 months of the year and at least one of the local bars has always let anyone in without carding unless they wanted to drink. A willing teenage girl could have a college guy at any time. And many of them did, even back in my day. Pop into a frat party. Go downtown and find a group to hang out with. Bagging a college guy was definitely the Saturday night goal for many of my classmates.
Also, the middle class bias shows greatly in this topic. My clients and their cohorts have always hooked up randomly at young ages. Before it was heading down to some party in the ‘hood. Now it may be an app.
“there is a commonality among the attendees are else you wouldnâ€™t even know the party existed”
Each person knows at least one other person there, but that doesn’t mean that any one person knows all or many of the people there. I don’t see how hooking up with a friend of a friend of a friend of a friend at a party is inherently different than hooking up with someone online. Yes, eventually we may be able to pinpoint through 9 degrees of separation some common connection, but it is still a total stranger. Heck, since 13 year olds don’t usually have a great travel range to hook up, my guess is that you could come up with someone known to both of you on the internet too. It is not uncommon for me to discover through posts on facebook that two people from extremely different parts of my life know each other.
@Donald: “There is a lot of â€˜slut shamingâ€™ on here. Has anyone even considered the pressure of trying to fit into the crowd? This sound stupid now but in the teen years that can seem almost as important as food or water!”
And yet, only 15% of teens have sex by 15. At 13, the percentage of teens having sex is quite small. It does happen. But to imagine that it happens because the peer pressure is just so great that these poor helpless girls have no choice is both denying them sexual agency (they are making choices, even if they are choices we do not like) and denying their many peers who are not having sex credit for making different choices.
We don’t need to slut shame. But, we do need to hold teen girls at least somewhat responsible for the sexual choices they make. Maybe even, absent force or coercion, just as responsible as the guy (imagine that).
I just saw a story in the news about a 12 year old being charged as an adult with first degree murder for his participation in a shooting that also involved a 16 and 19 year old. Apparently the prosecutor didn’t believe that this child was simply an innocent victim unable to know what he was doing who was being coerced and pushed around by older people–one of whom as a legal adult–who took him across state lines to commit a crime. So, how it works, apparently, is that a 12 year old boy commits a murder with a 19 year old and the 12 year old is charged with first degree murder (and the 19 year old has NO charges related to the 12 year old’s involvement in the crime or in “kidnapping” the minor and taking him across state lines without parental permission), but a 13 or 14 or 15 year old girl actively, eagerly seeks out sex with a 19 year old guy (even lying to him about her age to do so), and she is a completely innocent victim who couldn’t possibly consent to sexual activity and he is a sexual predator. It’s almost like there’s a double standard…
there this idea that you can stop teens from doing dumb things like sex with any tom, dick or harry they can get with to dumb things with. the idea has around forever but guess what! teens are dumb a lot of the time.
I am sure some of us made our parents wonder what was next on the huge list of dumb stunts teens pull.
sex drugs going someplace not allowed these are just a few dumb things teens do. find someone who hasn’t made a dumb move of any kind at least once and I say call the presses
The increase in narcissism is one of the things this blog is about. We make it illegal for kids to develop skills that would make them confident adults. Peer pressure isn’t a new thing. However as these young adults become more and more frail emotionally then they become more and more susceptible into believing that ‘If you’re a 15 year old virgin then something is wrong with you’.
This BS self perpetuates. That’s because virgin children that are afraid of the ‘virgin’ label ridicule virgins as a way to keep the spotlight off of them. The virgin benchmark use to be 19 years old before you were considered a freak. This creeped down to 18, 17, 16…… I don’t know if the benchmark is now 15 but it is clearly creeping down and kids are buying into the BS more and more as they become less and less emotionally stable.
“which hit the front page of the New York Times on Sunday (you read it here first): ”
You bet your sweet bippy we did. Well done Lenore!
Your remark about the over-encompassing definition and the grandstanding are spot on.
Her is a youtube video from college humor about Hot or Not
@Brooks July 8, 2015 at 1:51 pm # “I want him to trust and respect women, not be terrified that any encounter with them might ruin his life forever. That I believe is the other unintended consequence of this hysteria.”
This is a great point – and so true. Overly harsh laws will cultivate fear and mistrust, not respect.
“meet, hook up, have sex, sayonara. Totally inappropriate behavior”
This kind of says it all about this judge. He is using his position of authority to punish people for (perceived) promiscuity, not for sexual misconduct. The means by which they met, or whether they had a one-night stand or started a committed relationship, are completely irrelevant to this case, yet he’s clearly making it the foundation.
“The virgin benchmark use to be 19 years old before you were considered a freak. This creeped down to 18, 17, 16â€¦â€¦ I donâ€™t know if the benchmark is now 15”
Where are you getting this from?
I remember peer pressure and lots of teen girls pretending they had more experience than they did (and then reversing that a year later).
None of it made me want to go have sex, especially not with a stranger of any age.
But I knew girls who did. Everyone knew girls who did. Nobody aspired to be them.
Peer pressure is not the problem here.
I don’t advocate shaming the girls, nor shaming the young men. However, these crimes never would have happened if they weren’t initiated by the girls. If we really care about stopping this from happening, it seems logical to start there.
On a separate topic, just today I saw in our local news that some guy was arrested for trying to have sex with a person he thought was a 14yo girl. They said a cop (pretending to be said girl) had been chatting with him online for 6 months before he was arrested. 6 months? We are paying cops to spend 6 months playing around online in order to entrap people who may or may not have sought sex with a minor absent such persistent police efforts?
@ SKL You wrote: “What is happening to these girls to make them think so little of themselves? Is there anything we can do about that?”
