Is a 21 y.o. With a 15 y.o. Girlfriend a “Sex Offender” the Next 25 Years?

If you think of all kids under the age of 18 as the same, you get crazy laws like no syadhyfynr
child under 18 can be left unsupervised.

You also get sex offender labels that make no sense. In Ohio, a 21 year old who had a 15-year-old girlfriend is on the sex offender list for 25 years. The authorities there are bending over backwards to act as if the community must be notified that this terrifying individual is in  their midst. As Randy Ludlow in The Columbus Dispatch reports:

Travis Blankenship is marked with what one judge describes as an undeserved “scarlet letter” — that of a sex offender.

Blankenship was 21, working part time at a department store and a few hours away from receiving his associate’s degree at Clark State Community College in Springfield when he had an affair with a 15-year-old girl.

But the illicit relationship did not remain secret, and he was arrested. A psychologist found he was not a sex offender, did not require treatment and was unlikely to commit another offense.

A judge likewise did not consider Blankenship much of a threat, sentencing him in 2012 to serve 12 days of a six-month sentence for unlawful sexual conduct with a minor, a fourth-degree felony.

But, under Ohio ’s Adam Walsh Act, Blankenship automatically was declared a Tier II sex offender, requiring him to register his address, employment and other information with the sheriff for the next 25 years.

His public defender will argue before the Ohio Supreme Court on Tuesday that mandatory sex-offender registration constitutes cruel and unusual punishment when it is “grossly disproportionate” to the offender’s character and crime.

I’ll say. If Ohio is worried about young lives ruined, it could do well by not treating Travis Blankenship as a serial child predator.  – L

We are using too broad a definition of sex offender.

We are using too broad a definition of sex offender.

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95 Responses to Is a 21 y.o. With a 15 y.o. Girlfriend a “Sex Offender” the Next 25 Years?

  1. K March 10, 2015 at 8:22 am #

    Another example of a blanket law ruining lives.

    But I’m curious about what those here on FRK think…at what point is an age difference too great when one of the parties is a teenager? One of my classmates when I was in high school was seeing a man who was 32 when she was 16. Most of her friends were pretty grossed out by the fact that she was sleeping with a man who was so much older than her, and her parents freaked when they eventually found out.

  2. Beth March 10, 2015 at 8:44 am #

    K, even if “we” think that 6 years is too much of an age difference, is it really worth 25 years on the SOR?

  3. TaraK March 10, 2015 at 9:02 am #

    And THIS is why I take little stock in the “awful” news reports that a sex offender is moving into the area. Read up, people, don’t just drink the kool aid.

  4. k March 10, 2015 at 9:15 am #

    Where did I say that, Beth? I just asked at what point is an age difference too much? And how do we decide? My husband is 6 years older than me, we started dating when I was 21 and he was 27. And when I was a 14 year old freshman, my boyfriend was a 17 year old senior. Had the relationship lasted, it would have been absurd to suddenly make it illegal as soon as he turned 18. However, I would not be comfortable with my teenage daughter dating a man twice her age. Obviously whether a person is an actual sex offender or not depends on the individuals involved. Which makes a blanket law a bad choice.

  5. Beth March 10, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    All I’m suggesting is that even if it’s determined by someone somewhere that 6 years is too much, there should also be discussion if “too much” should equal 25 years on the registry. t\That’s all.

  6. Sara Heard March 10, 2015 at 9:18 am #

    My high school friend had a fling with the teacher who was chaperoning the ski club trip, and I have NO doubt that she held the upper hand in that relationship. And that was a 25-year age difference. It was great for me, though, because he supervised detention and I always got out early by mentioning her name.

  7. BL March 10, 2015 at 9:30 am #

    There was a time when a 25-year-old rock singer could write of his non-platonic crush on a high school girl and it was a worldwide hit. Just imagine how “My Sharona” would fare these days (other than on oldies radio, where it can still be heard as a relic of a things-used-to-be-different).

  8. Jill March 10, 2015 at 9:56 am #

    The Adam Walsh Act, ruining lives since 2006.
    As for what is too much of an age difference, it should be up to the individuals involved to decide. Girls generally mature faster then boys, so a sixteen-year-old girl dating a 21-year-old young man should be just fine. Instead, it’s a crima. BTW, actor Stephen Fry recently married a man thirty years his junior.

  9. tz March 10, 2015 at 10:05 am #

    How low do we go. Perhaps the ages are arbitrary, and your free range kid could make rational decision. Also see Armanzo and Laura Wilder ages in the Little House books.
    However, he is stupid. Is she got pregnant, he would owe child support for the next 18 years, or is that unfair? You haven’t published a story about that.
    Also, she might not be mature enough – Is she emancipated? If not, if something medical happens, the parents have to pay.
    An 8 year old might be able to apply for a credit card and run up a bill, but he is too young to owe it – no contract is valid.
    He is not a sex offender like the rest, but because not all boy crazy teen girls can handle puberty properly, nor girl crazed boys, we have statutory rape laws. Pregnancy and disease are real threats.

    Your free range kid is probably smart enough to play outside but not to play chicken with cars on the freeway. A responsible teen won’t have casual sex because they will know the risks.

  10. tz March 10, 2015 at 10:08 am #

    To summarize, it isn’t the age difference, it is the minimum age. Would you approve if we subtracted 7 years of age from both the man and woman above? Same age difference.14 v 8.

  11. Amanda Matthews March 10, 2015 at 10:27 am #

    “at what point is an age difference too great when one of the parties is a teenager?”

    Never, in my book. As long as the teenager consents, we should stay out of it.

    “Is she got pregnant, he would owe child support for the next 18 years, or is that unfair? You haven’t published a story about that.”

    Or she could get an abortion, or she could give the baby up for adoption. Or she could properly use birth control in the first place. There are options nowadays. There have been options for at least 40 years, so let’s stop pretending they aren’t there and that teens can’t be taught to choose them wisely and use them properly. Will their parents (/the parents’ insurance) have to pay for it? Sure. Just like everything else. The teen could help out if we hadn’t outlawed teens babysitting and getting part time jobs.

    Do we say teenagers shouldn’t have periods because the parents have to pay for kotex and it could cause medical problems if not properly cared for? No, we teach teengaers how to deal with periods.

    Teens are going to have sex, and obviously this pretending that they aren’t or that they don’t want to (by considering anyone over 18 that has sex with them a rapist) isn’t working.

    “Would you approve if we subtracted 7 years of age from both the man and woman above? Same age difference.14 v 8.”

    Well, I would say the difference is that 8 year olds actually don’t want to have sex, generally. But honestly if a 14 year old and an 8 year old play doctor together consensually (I’m pretty sure it would be difficult to actually have sex at that age) I wouldn’t say the 14 year old should be arrested nor put on the sex offender registry. Talked to, sure. But not put on the sex offender registry. And at that age your whole pregnancy thing is thrown out the window because most 8 year olds can’t get pregnant.

    But, we aren’t talking about a 14 year old and an 8 year old. If you are going to use the “but what if we subtract years?!?!” thing then you’ll have to arrest my husband too, as he is 6 years older than me also. I’ll be 30 this year and he’ll be 36, but if you subtract enough years we’re 14 and 8.