Girls desiring sex isn’t “Thinking little of themselves.” Wanting an orgasm is a worthy pursuit, regardless of the person’s age. If we don’t want them having sex with older males, then we should seriously consider actually trying to create a culture that, for a change, caters to female sexuality. People do reckless things when they’re a member of a completely marginalized group. If young women don’t have anyone offering them a positive, healthy sexual experience, they may go scrounging for what little crumbs they CAN get ahold of, and that’s how they wind up looking for older men, and really, men at all. What we really need are brothels with sex workers who will give sexual favors with no reciprocation to these young women so they can experience being in the men’s shoes for once – having someone cater to their sexual impulse instead of just catering to the men’s sexual interests.
So how is the judge punishing the girls who lie? What sort of registry are they being put on for ruining the lives of these young men? While there are many, many things wrong in this story, this is one that bothers me. Why are these boys the only ones being held a countable for knowing a girl’s age before having sex?? Why are the girls not held responsible for their part in the act? I am beyond frustrated with this situation (along with feeling depressed that all these 13 year olds are having sex. I have a 13 year old girl. I can’t even imagine!!)
And I do know how to spell accountable. Darn tiny phone keyboard!!
The noethics article on the judge was interesting, but I’m not sure why it felt the need to comment on the size of his nose. I know of only one reason that people typically mention the nose size of lawyers. It also has no citations.
@Donald: “This BS self perpetuates. Thatâ€™s because virgin children that are afraid of the â€˜virginâ€™ label ridicule virgins as a way to keep the spotlight off of them. The virgin benchmark use to be 19 years old before you were considered a freak. This creeped down to 18, 17, 16â€¦â€¦ I donâ€™t know if the benchmark is now 15 but it is clearly creeping down and kids are buying into the BS more and more as they become less and less emotionally stable.”
I don’t think there’s any evidence to back that up. Again, teens are NOT having sex younger. The age of first intercourse has been going up (not by much, but slightly). There’s no evidence that more people consider themselves a “freak” for not having sex at 15 or 16 than have in the past. I really don’t think anything has changed, at least not in the last 30 years or so.
@SKL: “We are paying cops to spend 6 months playing around online in order to entrap people who may or may not have sought sex with a minor absent such persistent police efforts?”
Many of these stings are funded by Homeland Security grants. Local police and sheriffs get huge grants to catch cyberterrorists and other cybercriminals. However, catching them is actually really, really hard, and they are unable to do it, so to justify these huge grants, once a year or so they run chat room/Craigslist stings, going places where adults go to meet other adults for sex and then spending weeks or months “grooming” the men they meet–often men several decades younger than the officer actually is–so that the men will agree to a meeting. They then how 40-80 or so arrests to boast about so their grant will be re-upped.
The thing I don’t get is, if it’s actually true that there are real “cyberpredators” out there, all over the internet, trying to lure innocent prepubescent or young teen children into sex, why don’t the police ever arrest them? It wouldn’t be that hard. Rather than going onto Craiglist’s “Casual Encounters” or some “XXX Adult Swingers Site” and pretending to be a sexually-experienced teen actively seeking out a hook-up, they could spend the time hanging out on Minecraft forums or on Playstation Network or in teen chat rooms–places where kids and teens just innocently spending time on the web go–and wait for an adult to approach them. If it’s that prevalent, it shouldn’t take long. The fact that they are not doing that indicates to me that either the internet is NOT full of adult predators trying to groom and lure innocent children OR that the officers involved in these stings are pervs who would rather spend their days pretending to be an underage nymph enjoying sexually explicit chats with mostly-young men.
But, yes, we should probably question why our federal government is handing out millions in grant money so that local police officers can spend months pretending to be sexed-up jailbait in the sleaziest, most adult corners of the internet an effort to get pathetic, horny men who need to resort to the internet to find a hook-up partner to agree to a meeting.
I knew some girls, back in the “Just Say No” days of the conservative early 80s, who sought sex with strangers. What they did then, was to go to a college campus (first with older friends, under the guise of “touring the college”) and attended weekend parties. These girls were not the low class girls that every guy knew they could sleep with – they had standards and only slept with college guys, usually several a weekend. Their parents were professionals in the community – doctors and such. By the time I knew them they were 11th grade and driving themselves, and talking about their conquests every Monday in the art class that we attended together. I am sure, from the stories that I heard, that they started doing this before they were old enough to consent. Girls wanting to have anonymous sex with older guys is nothing new. Just the method of finding them has changed.
“Girls wanting to have anonymous sex with older guys is nothing new.”
And that’s not cool. I am with everybody who thinks that is not good, and these guys should say no.
But, the problem is that our laws do little to distinguish between the older teen or twenty-something guy who agrees to have sex with an underage teen who is actively, vigorously seeking out sex with him, and the older guy who finds an innocent child or teen, works diligently to “groom” them, and then eventually lures them into a sexual encounter. And it seems to me there is a very, very big difference between these two groups of men.
As I’ve said many times before, men in the latter group are indeed “preying” on teens. Men in the former group are not. The former offense should be considered contributing to the delinquency of a minor (a very apt description of what they are doing), not a serious sex offense.
I’m not sure why we are so loathe to make that distinction, other than fear of “slut shaming.” And, again, we should not slut shame. But neither should be pretend that there is no difference between a 14 year old girl who logs onto an app where you have to be 18 to log on and actively, aggressively pursues older guys there for sex and a 14 year old girl who is approached by an older guy while she’s hanging out at the school bus stop who then spends months “grooming” her and eventually coercing her into sex. There is a big difference, and it seems ridiculous to imagine that whether a 14 year old girl actively, knowingly, and persistently sought out sex or the 14 year old girl was lured and coerced into it is entirely irrelevant.
Well, don’t you know it is good for the economy- all the jobs monitoring, jailing etc all these people. All part of the prison industry complex. How many people are hired to monitor these people.
It is all madness and not ending soon.
Having my sons end up on that list for being normal teens is one of my biggest fears. I would really like to know why these girls are not facing any penalty at all. Isn’t it a crime if you lie and that lie causes someone else to commit a crime? How about entrapment? Merriam Webster defines entrapment as tricking someone into committing a crime so they can later be arrested. There is no way to prove that wasn’t the girl’s intent in the first place and the name of the game is making charges up to punish teens, right? I really think it’s horrible that the girls are getting off scot-free. If they had been honest the boys may well have not hooked up with them in the first place, at the very least they could have known what they were getting into. I really don’t think anyone deserves any sort of legal punishment in these stories but if they boys are being punished the girls should too.
My question is who is the true sex offender here? Isn’t it the girl? She is the one, who after all misrepresented herself by not tell the truth about her age.
@Ann: “along with feeling depressed that all these 13 year olds are having sex. I have a 13 year old girl. I canâ€™t even imagine!!”
I think this is part of the issue, that when we hear “13” or “14” we are thinking of the 13 and 14 year olds that we–most of us middle-class, relatively well-educated, pretty privileged readers–know. And it does indeed seem predatory and skeevy, because most of the 13 and 14 year olds we know WOULD have to be lured or coerced or groomed into having sex with an older guy (or sex with anybody at all!). The vast majority of 13 and 14 year old are NOT having sex. The large majority of 15 year olds are not having sex. A majority of 16 year olds have not had sex. It’s not until 17 that we start seeing more teens having had sex than not.
But, that’s not all of reality. I live in a city where pregnant 14 year olds are not uncommon. These are not young women anybody who peg as innocent little girls. That doesn’t mean that they are terrible or should be shamed, but they are just different. They have had different life experiences and they have different attitudes.
It’s pretty much the same as how most 14 year old boys do not engage in gang violence, sell drugs, or steal cars, but some do. And sure we cannot imagine our own 13 or 14 year old sons doing those things without being lured/coerced/forced by an adult, but that’s because our own 13 and 14 year old sons are not the ones doing these things.
The issue I have is that we criminalize the acting-out behaviors of underage teen boys (stealing, violence, drug dealing, etc.) and treat them as adults, but the acting-out behaviors of underage teen girls (often sexual acting out) is something we consider them helpless victims in. And that seems like a very clear and dangerous double standard, and one that is ultimately very disempowering to young women, who we are basically saying–unlike their same-age male peers–are incapable of making decisions about their own life.
For example, could you imagine a situation in which a 15 year old black male teen sold drugs to a 23 year old guy, and the 15 year old was considered the victim and let off, because he MUST have been coerced into that deal by the 23 year old? And the 23 year old was considered a dangerous predator–he might try to convince other teens to sell drugs to him, after all!–and put on a list for the rest of his life?
Yeah, both parties messed up. And I’m okay with treating the 15 year old more leniently than you’d treat an adult in that situation, and I’m okay with the 23 year old being charged with a crime. But, we would NEVER frame the situation as one of an exploited, abused, trafficked young man being coerced and groomed by older gang members into selling drugs against his will, who was then abused again by an evil adult drug user who bought drugs from him. If we were talking, though, about a 15 year old girl rather than boy and sex rather than drugs, she’d be the victim and every adult involved would be considered a dangerous predatory deserving of the harshest punishment we could dish out.
A different sort of question….would any of this have been reported if it was a 19yo boy having sex with a 13yo boy? Would we be talking about ‘slut shaming’ if the younger boy had lied?
BTW, none of that ‘boys mature slower stuf’ I can think of at least one 13yo who could pass for much older. He’s not gay, but that’s not the point.
Also, who would have gotten in trouble if it was a 13yo boy with a 19yo girl? Again, I know a 13yo boy who could pass for at least 16, maybe 17.
“would any of this have been reported if it was a 19yo boy having sex with a 13yo boy? Would we be talking about â€˜slut shamingâ€™ if the younger boy had lied?”
Yes, it would.
“Also, who would have gotten in trouble if it was a 13yo boy with a 19yo girl?”
Ask Mary Kay LeTourneau.
As already discussed in the previous article, the main problem is the law lacking reasonable safeguards. There is a reason most countries with statutory rape laws allow reasonably believing that the partner was of legal age as a valid defense.
@James: She was MUCH older than 19. She was 34, and the student was 12.
I actually know of a person who, when she was in her early 20s, was in a sexual relationship with a 15 year old boyfriend and was arrested. The charges were pled down to a non-sexual misdemeanor so that she would not have to register as a sex offender.
There was also a Florida case in which a 18 year old girl was dating a 14 year old girl, and she was offered a plea deal that would have kept her off the registry.
I do think that young women–unless they are teachers–are offered the benefit of the doubt and given pleas that keep them off the registry far more often than men the same age are.
@bsolar, that’s not the only problem. In all of those other countries, even if you know the person is not of legal age, you do not get put on a public registry for sex with a willing underage partner. The United States is the only country in the entire world that does that.
Someone should explain to this judge that his job is not to force people and our society into behavior he thinks is appropriate. He’s supposed to follow the law as it’s written, not let his personal dislike of the situation create illegality.
@James Pollock: “â€œAlso, who would have gotten in trouble if it was a 13yo boy with a 19yo girl?â€
Ask Mary Kay LeTourneau.”
The case you mention is pretty different from the case at hand and would be considered statutory rape even in countries which wouldn’t consider Zach and Darian guilty. Mary Kay LeTorneau was convicted for having sex with his student, who was 12. First of all there is no way she could reasonably believe his partner was of legal age. On top of that she held a position of authority on the child, which imposes much harsher limitations.
Question: does statutory (consensual) rape get you on the registry in every state? If not, what states put “romeo and juliet” type “perps” on the registry?
I do think it’s time young men wise up and start carding their dates if they aren’t absolutely sure of their age. There have been enough incidents like this that all young men should know about it. If you’re a mom of boys, tell them, just like you tell them about herpes and AIDS.
@SKL: Question: does statutory (consensual) rape get you on the registry in every state? If not, what states put â€œromeo and julietâ€ type â€œperpsâ€ on the registry?
Sex with a person underage cannot be consensual, because consent is a legal construct and by law they cannot consent. However, an underage person can engage in sex willingly, without being forced or coerced.