  12. Jenny Islander March 10, 2015 at 10:57 am #

    I used to work in the court system. For that matter, I used to be in high school. I have seen the result of young adults deciding to exercise their adult right to be free and independent after getting what they wanted from younger adolescents who are legally children. These aren’t “affairs.” These are by and large ephebophiles, people who are attracted to young adolescent bodies and naive adolescent minds, who discard their “lovers” when they start having icky adult-type problems such as babies and spend the next 15 years attempting to shed all responsibility for the result of telling a 14-year-old girl that if she was really a loving and kind person she wouldn’t inflict the awfulness of a condom on the only man who thinks she’s worth screwing.

    15 years later and my classmate was still trying to get that jerk to man up.

    Put the age of consent lower, sure, but specify that anybody who is old enough to drink better keep their paws off kids who are still young enough to need their moms when they’re sick.

  13. Amanda Matthews March 10, 2015 at 11:08 am #

    Jenny, if that 14 year old girl had been educated that there are other forms of birth control than condoms – and had non-judgemental access to those – then there would be no baby.

    She could have been told the same thing at 25 or 35. It was just that by then, she knew she had other options.

    Laws are not the answer – education and giving teengaers access is.

  14. Jill March 10, 2015 at 11:12 am #

    The sex offender registry needs to be available to law enforcement agencies only, and only then when there has been a crime of actual physical contact involved, IMO.
    I just saw a disturbing ad online that showed a teddy bear lying abandoned on a front laws. Underneath it said something like, How Can You Find out About the People Who Live in Your Neighborhood? The implication was that there may be people in your neighborhood who will abduct a child. leaving a teddy bear behind as mute testimony to the terrible tragedy. You need to find out who these evil people are, before it happens to your child!
    However, an online search for sex offenders living nearby (because they’re the ones who abduct children, right?) is likely to turn up a guy who had an underage girlfriend, or a guy who looked at dirty pictures of children online, Neither one is likely to snatch a child but frightened people don’t think rationally and the figurative haystack grows ever larger, making it more difficult to find the needles (i.e., the people who really are dangerous.)

  15. Jill March 10, 2015 at 11:13 am #

    Sorry, typo. I meant to write “front lawn.”

  16. Tiny Tim March 10, 2015 at 11:27 am #

    We can think that 21 year olds generally shouldn’t be sleeping with 15 year olds without having such an extreme punishment for it. In the Netherlands the consent laws allow civil intervention, essentially empowering parents to put an end to such a relationship with state help if they disapprove.

    Even if we think statutory rape should be a criminal offense, we should remember that there can be consent with “legal consent.” Statutory rape is a legal construct, and it isn’t actually the same as rape.

    In any case, sex offender lists are a lifetime of punishment for crimes (mostly) which aren’t supposed to have life sentences.

  17. k March 10, 2015 at 11:30 am #

    Any relationship where the guy tells the girl that no one else wants to have sex with her so she should just shut up and open her legs has issues far beyond age differences.

    That said, how many 14 year old girls are really capable of understanding the possible consequences of sexual activity and giving consent? Consensual implies that both parties know what they are getting into. I can only speak for myself, but at 14 I had only been menstruating for 6 months, and was absolutely 100% not mature enough for sex. Luckily, I’ve got an awesome mom who raised me to be confident in my decisions and to make good ones, but some of my friends weren’t so lucky.

    It’s normal for teens to want to have sex with other teens, but at some point, an adult wanting to have sex with a person who is still a child isn’t. So I really really disagree that as long as it’s consensual, it’s ok. That’s just way too vague.

  18. Warren March 10, 2015 at 12:02 pm #

    Coming from a father of two daughters, one in her twenties (no I feel old) the other a teenager. If my daughter was in one of these stat rape eligible relationships, and it was consensual…….that is a matter for the families to handle, not the courts.

    No I would not like or condone such a relationship. But I would not have either my daughter or the guy charged, go to jail, or be labelled a sex offender, for what is for all intents and purposes bad judgement.

    That is when both dads sit down with the guy and explain to him the realities of life, such as child support, abortions, adoptions, and all the responsibilities that go along with them. And the moms are having the same discussion with my daughter.

    Both would be instructed to hold off until this age gap relationship was legal and acceptable. Meaning, back off until they are both old enough to know what the hell they are doing.

    That is all that needs to be done. We have to stop believing that teenage girls and boys do not have the ability to know what they are doing. That they are just mindless idiots that are slaves to their hormones.

  19. Amanda Matthews March 10, 2015 at 12:03 pm #

    “how many 14 year old girls are really capable of understanding the possible consequences of sexual activity and giving consent?”

    How many modern day 14 year olds do? Well, I don’t know, but if that number is low, that’s an issue. Because those 14 year olds are capable of getting the consequences, whether they understand them or not.

    It’s like you’re giving a 12 year old a loaded gun and refusing to teach them how to use it because you think they aren’t ready to use it yet.

    Some will wait to use it. Some will try to use it and end up learning to use it correctly. Some will try to use it and end up using it incorrectly, shooting themselves or someone else. Many will, just from carrying it around while not knowing how to put the safety on, have it misfire. No matter how many laws you make, these things are still going to happen.

    Not giving them the gun isn’t an option. So teach them to use it correctly before they reach 12. Create an atmosphere where they can go to a gun dealer with questions and concerns.

    “but at some point, an adult wanting to have sex with a person who is still a child isn’t.”

    Very few teens are children, though. (Child means someone that has not begun puberty.) Pretending they are does no one any good.

  20. Cedric March 10, 2015 at 12:08 pm #

    THe difference between 15 and 21 is pretty large, when compared to 20 and 26. He may not be a pedophile, but he may be a sex offender depending on statutory rape laws and if they had sex.

  21. Nicole March 10, 2015 at 12:11 pm #

    I think the point here is not whether the age difference was disturbing or the conduct inappropriate. As a mom of two girls, I vote “yes” on both accounts. Would I lock my 15 year old daughter in her room for the next hundred years if I caught her dating, let alone engaging in a physical relationship with, a 21 year old? You bet. But the sex offender registry is not supposed to be a punishment, it is supposed to be a tool. As a parent and a citizen, I want to know that I can take it seriously and that the people who are on it are a threat. Every time I hear about a case like this, where everyone from psychologist to judge says this guy isn’t a danger but he’s still on the list, I question the validity of other names on the list. The last thing you want if you are putting together a list of the “worst of the worst” is for people to start saying that actually, many of the people on your list aren’t that bad after all. Is what this guy did wrong and should there be consequences? Sure, I’m fine with that. Should his name come up when I search my neighborhood for sex offenders and should I worry that he will kidnap and molest my small children? No. Let’s save the list for the real sex offenders. I don’t need his name on a list to tell me that a 21 year old is not an appropriate boyfriend for my underage teen.

  22. Richard March 10, 2015 at 12:15 pm #

    More to the point, I think its time that we started – as a culture – acknowledging that not everything that makes us uncomfortable should be a criminal offense. That things can be wrong without being necessarily illegal.

  23. Jill Scott. March 10, 2015 at 12:29 pm #

    First, for those who think the sor is not punishment, does not know anyone on it. It is purely punishment. If it was a tool, it would be in the hands of law enforcement only. Second, 95% of all real child sex abuse is at the hands of someone not on the registry. And third, 1/3of of people on the sor were minors themselves when first placed on it.

  24. L. March 10, 2015 at 12:32 pm #

    I wish we drew a distinction in these statutory rape cases between a child and a biological adult. A 15 year old is a child mentally but an adult biologically, essentially indistinguishable biologically from a 20 year old. Dating a 15 year old doesn’t make you a pedophile. Dating an eight year old makes you a pedophile.