“Romeo and Juliet” laws refer to a very specific type of statutory situation, where the two partners are usually less than 5 years apart in age. Many statutory cases do not fit that description, but also do not fit the description of the 40 year old guy sleeping with a 14 year old. They involve girls a year under the age of consent and guys in their early or mid 20s, so age differences of like 5-10 years.
There’s a handful of states where only violent or repeat offenders end up on a public list (Oregon and Minnesota come to mind). So, in those states, statutory offenders would not be on a public registry. However, in most states, unless there is a Romeo and Juliet exception that the case falls within–and in neither of these cases would that be true, because these are 5 and 6 year age differences–a single-time, non-forcible statutory offender will be on the public registry.
A wise man once said you can tell how bad off a society is by how many laws it has … the more laws the
worse off it is.
Just ridiculous. I guess you should card everyone when you meet them.
Why in all of these stories is all attention focused on males? The charges are without merit, no doubt about that – engaging in sex under false pretenses is very different than manipulating or forcing someone into sex
What I can’t understand is why these young teen girls continue being overlooked by Judge Wiley & others despite their “cry for help” behavior going to great lengths to create false profiles on Apps for the goal of having sex – this speaks to underlying unaddressed Mental Health issues
It is a troubling message when vilifying & finding fault with deceived young men is more important than helping young teen girls who are making poor choices threatening their physical & mental health not to mention the future of the young men they are thoughtlessly entrapping not to mention leaving their destroyed families in the wake of these tragedies
What is wrong with us as a society when we cannot accept apologies and sincere remorse from young men who can clearly show where & how they were deceived instead choosing to make examples of them by levying the harshest punishment possible? – all this really does is highlight these apps as a place where true child predators undeterred by potential consequences can easily find their prey further victimizing and endangering even more troubled young teen girls
Accountability needs to be demanded from those responsible for App to more effectively screen Members to better ensure safety for all – human nature is to exploit the inefficiencies of any system, so nothing is foolproof; however, making it more difficult will limit the amount of abuse
Young teen girls and their families need to be supported in identifying issues & getting appropriate support and intervention in place to help remediate and resolve issues so these girls can work toward healthier, more productive future
As a society we have lost our way – we need to help, not hurt – helping just takes more thought and effort than impulsively lashing out – my heart goes out to all the families, young men & young women involved in these cases
Often, harshest critics are actually projecting personal guilt
People also tend to judge others by their own personal standards and experience
Seriously makes me wonder if Judge Wiley’s behavior is more a statement on his own character & choices than we realize…
I tried to do a little research for my state / county, and it doesn’t look like a young man would get on a registry just for having sex with a 13+yo girl when the girl was the one seeking to engage in sex with an adult. (Assuming it’s a first “offense.”) But I must say it is unclear.
@Joanne, because punishing the young men is easier.
I actually know a mom who has been struggling for years with an out-of-control teen daughter. And, like many out-of-control teen girls, sexual acting out with older guys is her primary way of acting out. Two or three young men have been arrested because of encounters with her. And, this is not what the mom wants! She’s said, “What are they going to do, arrest every 20 year old guy in town?” Because she knows her daughter will just find somebody else. She has been desperate for help. She’s actually asked the police to hold her daughter, to make shake some sense into her, but they won’t. She feels totally at a loss for what to do, and a system that treats her daughter like a completely innocent victim and the older guys she’s been with (only a small fraction of whom they know of) as predators who lured and coerced an innocent little girl who didn’t know any better are NOT solving the problem. It’s just teaching her daughter that she can do whatever she wants and not only not have to take responsibility for it, but actually get sympathy and “victim points.”
@SKL, I’m not aware of any states where whether or not the girl was seeking out sex matters at all in terms of whether he gets on the registry.
Maybe they think girls won’t report any rapes if they are afraid they could be accused of being the temptress etc. Isn’t that always the argument against so-called “slut shaming”?
For the record, I don’t think guys should entirely get a pass for having sex with a young teen. You have to know that these girls are out there and no matter how well they act the part, they are still kids and need to be treated as such. You need to be careful. (Women too.) But putting these people on a registry for years is over the top. I’m surprised everyone doesn’t see this.
Anon mom, I don’t see where stat rape gets on our registry at all. Though I could be wrong.
What I mean is that it looks like the stories highlighted on this post are not going to happen where I live. At least I hope not.
I still don’t know how many other jurisdictions would put these types of offenders on the registry.
“… when you were 13 a generation ago, it was certainly a little more difficult to end up with a complete and total stranger who was also looking for a sex partner.”
If you lived near a university campus, any night of the week you could end up with a complete and total stranger who was looking for a sex partner.
I had a friend who, underage, went to a frat party at a huge university in our town. She was raped, and felt like it was her fault. She just wanted to kiss the guy a little and he forced himself on her. Alcohol was a big factor.
I actually think there’s probably less problems with sober people “hooking up” online than grinding together, soaked in alcohol, at a big party. Alcohol is more destructive than sex, and is a common feature in all of the “old fashioned” ways people used to end up with a jailbait partner.
“@James Pollock: â€œâ€œAlso, who would have gotten in trouble if it was a 13yo boy with a 19yo girl?â€
Ask Mary Kay LeTourneau.â€
The case you mention is pretty different from the case at hand”
I didn’t say they were the same. I said (by example) that a woman who has sex with a 13-year-old male can be (will be) charged under statutory rape laws, too.
“She feels totally at a loss for what to do, and a system that treats her daughter like a completely innocent victim and the older guys sheâ€™s been with (only a small fraction of whom they know of) as predators who lured and coerced an innocent little girl who didnâ€™t know any better are NOT solving the problem”
I don’t think much of anyone thinks of a young woman who would have consented to sex but for legal incapacity as an “innocent little girl who didn’t know any better.”
Try a different viewpoint. While we’d certainly take action against a guy who DID pursue “innocent girls who didn’t know any better”, we’ll also pursue those who would take advantage of a young woman whose chosen path of rebellion against parental authority is to have sex with older men. We don’t much care if a 30-year-old woman is seeking inappropriate men to punish mommy and daddy, but we still do if it’s a 13-year-old who’s doing so. (Yes, it’s still dumb to implement this by using age as a proxy for actual capacity.)
“Question: does statutory (consensual) rape get you on the registry in every state? If not, what states put â€œromeo and julietâ€ type â€œperpsâ€ on the registry?”
Anyone convicted of FELONY stat rape would have to register in all but a handful of states.
Slightly less than half the states, have no Romeo and Juliet law at all. In most, if not all, of these states, you would find Romeos on the sex offender registry.
For those that do have them, Romeo and Juliet laws vary by state. In some states, anywhere from a 2-5 year age difference (depending on state) acts as an exclusion from prosecution in total. Obviously, Romeo would not be on the registry in those states as he committed no crime.
In other states, the designated age difference drops the case from a felony to a misdemeanor. Whether Romeo has to register would depend on the separate sex offender registration law in the state. Some states require you to register for misdemeanor sex offenses and some don’t.
“what states put â€œromeo and julietâ€ type â€œperpsâ€ on the registry?”
I’ll speak for one, Oregon, which has closeness of age as a complete defense to sex crimes based on age.
The one I was most worried about, as father of a teenage girl, was the production and distribution of child porn is federal law, and is also strict liability… some prosecutors were charging girls who produced photos and videos of themselves when underage.
“Some states require you to register for misdemeanor sex offenses”
My understanding (not researched) is that some states require you to register for offenses that aren’t even sexual in nature.
“weâ€™ll also pursue those who would take advantage of a young woman whose chosen path of rebellion against parental authority is to have sex with older men.”
Again with the huge middle class bias showing. That isn’t why most 13 year olds have sex. They have sex because it is fully acceptable behavior in their community. Most instances of 13 year old sex are not middle class, white folks with a beef against mom and dad. Most are poor youths with an extensive family history of early sex/pregnancy.
“My understanding (not researched) is that some states require you to register for offenses that arenâ€™t even sexual in nature.”
That is true in my state. Any conviction for a non-parental kidnapping or false imprisonment of a minor requires registry regardless of facts. So we have people on our our sex offender registry for robbing a drug dealer who happened to be under 18.
Re “Anon.Mom’s” comments:
I found everyone one of them to be excellent. They are focused, present a rational analysis, display a depth of understanding the issues, and reveal knowledge or experience that is presented without hyperbole or ridicule of the opinions of others.
So refreshing…and unfortunately, rare. (Yes, I am very much impressed.)
@James Pollock: “I didnâ€™t say they were the same. I said (by example) that a woman who has sex with a 13-year-old male can be (will be) charged under statutory rape laws, too.”
The question was in the context of the article’s scenario: an adult with an underage partner looking of legal age and lying about his age to the unsuspecting adult. With your example you only demonstrate that women can get charged in a much different and more serious situation, not that a woman would get charged in the specific scenario discussed.
I’m sure you can find a more relevant example and demonstrate that yes, women can get charged in similar circumstances too, but it would be missing the point. Actually the underlying insinuation you were replying to is whether statistically men get charged more frequently and sentenced with more severity than women, which would require a pretty complex and comprehensive study, but would likely provide some interesting insight.
“Again with the huge middle class bias showing.”
The horror! I wrote an argument targeting a middle-class person, and (gasp!) it was biased towards their understanding!
“That isnâ€™t why most 13 year olds have sex.”
And the part where I said “here’s why most 13-year-olds have sex” was…
“They have sex because it is fully acceptable behavior in their community.”
If it was fully acceptable, what’s the issue?
and Warren mocked me for the fact that I will teach my sons to get proof of age like a legitimate ID and photo her holding it as proof they tried to get verification of age before hooking up.
I bet these parents wished they had taught their son that lesson.
I feel like these laws are less about protecting minors and more about putting morals on people legally. The judge even said it himself that he had a problem with the hooking up randomly.
“Iâ€™m sure you can find a more relevant example and demonstrate that yes, women can get charged in similar circumstances too”
Probably. But I went with the one that got so much media coverage that it created name recognition.
“Actually the underlying insinuation you were replying to is whether statistically men get charged more frequently and sentenced with more severity than women”
It may have insinuated that, but what it actually asked is whether women are prosecuted at all. They are.
(I don’t think they get charged more frequently, or sentenced more harshly… I think they offend far less frequently. Women want older men, men want younger women far more commonly than the reverse. Ashton and Demi are the exception, not the rule.)
“I feel like these laws are less about protecting minors and more about putting morals on people legally. The judge even said it himself that he had a problem with the hooking up randomly.”
Well, take heart in the fact that the recent trend in American Law is a general retreat from legislating sexual conduct. There are still legislators who’d love to put limits on who other people can have sex with, but they’re generally frustrated in their attempts to do so.
@SKL, I’m not sure how many states even have “statutory rape” as something people officially get charged with. Usually statutory cases get prosecuted under other names: in my state it’s generally “criminal sexual conduct” (CSC).
@James, OR puts people who committed statutory offenses on the registry, but it’s my understanding that much of the OR registry is police-only, not public. Only Level 3 offenders are listed on the public site, and most non-forcible statutory offenders would not get that designation.
@James: “If it was fully acceptable, whatâ€™s the issue?”
James, you do realize that there are communities in this country where behavior is fully acceptable that is not tolerated or accepted by the larger society, right? But our legal system does not say, “Well, in your community using drugs is acceptable, so we’re not going to prosecute you.”
“James, you do realize that there are communities in this country where behavior is fully acceptable that is not tolerated or accepted by the larger society, right?”
If it’s fully acceptable, then it’s fully accepted. If it’s not fully acepted, it’s not fully acceptable.
“But our legal system does not say, ‘Well, in your community using drugs is acceptable, so weâ€™re not going to prosecute you.’â€
Huh? Besides the fact that drugs are used (legally) in every jurisdiction in America, this exact formulation is pretty much the genesis of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. More recently, the federal government’s handling of medical, then recreational, marijuana is exceedingly similar.