  25. Jennifer March 10, 2015 at 12:36 pm #

    “Kids” can stay on their parents’ insurance until 26 now. I have read news reports that told of “teens” in a fatal accident, and the “teen” in question is 20 years old. I don’t see how we can continue to treat people in their 20’s as “kids” but then punish them for acting like one, or for socializing with/dating other “kids”. If we continue to infantilize people well into “adulthood”, how can we suddenly expect them to act like adults at an arbitrary age?

  26. JJ March 10, 2015 at 12:44 pm #

    To me the adult’s age in such a relationship should be considered a factor because it seems it could relate to recidivism. An immature 21 year old might enter into a relationship with a 15 year old but even five years later it seems extremely unlikely for him or her get involved with a minor. Therefore crazy to think of him as a threat of any kind some 25 years later. If it were a 40-yr old and a minor well it does seem more likely to keep repeating. Still, even with the latter, I think there are better ways to address.

  27. Darwin March 10, 2015 at 12:45 pm #

    The age of consent should be the age at which a person can be held liable in a court of law. It is beyond hypocritical that a person can be deemed mature enough to form the mens rea necessary for a criminal conviction but not to willingly engage in biologically appropriate behavior.

    At the VERY LEAST the age of consent should be the age at which a person can be prosecuted and sentenced as an ADULT.

    Even if that were not the case (never gonna happen in this country – common practice in other countries) there has to be a consequence that does not result in mandatory obliteration of one’s life (which is what the sex offender registry accomplishes).

    Also note that there is no sex offender registry in most other countries. Certainly not one that is automatic and mandatory regardless of the circumstances.

  28. Beth March 10, 2015 at 1:02 pm #

    “Any relationship where the guy tells the girl that no one else wants to have sex with her so she should just shut up and open her legs has issues far beyond age differences.”

    Did I miss something? How do we know that happened in this case?

    “Kids” can stay on their parents’ insurance until 26 now. I don’t see how we can continue to treat people in their 20’s as kids.”

    My 23-year-old “kid” has a job. He does not live with us, and does not receive any support from us unless we feel like handing him $20 once in awhile. His job, however, does NOT provide health insurance, and I am unwilling for him to suffer a serious accident or illness followed by bankruptcy because he was unable to pay the medical bills. If this is treating him like a “kid”, then fine, I’ll do that.

    My husband is on my health insurance plan too (because the one offered through my job is better than his). Am I treating him like a kid, too?

  29. Wendy W March 10, 2015 at 1:19 pm #

    I’m glad to see this has made its way to the state Supreme Court. Hopefully that body will have the maturity and wisdom to see this issue with more than a knee-jerk, “my baby was a victim” type of reaction.

    I think a reasonable middle ground would be along the lines of:

    Anyone over 25 with anyone under 18 is unacceptable, no matter what excuses one comes up with.

    Two young people attending the same school at the same time will not be prosecuted as a crime purely on the basis of age. (19yo senior and 14yo freshman, or 17yo college freshman and 24yo college senior.) You must look carefully at the individual situation, and have a psychologist interview the two young people involved to determine their relative maturity levels, and their mental health (Is one of these people seeking an inappropriate relationship due to some serious issues in their life?) This process would be triggered IF the age difference is more than 4yrs AND the parents/guardians object to the relationship.

    Acknowledge legally that there is a lot of fuzzy ground in this issue, and that it’s possible for something to be inappropriate without it being illegal, and it’s possible for something to be illegal without it being worthy of the Registry.

    No-one can be placed on the Registry for a single relationship that falls into a “fuzzy” area.

    The Registry is reserved for people who have truly shown predatory behavior and had sexual contact with anyone they KNOW to be under the age of (14? 16?) or otherwise outside of the age parameters defined by law.

    Obviously all of the above would need tweaking by legal experts.

  30. k March 10, 2015 at 1:25 pm #

    Beth–not from Lenore’s post. But based on Jenny’s comment about the man who wouldn’t wear a condom.

    My point is, how do we distinguish the real sex offenders from just an inappropriate relationship? A 14 or 15 year old girl might be physically an adult but not mentally or emotionally ready for a sexual relationship. Just because that girl (or boy) is a teenager doesn’t mean it’s ok because they gave consent and everyone should look the other way. Like another commenter mentioned…a 21 year old with a 15 year old girlfriend is not the same as a 45 year old with a 15 year old girlfriend.

  31. John March 10, 2015 at 1:49 pm #

    Quote: “But, under Ohio ’s Adam Walsh Act, Blankenship automatically was declared a Tier II sex offender, requiring him to register his address, employment and other information with the sheriff for the next 25 years.”

    This is precisely why I believe that John Walsh is a sleazebag who exploited his son’s tragic death by championing ridiculous over reaching laws that cause more collateral damage than they’re worth. These kind of laws have ruined so many lives that could have been so productive, not only for the person they directly affected, but for the good of society in general. At the same time, they did nothing to prevent the very rare occurrences of what happened to Adam Walsh.

    Look, I’m a 59-year-old man. If I’m having sex with a 15-year-old girl, please arrest me. Put me in jail and throw away the key. But please, not a 21-year-old man! There is a huge difference and why can’t Americans comprehend that? If American laws were in effect 2,000 years ago, Joseph would be considered a pervert and sex offender seeing that his marriage to Mary was consummated when he was 26 and she was 14.

    We Americans tend to OVER react to everything. That seems to be a staple of American culture, particularly when it comes to children (by legal definition any person < 18). When extremely rare child abduction/murder tragedies occur, it's horrible for the parents and sympathy certainly should go out to them. BUT it doesn't mean you allow them to dictate what the legal structure of our society should be in order to "turn a tragic and senseless death into something good". Instead of obtaining cheap votes, elected officials need to use common sense and consider the ramifications of what a bereaved parent is pushing for. The "Adam Walsh Act" serves absolutely no useful purpose.

  32. Darwin March 10, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

    @John – the only arena where a minor under 18 is considered a child is when it comes to their own willing sexual conduct. Do we let children operate motor vehicles? Do we encourage child labor? I think not.

    Under no rational circumstance is a 17, 16, even 15 year old a child.

    If a 15, 16 or 17 (depending on the state) year old has a voluntary sexual relationship with a 59 year old man and proceeds to murder said 59 year old man on the very day for his wallet, the minor would be a victim of ‘child sexual abuse’ while at the same time an ‘adult defendant’ for murder.

  33. Darwin March 10, 2015 at 2:19 pm #

    On another note, it was never even proven that Adam Walsh’s murder had any sexual component to it. Only the poor child’s head was found. The person who confessed to, but was never convicted of, the abduction and murder was a serial killer and habitual liar.

    Why the Adam Walsh Act, or any criminal registration scheme for that matter does not involve child murderers remains one of life’s mysteries, yet completely unquestioned by the masses.

    Furthermore, there is evidence that John Walsh himself belongs on this list due to dating his wife when she was underage. From his own BOOK:

    “I never gave much thought to how old Reve was. She was pretty, and she dressed sharp. And there was also that body. We were starting to kind of hang around together. She took me horseback riding, and we went skiing. She was always into her own thing, and I like that. Then one night Tom Roche was sitting around in my place and picked up a copy of that day’s Buffalo Evening News. It was a picture of Reve, who had just won an art contest. ‘Holy Jesus, Mary, and Joseph,’ Tom said. ‘There is a picture of Reve in the paper, John, and she’s 16 years old.’ But you know, she had this way about her. She had a certain presence. And after awhile I just got over how young she was. She was way more sophisticated than anybody in her high school and she always dated older guys. She had a fake ID. That’s how she got into Brunner’s. She was born with high school. She was into art and her horses. And even then, she always seemed very… I don’t know, serene. We weren’t madly in love with each other. Though we had a good time together, and I relaxed a little after she turned 17.”

  34. SOA March 10, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    I think a 21 year old with a 15 year old girlfriend is creepy. Now that is if he knew her actual age. If she lied about her age the whole time or long enough into the relationship then I blame her, not him.

    But in general 21 year olds need to date other 21 year olds. Stay away from high school girls under 18.
    However since girls lie about their age and even have been known to present fake ids to men, I don’t think it is right to blame the man when he was not aware of the age and was lied to.

    I had an 18 year old boyfriend when I was 15. Then he turned 19 and I turned 16 about the same time. I knew exactly what I was doing and was not taken advantage of. He knew my age. He was held back a year so we were both still in high school. That is different though than me dating a guy old enough to drink and old enough to be well into college.

    With the constant redshirting going on and getting worse- we are going to be having 20 year olds in high school dating 15 or 14 year old freshmen and its going to be a problem.

    There has to be an age line drawn somewhere but I think all factors should be considered like how mature they both are and if their true ages were known and disclosed and what is the nature of their relationship. It is not cut and dry.

  35. Vicky March 10, 2015 at 2:43 pm #

    Just as not every ten year old is equal in maturity or intellect, neither are 15 year olds. Some females at this age are young women with jobs helping to support their family. While others are sheltered, and still very childish with beds covered in stuffed unicorns.
    It seems to work in some instances for some families. I remember that if you were 15 and had a college age boyfriend you were looked up to and admired by the other girls.
    Although I wouldn’t consider the age difference ideal, I don’t believe it would be just or humane to condemn a young man and his family to the worst kind of misery and desolation in our country, for most, or the rest of his life.

  36. Donna March 10, 2015 at 3:24 pm #


    I think age should be completely taken out of the equation except as evidence that a power imbalance negated consent.

    “That said, how many 14 year old girls are really capable of understanding the possible consequences of sexual activity and giving consent? Consensual implies that both parties know what they are getting into.”

    If your 14 year old doesn’t know all the possible physical consequences of sex, you have failed as a parent. Someone else should not have to pay for your failure to discuss sex and its consequences with your children.

    I agree that most 14 year olds probably don’t fully understand the emotional and psychological consequences of having sex, which is why I don’t want my daughter to have sex at that age. But I also don’t believe that ANYONE, regardless of age, fully understands the emotional and psychological impact of having sex until after they have had some experience with having sex and even then, sometimes even after many years of having sex, don’t always completely understand what they are getting into at the emotional and psychological level.

    I think you are stretching consent to far to say that you have to fully understand the later emotional impact of it before you can consent. It certainly isn’t a stance we take in any other forms of consent. You can’t negate a contract by saying you didn’t consent because you didn’t fully understand how you would feel about the deal the next day. As long as you understood the terms when you signed, it is a valid contract.

    The fact is that people sometimes make bad choices. They make choices without fully understanding or thinking through the consequences. They make choices that negatively impact them. They make choices that are bad for their emotional and physical health in ways that they never imagined before they engaged in those actions. They make choices that more experienced people know are train wrecks in the making. That doesn’t change the fact that they still willingly choose to do those things.

  37. k March 10, 2015 at 3:43 pm #

    I can’t adequately get across what I mean today.

    Amanda thinks that adults should stay out of it when teens decide to have sex. I disagree. I don’t believe that sex between teens or even sex between teens and legal adults is something that should be criminalized in every single case. But I also don’t believe that we should accept all sexual relationships between teens and legal adults.

    I, at 14, certainly knew the physical consequences of sex. But many of my friends had parents who did not teach them that, or they did not have the emotional maturity to understand what can happen to you when you freely give away sex. And just because you KNOW those things, how many teens think they are invincible, that SOME girls get pregnant or get diseases, but it won’t happen to them? My parents were and are great parents and I have every intention of being open and truthful with my own daughter, but not everyone is that lucky.

    I’m just saying that some sexual relationships are inappropriate and some are downright criminal and we can’t just shrug and say that as soon as teens are a certain age, it’s ok for them to sleep with whomever is willing.

  38. Elin March 10, 2015 at 3:57 pm #

    I am Swedish, here the age of consent is 15 and relationships between a 21 year old and a 15 year old might not be a parent’s first wish but they are legal and relatively common. My brother met his girlfriend now wife at 19 and she was 15 and while her mom and dad were concerned that he was too old and by the fact that he owned his own car they met him and saw that he seemed like a nice guy and then problem solved. To me the idea that anyone would consider my brother as a child molester or creepy is beyond me, I know he was a pretty shy guy and probably just happy a girl talked to him…

  39. Papilio March 10, 2015 at 4:01 pm #

    Mweh, 15 and 21 is a bit on the edge, sure, but it highly depends on who these two individuals are. She could be very mature for her age, he could be a late-bloomer. If it’s a confident girl who knows what she wants and how to say no and he is a nice guy who wants the best for her (so get to know him!), I don’t see much of a problem. (And at least one of you needs to keep in mind that this is the 21st century.) I do also maintain that decent sex education is very important to help them make smart choices when it comes to relationships and sex.
    Yes, it becomes a problem when a guy gets older and older and still seeks out insecure, vulnerable teen girls – you don’t want that. But the difference between such cases and ‘good’ cases is hard to catch in any blanket law. Involving the parents seems wise, until you realize that many parents of teen girls still have this ‘daddy’s innocent little girl’ image of their daughter and might just veto the relationship regardless…
    Anyway, no, he shouldn’t be on the SOR at all.

    @SOA: “21 year olds need to date other 21 year olds”
    So, what if they do but then, horror of all horrors, turn 22? Or is it okay for 22-year-olds to date 21-year-olds – not very consequent, but hey, it’s your idea? Or should they just stop dating for a couple of weeks/months until the younger 21-year-old has also turned 22? What if the age difference is 364 days, can they then only date once a year? What if they’re married – should they get a divorce and remarry when they’re the same age again?
    Methinks you didn’t think this through.

  40. caligirl March 10, 2015 at 4:08 pm #

    21 and 15? That’s nothing. Try 19 and 17, now married for decades. 25 years on the registry? Piece of cake. Try lifetime.

    See here:

    Abolish the Sex Offender Registry. Period.

  41. TM March 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    The law recognizes that a 15 year old is incapable of consent. No matter how mature the minor things (s)he is, a person’s brain is still growing and the risk centers of the brain are not yet fully developed. Saying that it’s okay for a 21 year old to have relations with a 15 year old who welcomes it is akin to saying that it’s okay to have relations with a blackout drunk person who welcomes it.

    A 21 year old should know better than to date a 15 year old.

  42. k March 10, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

    I don’t think that’s precisely what SOA meant. 21 year olds should date within their peer group. It’s been some time since I was in high school and college, but relationships that started out in the same peer group and then changed didn’t last long. For example, my bestie dated a guy a year older than her. It was great when they were both in high school, but then he went to college and the relationship died a natural death. He didn’t want to come back to go to prom with her because it was sort of a step backwards and she didn’t like visiting him on campus. And as a college student, guys in my peer group that dated high school girls were seen as weird or immature. Why would a college senior want to date a high school sophomore?