@James, I’m not sure what you are talking about.
To put it simply, there’s stuff, for example, that poor people in inner cities do that is acceptable within their communities–people do not think it is morally wrong, they are not turning them into the authorities, they are okay with it, etc.–that the people policing those communities and making the laws do not think is okay.
Or, to give a historical example, there have always been communities where homosexuality was accepted. But, just because your neighbors in San Francisco thought being gay was okay does not mean that you couldn’t get arrested because the people making and enforcing the laws had laws against sodomy on the books. A behavior–gay sex–might have been completely accepted within a specific community but still illegal and still prosecuted.
In general, marginalized groups are not making and enforcing the laws that govern their communities. So it is not particularly odd that the laws governing them do not exactly represent what is and is not acceptable in their communities.
@James Pollock: “It may have insinuated that, but what it actually asked is whether women are prosecuted at all. They are.”
No, it asked whether women *in a similar situation as described in the article* would be prosecuted, not whether women are prosecuted for statutory rape in general. This is made crystal clear by the way the sentence is linked to the previous (it starts with “Also”) and the way it mentions underage boys being passable for legal age.
Basically the question was “would a woman with an underage male partner believably looking of legal age and lying about his age be similarly prosecuted?” Your answer was “Yes, since this woman in a completely different situation got prosecuted, then a woman in the situation you mention would be prosecuted too.” It’s obvious your argument is invalid in the context of the original question.
TL;DR: I smell a straw man…
“TL;DR: I smell a straw man”
Your standing in the middle of it.
@bsolar, exactly. Bringing up a case where a 34 year old teacher slept with a 12 year old student is not proving anything about cases where we’re talking about a 19 year old girl and a 14 year old boy.
But, FWIW, Mary Kay Letourneau, according to Wikipedia, was sentenced to 6 months in jail–3 months of which were suspended–and 3 years of sex offender treatment. It was 1998, so there were some registries, but she was not required to register.
No 34 year old man who slept with a 12 year old girl–especially a teacher–would ever get a plea deal like that. 19 year old guys who chat with 50 year old undercover officers pretending to be horny 15 year olds on Craiglist “Casual Encounters” posting get more time than that, and have to register as sex offenders.
So, yes, women get prosecuted. And sometimes judges throw the book at them. Usually, though, especially if they take a deal, they are offered plea bargains much more lenient than what men in similar or even much less serious situations would be offered.
“Or, to give a historical example, there have always been communities where homosexuality was accepted. But, just because your neighbors in San Francisco thought being gay was okay does not mean that you couldnâ€™t get arrested because the people making and enforcing the laws had laws against sodomy on the books. A behaviorâ€“gay sexâ€“might have been completely accepted within a specific community but still illegal and still prosecuted. ”
Aye, there’s difference between “accepted”: and “fully accepted”. Homosexuality, like underage sexual activity, is one but not the other. Or at least, can be, depending on how you draw your borderlines.
Most murders involve someone who, at the time, finds murder “acceptable”. It’s not particular useful to draw on this fact to form opinions about murder laws generally.
How would carding their potential sex partner help the guy at all? Fake ID’s are a dime a dozen. Good ones a little more expensive, but readily available. Hell they get carded at the bar, jumps a guy later on, and he gets nailed because she is 15 or whatever.
What we have to do is stop punishing these guys, and start prosecuting the girl.
@Warren: “What we have to do is stop punishing these guys, and start prosecuting the girl.”
Why do we have to prosecute anybody?
Unless the girl set out to lie in order to get the guy into trouble, I don’t see any reason to prosecute. People tell lies to obtain sex all the time. Should we prosecute every married guy who tells a woman he’s single? Every 35 year old woman who lies and says she’s 29 to hook up with a younger guy? Every college guy who tells a girl he’s totally into her and will definitely call her tomorrow? Yes, lying and having somebody do something illegal because of your lie is worse, but if the guys weren’t prosecuted, no harm would be done, and there’d be no reason to prosecute the girls for anything.
I’m not sure where we disagree. I’m trying to state that the BS is getting deeper. I pulled out some numbers out of my ass. I’ll be the first to admit it. I did this because I only wanted to show the direction of how things were before and how they are now. â€œ….I donâ€™t know if the benchmark is now 15 but it is clearly creeping down and kids are buying into the BS more and more â€¦..â€ The benchmark that I was referring to was not the age of having sex. I don’t retract this statement. This was obvious to me that I was talking about the direction and not the numbers but I can see now that it can be misunderstood as though I was saying:
in 1975 the age was 19 where most lost their virginity. In 1882 the official age was…..in 1997 it became…… I wasn’t and still not saying that kids are having sex at a younger age. However I am saying that whether they do or not, there is more peer pressure to say they are even if they didn’t.
There is safety in numbers. That’s why antelope travel in herds. As kids become more emotionally frail, the stronger they want to fit in and the deeper the BS. There is no official age as to when it becomes embarrassing to admit virginity. I’m just saying that whatever age it’s at, it has been getting lower for years.
@anonymous mom: “Should we prosecute every married guy who tells a woman heâ€™s single? Every 35 year old woman who lies and says sheâ€™s 29 to hook up with a younger guy? Every college guy who tells a girl heâ€™s totally into her and will definitely call her tomorrow?”
Actually “rape by fraud” exists in many legislations and there are proponents who would like to have its scope broadened even more. The rationale is that consent cannot be obtained through deception.
In my country a judge faced with such a case would need to decide first of all if the defendant deceived the partner, then if without the deception, with the partner knowing the truth, the partner would have denied consent instead of granting it.
“There is no official age as to when it becomes embarrassing to admit virginity. Iâ€™m just saying that whatever age itâ€™s at, it has been getting lower for years.”
Yes, you keep saying it, but that doesn’t make it correct.
If there IS something different, it’s that people are more likely to be honest about it.