  43. Darwin March 10, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    Most states have laws that legally allow a minor to get married at an age below its age of consent, with parental permission. 16 for most states (even with an age of consent of 17 or 18), 15 for Hawaii and apparently 14 and 13 in New Hampshire. Furthermore, several states have laws that sets this age differently for males and females (typically younger).

    How is this possible? Last I heard sex was not only a big part of marriage, it is pretty much a requirement.

    This means that in many states a minor is not mature enough to engage in willing sexual conduct, but is mature to enough to participate in such activities as long as they are willing to make a much much more profound decision – which apparently they, with their parents’ blessing, can do.

    I find that bizarre.

  44. lollipoplover March 10, 2015 at 4:34 pm #

    I’ve noticed with my teenage son that the girls his age are definitely more aggressive pursuing dating vs. the boys. But teens mature and become sexually active is such a crap shoot.

    My husband had many girlfriends starting at 12. I didn’t even start dating until I was 15. My first boyfriend was a senior (18) who went to my school and worked at the restaurant where I waitressed. My parents were thrilled. I was his first serious relationship too and he drove me to work saving them a trip. We dated while he went away to college so i when I graduated at 17 he was 21 so.
    I’d hate to see him on the sex offender registry. He’s an accomplished doctor now.

  45. Darwin March 10, 2015 at 4:37 pm #

    @TM – that ‘brain is still developing’ blather goes out the window pretty quick when these kids (routinely at 14, as young as 12) with ‘underdeveloped’ brains are put through adult criminal court and are sentenced to life in adult prisons, doesn’t it? Or when they are handed that precious drivers license or get a job.

    Your analogy about the drunk person is completely lacking as a blacked out person cannot give consent. It is only the law that states that a xx year old is incapable thereof.

    Otherwise how does one explain the different ages of consent in different states? In one place, a relationship with a 17 year old is a good time. In the next town, 2 miles over, across the state line, it is a sex crime with mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.

  46. Wow... March 10, 2015 at 4:46 pm #

    @TM: The risk center finishes developing at about 20-25, depending on gender. Female brains develop earlier – do you think we should allow girls to drive, drink, join the army earlier and so on? Laws are arbitrary and aren’t really based on real science.

  47. Donna March 10, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    k –

    I fully understand the lack of desire for your teens to have sex. I fully understand not particularly liking a person who chooses to have consensual sex with your teen.

    However, why exactly is it someone else’s legal responsibility to overrule bad parenting and/or a teen’s stupid decisions? Why should my son be held criminally responsible because his girlfriend had a piss poor parents who didn’t teach her about the consequences of sex? Why should my son be responsible for a teen hiding her head in the sand and thinking she can’t get pregnant despite fully understanding pregnancy?

    And, if this is really the thinking, why does it only apply to adults? A 14 year old who wasn’t taught about the consequences of sex doesn’t know the consequences of sex whether she is having sex with a 20 year old man or a 14 year old boy. A 14 year old who understands the consequences but doesn’t think pregnancy will happen to her still believes that whether she is having sex with a 20 year old man or a 14 year old boy. Should we now throw 14 year old boys in prison? Do we have to prove that they did know these things first? What about the 20 year old man who was sheltered and HE doesn’t know these things?

    Sex is the ONLY thing that we seem to believe that certain people cannot agree to despite every intention to the contrary. They can consent to crimes despite the fact that everything you say about sex is equally applicable to criminal behavior. I can’t go into court and argue that my 15 year old burglar couldn’t consent to the burglary because his parents never taught him not to steal or the potential prison sentence he would be facing, nor can I go in there and argue that he knew these things but he thinks he is invincible because of his undeveloped brain. That is the reason that we treat juvenile offenders different than adult offenders, but it doesn’t negate their consent to commit the crime or their guilt.

  48. Warren March 10, 2015 at 5:12 pm #

    So if the law says it is so, that makes it right?
    At one time the law said it was legal to own another human being.
    At one time the law said it was illegal for gays to marry, and still does someplaces.
    How about prohibition.
    Women were not allowed to vote.
    And so on and so on.
    Just because it is a law does not mean it is right, moral or even acceptable.

  49. Warren March 10, 2015 at 5:18 pm #

    Just a quick question. If the 15 yr old agrees/consents to sex with the 21 yr old man, the man will be tried and convicted of stat rape, or whatever.

    Why does the system then, because the 15 yr old girl consented and was a willing participant, not charge her with conspiracy?

    Another one, is with the underage girl with fake ID in a bar, why isn’t she charged?

    Because even in the law, men are evil when it comes to sex. Just like with all the new consent laws that are being pushed about drinking and sex. The law puts all the responsibility on the man.

  50. Eric S March 10, 2015 at 5:30 pm #

    Do I think he was too old for her. Yes. Do I think he made a dumb youngin’ decision based on hormones and underdeveloped brain – yes, the human brain continues to grow and make new neuro pathways till about the age of 27-28. That is why the youth have poor risk assessment abilities from their teens to their early to mid 20s – yes, he did. But did his actions fit the punishment? I would say no. But then again, I don’t know what the age of consent is in Ohio. If it’s 15, then he didn’t do anything wrong, except give in to their sexual urges. But if it is 16, and she was nowhere near that age, then he can be charged for statutory rape. But I’m guessing that’s not the case, since he wasn’t charged for that offence.

  51. Eric S March 10, 2015 at 5:34 pm #

    @K. Imo, I don’t think it’s a matter of age gap. But more of where each party is mentally. And we all know, a 15 year old mind, is much different than an 18 year old’s. And a 21 year old mind is much different than an 18 year old. This has to do with experience. Someone who’s 21 has experienced much more than someone who’s only 15. So for me a 21 year old is too old for a 15 year old. But a 30 year old, is not too old for a 21 year old. Well, almost. lol I would say a 40 year old, is too old for a 21 year old. There is a difference between the mind and experiences of a 40 year old and a 30 year old. Of course this is all taking into account, people are being as mature as they should be at their age. ie. Good head on their shoulders. Thinking before leaping.

  52. Donna March 10, 2015 at 5:36 pm #

    Warren, Because the girl is the poor innocent victim, not a criminal. The law basically says that a victim of a crime cannot conspire to commit the crime, but the true answer is the first sentence.

    My state still has the old law of fornication on the books. I’ve never seen it used for an adult, however, in my area, I have seen underage girls charged in juvenile court with fornication in the case of stat rape. They are basically sent to a class called “Baby Think it Over” which is essentially a sex ed/parenting impact class.

  53. Donna March 10, 2015 at 5:40 pm #

    And isn’t this whole law a bit paternalistic? We poor females can’t think straight and decide what to do with our own bodies so we need to be controlled by the males of the species. If they fail to act in our best interest, they go to prison.

    I realize that the law is neutral, but good luck finding many women charged under it.

  54. Papilio March 10, 2015 at 6:02 pm #

    @Eric S: “I don’t know what the age of consent is in Ohio. If it’s 15, then he didn’t do anything wrong, except give in to their sexual urges.” And having sex with your girlfriend is wrong, because…..??

    Whenever it’s about a 18-21yo and 15-17yo having sex, people say that was ‘a bad decision’ or ‘wrong’ or whatever. Why? This is completely normal behavior, the only problem is that a bunch of idiotic Amerian politicians who don’t remember being that age and still live in the 1950s signed a law saying it’s illegal.

  55. Donald March 10, 2015 at 6:23 pm #

    Bureaucracy has gone mad. It is a system where rules are followed automatically.

    A psychologist found he was not a sex offender and was unlikely to commit another offense. A judge also agreed and only convicted him of a fourth-degree felony.

    However the mechanical bureaucratic system outranks all people including judges.

  56. BL March 10, 2015 at 6:24 pm #

    “I realize that the law is neutral, but good luck finding many women charged under it.”

    You’re probably right that there aren’t many, but here’s one local to me:

    There was a similar case in the same town, but I can’t find it on the internet.

  57. Donald March 10, 2015 at 6:38 pm #

    There have been several sci fi movies that depict machines taking over the world and humans struggle to re-gain control.

    Actually that story isn’t so unrealistic. We have bureaucracy which is a system of automatic laws (similar to a mechanical device) that outranks human judgement.

  58. k March 10, 2015 at 7:42 pm #

    I’m on an iPad and it won’t let me respond directly to Donna’s comment.

    But I’m not disagreeing with you. I have a son too and don’t think he should end up on the SOA based on bad decisions made as a teen.

    I’m referring more to relationships with teens where the other party is not just a young adult, but a much older adult. A 59 year old man having a sexual relationship with a 15 year old is clearly not ok. But how do we create laws that reflect those standards clearly without creating incidents like the one in Lenore’s post?

  59. Buffy March 10, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

    Even murderers get out on parole before serving their entire sentence, having apparently proven that they know how to behave and will never, ever murder again.

    Why isn’t it the same for sex offenders, particularly THIS sex offender?

  60. Donna March 10, 2015 at 8:07 pm #

    k – While a 59 year old man with a 15 year old is distasteful, I don’t agree that it should be per se criminal. I think the state should have to prove actual coercion, not just presume it by age.

    One of my good high school friends began dating a 40 year old man her senior year of high school. They dated for 2-3 years. Now her husband is around 20 years older than her. They married when she was in her mid 20s and he in his mid 40s. They’ve been together for 20 years. Whatever society thinks about it (nothing now, but it did 20 years ago), they have always been very happy and well-matched. Different strokes for different folks.

    And I still wish that I had been able to do my high school french teacher.

  61. bmommyx2 March 10, 2015 at 8:43 pm #

    I think in this sort of situation it should be up to the parents, but even then some parents make something out of nothing. When I was in High School my best friend was 15 & her boyfriend was 22 & her parents were fine with it, almost happy she wasn’t with a kid. I met my hubby when I was 16, I was 17 when we started to date & he was 22. I think too much emphasis is placed on age, age is a number. They should look at the individuals involved.

  62. old school mama March 10, 2015 at 8:48 pm #

    I’ve read a lot of comments and there’s not a huge consensus on where to draw the line, in what circumstances,etc. That should be the big takeaway. These types of laws try to legislate morality. You can’t do it. What’s acceptable to one person is unacceptable or even abhorrent to another. So let’s leave morality alone, get the law out of it. I’m all for prosecuting true pedophiles (folks, men OR women, for example that like five year olds sexually) but that’s it. If I have a problem with who my son or daughter dates or is involved with then I can deal with it. The law should have more important things to do than decide if an age difference in a relationship is “icky or creepy.”

  63. First Hand Witness March 10, 2015 at 9:02 pm #

    In the heartland of America (mid-west bible belt state), when my 18 yr old nephew had sex with his 15 yr old girlfriend, the PARENTS of the girl found out – got pissed off – and pressed charges. Even though they had both agreed, she was a minor and that was their right. But in doing that, they destroyed his life.

    You read that right – utterly and completely set him up for a life of failure and destroyed his life before it had even begun.

    He’s been in and out of prison for many years now, because at 18 he didn’t go to Juvie (which while still prison is NOT general population), but straight into the adult system. And why has he been in and out of jail? Because when he’s been moving around the country looking for jobs, he forgets to register with the police, and they put out a bench warrant etc. Oh, and he can’t really get a good job because of his lengthy arrest record.

    Is he a saint? No. He had also moved to that state from a southern state – where he was raised, and where it was extremely common for 13-14-15 year olds to not only have sex regularly, but have lots of babies too!! So needless to say it was a SHOCK to him (and my sibling and their family) when this happened.

    I’m not saying we don’t need laws to protect children. But there has to be common sense applied.

  64. PG March 10, 2015 at 9:22 pm #

    The rate of recidivism for registered offenders quite low. About a 4% of registered sex offenders are convicted of a new sex-crime. This rate is the same for non-registered sex offenders which shows the registry is not a deterrent against repeat offenses. The registry also probably decreases public safety. Here’s a quote from a government study on SORN: ” An increased number of defendants were permitted to plead to nonsex charges following the onset of South Carolina’s SORN policy and following its modification to require online notification. The net effects of this change could be to reduce community safety by increasing the likelihood that defendants guilty of sex crimes pleaded to nonsex crimes or were aquitted altogether. Finally, it does not appear that registered sex offenders who failure to register are more sexually dangerous than compliant registrants.” Here’s another article about seven surprising things that might land you on the sex offender registry: The nation should rethink it’s stance on registry laws. The saying is “if you do the crime then you do the time”, not “you do the crime, you might get acquitted by a sympathetic judge. Or, if you’re unlucky, you do the time and are placed on a lifelong stigmatizing registry.”

  65. Warren March 10, 2015 at 9:40 pm #

    What is it with french teachers? I had one in high school, and swear to whatever god you worship, that was the spitting image of Stephanie Powers of Hart to Hart. The only reason I took french every year. And not a doubt in my I would not have hesitated at any offer.

    There was a story of a female teacher having relations with a male student. The commentors were all going on about the boy being a victim, and being emotionally harmed. Yet they only found out about the relationship because he was bragging to all his friends. Sorry but the whole bragging thing makes me doubt he was a victim.

  66. JJ March 10, 2015 at 9:49 pm #

    Donna, “Why should my son be held criminally responsible because his girlfriend had a piss poor parents who didn’t teach her about the consequences of sex?”

    Wow. That’s cold. Every girl who has sex doesn’t understand the consequences (and even if she doesn’t understand them) has “piss poor” parents? There but for the grace of God…

  67. SOA March 10, 2015 at 10:29 pm #

    Papilio: way to be pedantic. 21 year olds are usually in college or have a job and live out of the house. So they would need to find another person that is in that same life situation. So another college student or independent adult. Not a 14 year old that still lives with mommy and daddy. Common sense.

  68. Donna March 10, 2015 at 10:50 pm #

    JJ – That statement was in response to k’s comment that some parents don’t teach their children about the physical consequences of sex. Yes, I do think it is extremely poor parenting to not teach your kids about the physical consequences of sex well before puberty is over. You don’t get to hide your head in the sand about sex at the possible expense of your children’s futures. That certainly doesn’t mean that I harbor any illusions that my daughter definitely won’t get pregnant as a teen. But, if she does, it won’t be because she hasn’t been taught where babies come from and how to prevent them. It will be because knowing and doing are sometimes two completely different things.

  69. Donna March 10, 2015 at 11:00 pm #

    Or rather that should say – That statement was in response to k’s comment that some parents don’t teach their children about the physical consequences of sex and that fact being used as a justification for stat rape laws. I am clueless as to why the fact that some parents make poor choices in educating their children about sex somehow mandates that other people need to go to prison.

  70. Mike March 10, 2015 at 11:38 pm #

    The problem with sex offender registries is that they are politically untouchable. Any proposal to make them sane is instantly denounced. The attack ads write themselves: “My evil opponent wants to release child rapists into YOUR neighborhood! So vote for me and keep your children SAFE.”