“In my country a judge faced with such a case would need to decide first of all if the defendant deceived the partner, then if without the deception, with the partner knowing the truth, the partner would have denied consent instead of granting it.”
I don’t think this is a thing in the U.S. Attempts to apply contract-law to sexual relations have not been well-received. There are some archaic civil actions still extant, but I don’t think the criminal law has much. The problem being, as noted, that some lying to obtain sex is to be expected.
Your Mileage May Vary.
I think it is counterproductive to mix up the issue of teens/young adults (early 20s) having sex that is consensual, and that of teachers (of either gender) having sex with students.
Teachers, no matter their age, have no business, whatsoever, flirting, dating or having sexual relations with their students, even if they are above the statutory age of consent. Teachers are on a position of trust, and being the responsible adult, capable or fending off any flirtation or proposition from their students is part of the job description, even when the teacher is lonely, depressed or going through a rough path on their own relationship with his/her partner.
If an adult is incapable of such self-restraint, or if it would be a major issue (s)he would deal with, then such adult is unfit for teaching teens or preteens in the same manner adults who faint on sight of blood or injury are unfit to be doctors.
And I will continue to mock you for your insanity. First you can tell your sons that all you want, they ain’t gonna do it.
Second, if they did do it, that would end there chance of getting some on the spot.
I’m curious about how, months later, these hookups suddenly become complaints and are criminalized.
As in, 19-year-old guy has sex with 14 or 13-year-old girl who misrepresents her age and claims to be 17. It happens once between them, or five times, or a hundred times.
And then… months pass… how does this suddenly become a complaint? Does the parent of the girl find something on her computer? Does the girl end up pregnant and explains how it happened and how old the guy is? Does the girl shout in a rage about what she’s done in the past during a heated argument with her parents? Does the girl feel remorse and decide she needs to “report” what happened, and tells her parents that she regrets her behaviour, and they decide to criminalize the guy who she duped into having sex?
I’m trying to imagine, as a parent, condoning the persecution of a 19-year-old guy in a situation like this. If my daughter lied about her age, it would be a teachable moment, not a criminal case.
Are parents really so vengeful as to want to punish any “adult” male who “messes” with their precious snowflake (who lied and willfully seduced another)?
It can’t be the girl going to the police. Can it?
Puzzled: Good catch – I probably wouldn’t have noticed that. Although it sounds like there are plenty of reasons to dislike this judge, even for those who are not anti-semites.
Why do we have to prosecute anyone? It is the American way. They have to get their pound of flesh out of someone. The American way is to make what people don’t like illegal.
Sex hysteria is characterized by a sense of urgency (like most forms of hysteria), that is completely lacking reliable evidence. Quite the contrary, the best evidence we have is the Rind Study https://sexhysteria.wordpress.com/?s=the+rind+study which found that early sex abuse is NOT usually seriously harmful.
What was the political response to the Rind Study? Censorship! Because hysteria can’t stand the truth. Most early sex is playful and healthy rather than harmful, let alone probably deadly as hysterics believe. Even kids who are not directly investigated or prosecuted suffer the consequences of fear and terror spread by hysterical policies.
“Iâ€™m trying to imagine, as a parent, condoning the persecution of a 19-year-old guy in a situation like this. If my daughter lied about her age, it would be a teachable moment, not a criminal case.”
Once it’s gotten beyond the family, to a prosecutor, it’s no longer the parents’ choice (or the child’s) whether or not to pursue criminal charges. So if the child tells people about it generally, and the information finds its way to law enforcement, there may well be nothing the parents (or the child) can do about it.
I actually agree with James on this. A 13yo who lies about their age is probably going to talk about it to someone. “Hey, I bagged a Senior or a College Freshman last night.” Also, they’re probably not going to think about their partner in speaking out. Heck, there’s a decent chance that . . . during a fight with the parents . . . of them blurting it out to their parents.
I had an ex-girlfriend blurt out in a convenience store, during a fight with her mother, that she’d been arrested for child neglect when she was babysitting (she was not living with the mother at the time).
My point is that there are so many ways for this to have gotten out of the parents hands. A 13yo who is having sex and/or lying about it is not a paragon of discretion.
“Iâ€™m curious about how, months later, these hookups suddenly become complaints and are criminalized.”
In many ways. One of the more common is a parent is going through kid’s phone, computer or room and reads their text messages, emails, diary or finds some piece of paper referring to a boy they didn’t know their daughter was with. Often the objection to this person is not over age, but some other thing. They tell daughter to end the relationship. Daughter refuses. Parents press charges. My favorite one of these is the mother who wrote on her victim impact statement that she wanted to prosecute my client because she had told her daughter to stop sleeping with all these “damn n____gers” and she is tired of it.
Sometimes parents knew about the relationship all along and are using this to end it — again often for reasons that have nothing to do with age. Sometimes they always wanted it to end, but needed leverage and sometimes they were fine with it at first, but have turned on the guy. Sometimes the family gets tied up in the system some way – CPS, criminal complaint against the daughter – and the parents realize that they now HAVE to act bothered and file a complaint.
Pregnancy often spawns these complaints. Baby-daddy refuses to help out financially so the parents press charges against him. Jealousy is a big motivator. Guy moves on to someone else; girl gets pissed (especially if pregnant) and files charges. Sometimes it is reported through mandatory reporters like doctors, teachers, juvenile court staff, probation officers, etc. Child support recovery will sometimes report it.
In the first case with this judge–and in at least one case I’m aware of–the complaint came about because a parent could not find their teenager daughter, contacted the police, and when the daughter was found she was with an older guy.
“Iâ€™m trying to imagine, as a parent, condoning the persecution of a 19-year-old guy in a situation like this. If my daughter lied about her age, it would be a teachable moment, not a criminal case.”
You would be amazed at some parents ability to excuse the behavior of their children and blame others. It generally only takes me having a brief conversation with a client’s parents (usually mother) to discover exactly why my client acts the way that s/he does and why my client refuses to accept any responsibility whatsoever for his own actions. This is what I worry most about helicopter parenting creating. Even more people who refuse to accept any responsibility for their own actions. Everything is the result of a disorder/syndrome/illness or someone else; never their own choices.