    Until the political cost of keeping the registries is greater than the political cost of redesigning them, nothing will change.

  71. Adarec March 11, 2015 at 3:39 am #

    Would anyone reading this not report a 40 year old man living with and having sex with a 12 year old girl? Perhaps most of you would report the situation to the police. But let me add some more details. The girl was one of those 12 year old girls who was 5’6″, 125 lbs and wore a D-cup. She was also able to enter the local bars without being ID’ed. Furthermore, she had dropped out of school (that is grade seven dropout) and had been kicked out of her parents home for 1) refusing to go to school, 2) refusing to obey any curfew – If she came home at all, 3) coming home drunk or high on marijuana. Her name was Cherry. The year was 1982. I met her as the girlfriend of a 17 year old male coworker at a summer job I had that year. He was still living with his parents and she was staying with him. A month after I started that job this 17 year old was stopped by the police and charged with drinking and driving and contributing to the delinquency of a minor. After the arrest, the boys parents kicked the girl out of their home. She entered one of the local bars where she met a 40 year old man who took her to his home, had sex with her, and allowed her to stay as his live in girlfriend.

    As far as i am concerned the age of consent law should be as follows:
    1) Those 16 and over are to be considered legally competent to make sexual decisions unless it can be proven otherwise.
    2) Those under 16 have a limited understanding of sexual decisions which varies with age.
    a) An event with a person under 16 who uses false identification or otherwise misrepresents his or her age, such as entering an establishment restricted to 19 or older as in the example above, should not be criminal. This should also include all those under 16 who can be shown to deliberately seek out relationships with persons over the age of consent, regardless of age.
    b) Only those events where some minimum evidence can be provided that shows that the accused did use the limited understanding of the other(s) involved should be considered for criminal charges. (The best example of this I can come up with at the moment is “to make a false promise of marriage to obtain sex”.)
    c) Individuals with a 2 year age difference or less that enter into sexual activities should be considered to be of comparable understanding of sex and sexual relationships and such events should not be criminal. This does not prevent criminal charges against a 14 year old boy who commits a violent sexual assault against a 14 year old girl. Such an event is outside the coverage of the age of consent laws.

    As for the present laws concerning age of consent I would like you to consider the following situation: The 12 year old girl who is 5’6″, 125 lbs, wearing a D-cup and has false identification showing her to be 19. How many unsuspecting men can end up having their lives destroyed by this 12 year old girl if she should decide to go to a bar with the intent of having sex with men 19 and older just so she can then go to the police and claim she was “statutory raped”?

    As for the Sex Offender Registry, get rid of it entirely. No other crime has such a registry. No other criminal is subject to such arbitrary restrictions. As such it is clearly an unusual punishment. Putting a person on the registry for pissing behind a dumpster or a 14 year old boy on the registry when he gets caught kissing his 11 year old “girlfriend” can only be described as cruel. Cruel and Unusual Punishment. Period.

  72. sexhysteria March 11, 2015 at 4:07 am #

    Insane! In many European countries a 6-7 year difference in age is considered perfectly normal as long as the girl is past puberty. This case is an outrage and all Americans should feel ashamed that it is happening.

  73. hanuman choudhary March 11, 2015 at 11:19 am #

    Call me only girls 18 to 30

  74. SOA March 11, 2015 at 1:56 pm #

    I also think it needs to be a parent permission situation. Since it is legal as someone pointed out to marry at like 16 with parent permission than I would think with parent permission it is okay for an older guy to date a younger girl as long as BOTH sets of parents sign off on it. They would have to sign a document saying they allowed it and that there would be no stat rape should sex happen. Then everyone is protected.

    Let’s give the power back to the parents in parenting their kids. Now they would still need some restrictions because a parent can’t say its okay for their 8 year old to date a 20 year old so maybe set it at 14 or 15 being the minimum age.

  75. Mr. Math March 11, 2015 at 3:52 pm #

    Looks like the discussion got a little bit off topic. The question is not if a 15 year old should be able to consent to sexual activity. The State of Ohio says no, the young man broke the law and he was convicted and served his sentence as seen appropriate by the judge (12 days in jail and probation). The question is NOT whether he broke the law or committed a crime. He plead guilty and was sentenced. This is not in dispute. Whether I or you our your brother thinks a 15 year old knows what they are doing is immaterial. All that matters here is the Ohio criminal code. So far so good.

    The question is about the mandatory registration as a sex offender that comes with that conviction – regardless of the case facts or the two individuals involved and IN SPITE of a personal psych evaluation. A restriction called civil as opposed to punishment, but a restriction that most severely limits every aspect of not only his young man’s life, but also his (current or future) family’s. I dare you to find anyone who is required to register who will not call this punishment in the extreme. Don’t know anyone to ask? You probably do, you may not just be aware. Why am I saying this?

    Some numbers to put this label in perspective – about one in every 150 adult males in this country are required to register as a sex offender (with some basic, rational assumptions). Most for life. Perhaps not as special as you thought.

    The US population is 318,857,056 people. 23.3% are under 18 and 50.8% are female (meaning there are 120,325,174 adult males). There are 819,218 total Registered Sex Offenders in this country. If we (safely) assume that 98% of Registered Sex Offenders are male (this is my best guess from random samples of chunks of 1,000 in different states) then there are 802,834 male sex offenders, and that Registered Sex Offenders are adults (many get on this list as juveniles – as young as 10 or 11 – but they will be adults in a few years), then

    120,325,174 / 802,834 => 149.8 adult males for every Registered Sex Offender

    Not so special, afterall. Eh?

  76. Donna March 11, 2015 at 4:38 pm #

    “Since it is legal as someone pointed out to marry at like 16 with parent permission than I would think with parent permission it is okay for an older guy to date a younger girl as long as BOTH sets of parents sign off on it.”

    So the ADULT’S parents have to sign off on it? No way am I signing off on my adult child dating anyone. Not because I care who my adult child chooses t date, but because it is not any of my business.

  77. Jim Collins March 11, 2015 at 4:45 pm #

    In some places that would be the age of 12. Where I live a 12 year old boy was convicted of murder and placed into the adult penal system. Isn’t it funny, the differences in ages? You can’t drink alcohol until you are 21. You can be drafted and vote at age 18. You can pay taxes at age 16. In some places you can star in an X-rated movie at 18, but, can’t watch it until you are 21.

  78. Anne Huddleston March 11, 2015 at 5:55 pm #

    Bring up this video on your computer and see Ohio public defender, Katherine Ross-Kinzie, make the case that putting a scarlet letter on her client – and potentially others – is cruel and unusual punishment. Midway through, at the 17 and a half minute mark, Ryan Saunders, a young lawyer representing Ohio, argues this is just what Travis Blankenship deserves and it’s no big deal to be on that registry. Many of the judges jump in, too, with surprising questions.

    What makes me nuts here is that the defense attorney failed to list all the many burdens of being labeled a sex offender and being on a public list. The problem of having to go the courthouse to register every 6 months is THE LEAST of Blankenship’s troubles to come. How about not being able to get a decent job, not being able to attend ANY event on his future children’s school grounds, having to explain to his future wife and her family the limitations of his life, having to hide out on Halloween? THAT IS CRUEL AND UNUSUAL PUNISHMENT and these details should be brought to light. She really should have filled in her argument with much more detail. The way she argued, it allowed the prosecutor to say merely going to the courthouse isn’t a big deal.