It is also very possible that the daughter didn’t fess up to lying until after the complaint was already made. Once you dial 911 or go to the police station to file a report, the case is completely out of your hands. If the police and the prosecution want to go forward, they can go forward without your permission. You can somewhat refuse to cooperate, which may result in a dismissal of charges and may not, but that is all you can do. And you do that under threat of arrest for contempt of court.
“In the first case with this judgeâ€“and in at least one case Iâ€™m aware ofâ€“the complaint came about because a parent could not find their teenager daughter, contacted the police, and when the daughter was found she was with an older guy.”
That is very common. It is very common for these complaints to come up due to a missing person report or runaway complaint against the teen. Often we have the scenario that parents demand their daughter stop seeing some guy (usually because he is trouble). Daughter refuses and takes off. Parents file a missing person/runaway complaint. Police find them together. Guy gets arrested for interference with custody and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Child gets arrested for runaway. During the course of this process both admit to sex.
I don’t know about this case, but in the other case, the mother did NOT condone the prosecution. It doesn’t matter. If the state wants to proceed with the case, they can, even if the parents of the victim vehemently disagree with that decision.
But there does seem to be some level of denial in many of these cases. I’ve ever heard of a number of college rape cases that were pursued only after a mother or father found pictures on her daughter’s phone, confronted the daughter about them, and the daughter then claimed she was raped, which the parents believed. Many parents do seem to cling very desperately to the idea that their sweet innocent daughter must have been coerced or forced by a big bad man rather than accepting that their daughter may eagerly gone along with or even initiated the activity.
But even in cases where that does not happen, and the parent does believe their daughter is responsible and the guy should not be prosecuted, their opinion doesn’t determine whether or not a prosecution will occur.
The reason why parents so readily believe the rape story is because in their eyes there is only one other possible explanation…………that their precious little princess is a slut. Since there is no way they raised a tramp that sleeps around, she must have been raped.
@Warren, sure. We seem to have two roles for teen girls: they are either completely innocent victims or terrible irredeemable sluts. There’s been enough pushback about treating young women who have sex as the latter that we’re increasing viewing them as the former. Because apparently treating young women like complex human beings capable, like all of us, of making some really, really bad choices but learning from them and changing for the better is not an option.
Yeah, the whole ‘daddy’s little angel’ paradigm. And of course: the “good girl”. Everyone knows that “good girls” don’t have sex… 😐
I don’t think this is your everyday issue of whether a teen girl who chooses to have sex is a lost cause. This is an extreme subset that should be considered separately.
I am wondering why we can’t have this conversation without the use of the word “slut.” What we have here is a very poor choice arising out of some combination of factors that somehow made it seem like a good choice at the time. We don’t hold kids age 13-14 to the same standards as adults. (I also don’t agree with charging kids of those ages “as adults” in any crime.) That doesn’t mean they don’t need an intervention that gets to the heart of the matter.
@anonymous mom Wow, thanks for just painting an entire generation with your inaccurate brush. I am 22. I date. All my friends date. Of course, we “hook up” as you so crudely put it, with a guy we have been dating for a time. And we are not Bible Belters – we are completely cool with people who just want sex and no relationship. If it’s not hurting anyone, who cares?
“And we are not Bible Belters â€“ we are completely cool with people who just want sex and no relationship. If itâ€™s not hurting anyone, who cares?”
When guys are being jailed or kicked out of school for sleeping with girls who were actively, eagerly pursuing sex with them but were later deemed to be too young or too drunk, I’d say that’s hurting somebody.
Certainly if people want to adopt libertine sexual ethics, they can. But you cannot combine libertine sexual ethics with a Victorian view that post-pubescent women are still innocent children who need the patriarchal state to protect them from the men seeking to deflower them. That’s what we are trying to do now, and it’s leading to some of the most outrageous and systematic sexual repression this country has ever seen. How many men will have to register as sex offenders because of drunken sex with a completely willing college girl or sex with an aggressive, initiating post-pubescent teen before we decide that we can’t have it both ways (that sex is both no big deal and loads of fun and needs no rules AND that sex is incredibly dangerous to fragile, innocent women who need to be protected from their own desires)?
Oh, bravo anonymous mom. I heart you.
James if it makes you feel better about your inappropriate behavior to call me a bully then go for it. I sincerely hope you run into a man like me when you are harassing kids.
The story of Zach Anderson is sad and frustrating but he’s NOT the only one out there. These kids nowadays can “hookup” anytime and do all the time. I just can’t get over that these young people are meeting up with strangers and having sex! Are the parents teaching these kids about safe sex? About the horrors that can befall you if your meeting people from online that aren’t actually the young people as they are portraying? It’s beyond mortifying. It’s so scary now and I grew up in the 70’s! Free sex for all. I’m scared for each and every one of our young people these days. There are so many ways they can ruin their life. Parents really need to sit their children down and tell them what could be in store for them IF they go down certain roads. As for Zach, he unfortunately made a wrong choice and is having to pay the consequences of his actions. Harsh consequences but he did make a wrong choice. I do hope that they can somehow fix his sentence so he is not considered a sex offender. I read his Facebook page and was going to make a donation to help but then saw that his parents are asking for donations to cover ALL expenses incurred. Some I can understand. Attorney fees, court fines, room and board for jail time, but the down payment for a house they bought for Zach to own? A down payment on a house? That kinda got to me. Will the public really want to help pay for Zach to own his own home? Why isn’t he living with his parents or in an apartment? A wonderful organization has offered to pay for Zach’s legal fees. That’s awesome. So that leaves court fines and room/board at the jail. I think the parents and Zach should be accountable for some of the charges and not expect the public to pick up the tab. Sorry. I’m off my soapbox now. It really did just hit me as wrong to ask for the down payment for a house.