    And the recidivism quoted, even though it is from a psychologist, is absolutely inaccurate. i can’t imagine this poor guy is going to doge the registry this way.


  79. Jill Scott. March 11, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

    But Anne – the sex offenders registry isn’t punitive, it’s administrative. – Pure sarcasm

  80. Alex March 12, 2015 at 7:19 am #

    Well, 21 and 15 is a pretty big gap for a 15-year-old. Perhaps if he was just 20 a few days before the relationship began and she’s turned 16 a few days after it began I wouldn’t punish for it (so long as there was nothing especially coercive involved other than the age difference).

    25 years on the register? I don’t know. The time frame seems kind of arbitrary. Why not 5 years or a whole lifetime?

    I guess my vote is that the court gets opinions from another psychiatrist. If the second agrees with the first, then consider not putting him on the register. If the second disagrees with the first, then put him on the register.

    I’m not sure the law offers room for such considerations though.

    Either way, his name is out there and that will affect his life.

  81. Papilio March 12, 2015 at 1:59 pm #

    Sorry SOA, the way you put it your statement was so ridiculous I couldn’t resist making fun of it.

  82. Joy March 12, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    Once again, “zero tolerance policies,” uh, “laws” at work here. That’s why I abhor them. They allow for no common sense, no case by case basis analysis of individuals and their individual circumstances. Now, a 21 year old man in this day and age Knows he should Not be having sex with a 15 year old under any circumstances. Therefore part of me does think he also knew that if he got caught, he knew what the consequences could/would be. He was also having an affair. This law has been a law for a very long time.

  83. SOA March 12, 2015 at 6:15 pm #

    Sometimes though the men don’t know how old the girl really is. I have seen and heard with my own eyes and ears girls lie lie lie about their age. I really wonder how much hoops men have to jump through anymore. Ask her age, she lies. Ask for ID, it could be a fake. I mean do they need to go to court first and have a judge okay them to have sex before he proceeds?

    The rape thing is getting about this ridiculous too. It is making it where men are in constant danger of being charged with sexual crimes when there was no actual sexual crime. I fear for my sons.

  84. BMS March 13, 2015 at 10:14 am #

    When my husband and I started dating, I was 19, he was 30. We’ve been together 24 years now. Clearly, we’re meant to last. But three years in the other direction, and this wonderful, loving, supportive guy is a criminal. That makes no freaking sense whatsoever.

  85. Papilio March 13, 2015 at 12:49 pm #

    Just read in the paper that three men will be prosecuted for having sex with a 15-year-old girl: her 23-year-old loverboy and two, eh, “customers” in their forties/fifties. Now THAT is what laws like this should be for.
    It occurred to me that over here there’s the mindset (of police, prosecuters, everyone) that teen sex is basically “okay, unless” (despite the law saying it isn’t!), while in the USA it’s “one way ticket to SOR, unless”.

  86. Andre L. March 15, 2015 at 2:12 pm #

    I think the discussion has conflated a bit, and some people are missing the point, in my opinion.

    What matters is not an absolute age difference, but relative to the younger person (of either gender, I hold older females preying on underage guys as being as despicable as men doing the same with girls).

    People here are mentioning cases like a 25 marrying a 40 y.o. This is a totally different issue. A 25 year-old is a full fledged adult. A 15 student is not. That a 15 y.o. should be able to ride the subway and have proper levels of independence on his/her life doesn’t follow that stranger adults are off the burden not to get in their pants, period.

    So, no, a 21 year-old shouldn’t date a 15 year-old. What is wrong with adults sticking with dating other adults?

    A 15 year-old doesn’t have the emotional maturity to properly address the implications of sex and relationships, and any relationship involving minors and older adults is inherently abusive or imbalanced.

    Note that I’m not saying all teen sex activity should be criminalized, I think appropriate age of consents can be set for activities involving two people of same age group.

    As for the sex offender registry, then I agree it has been abused and overused for purposes far beyond its original protection intents.

  87. Chris in FL March 15, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

    Nobody has mentioned, but this is not our time anymore. I’m 36 and young people have way more information available to them. They are way more mature nowdays both mentally and physically. Sex is everywhere. I know 13-17 year old girls who’ve had more partners than me many times over. They have moms AND dads yet go out looking like a grown woman. No not every, but most are well informed and mature enough to decide for themselves.
    At a gas station one night a beautiful young girl hit on me while pumping gas. I showed her my ring and she asked “whats that supposed to mean”. I asked how old she was surprised by her boldness.
    Seventeen! After telling her i was about old enough to be her dad she advised me of her 31yr old boyfriend. This was no trashy girl. This looked like from my schooldays, a well to do “prep”.
    I see nothing wrong at all with 21 v 15. I see nothing wrong with any sexual relationships regarding age. Not for me personally and i dont agree with 40 v 20 moving in. Or the 40 pursuing the 20. But if a young girl or boy is going to be a mutt, then they’re going to do it. I’m not going to punish who they do it with. By 14 you know if you want someone whether 14 or 44 putting their hands on you.

  88. Bella March 15, 2015 at 4:56 pm #

    Sex Offender Registration is a social death sentence. For life – even though the appellant here has only 25 years, those are his productive adult years. There is also no safeguard against this being extended to life time at any point in those two and a half decades. Should he get off in 25 years his name and information is all over the internet, and many states where the registry depends on the conviction as opposed to current registration status will make him register for life.

    I know several people on this list (no, not me nor anyone in my family). Off the top of my head, here is what this guy’s life will be like for 25 years at a minimum, probably longer.

    – have all his current information out published on the internet. Including home address, work address, vehicle license plates (including anyone in his household – including his wife and MINOR children)
    – pretty much never being able to secure employment over menial labor
    – having to register in person once or twice per year
    – not being able to take his kids to the park
    – never being able to coach his son’s Little League team
    – not being able to watch his son play high school sports or watch his daughter’s choir concert, not being able to attend a parent / teacher conference
    – having to clear all domestic travel over a few days and all international travel ahead of time
    – having to do extensive research when visiting a different state and possibly having to register there in person after a specified period of time
    – being categorically denied entrance into most foreign countries
    – never being able to decorate the house for Halloween
    – depending on the state having to submit all his internet identifiers (like I am using Bella)
    – being subject to all subsequent laws or different states’ laws upon moving, including making the registration requirement lifetime

    – failing to comply with ANY of these restrictions above is most likely a new felony and will put him back in prison. I know several people who have spent a LOT more time in jail or prison for subsequent Failure to Register than they ever got for their ‘heinous’ crime initially. There are many more restrictions. I am just typing here off the top of my head.

    There MUST be a way to make something unacceptable, even criminal, without making it a life sentence. Not only for the person involved, also for his whole family. Current or future. The current system is completely out of whack with the offense.

    It seems cruel and unusual. Where have I heard that?

  89. Britt March 18, 2015 at 10:17 am #

    He is of age and she isn’t. It is statutory rape. End of story. How could a parent NOT think this way?!

  90. Armandito March 18, 2015 at 10:48 am #

    What blows my mind is that a 17 y/o is seen (legally) as a child and unable to make decisions when it comes to sex but at 18 they are seen (legally) as being mature enough to make that decision. Yet two 15 y/o can have sex and it’s ok. But a 15 y/o and 18 y/o it’s stat-rape. I was 15 y/o having sex with females in college and it was great. I knew exactly what I was doing. I had female friends that were 15-16 having sex with guys in college and in their mid-20’s and they knew exactly what they were doing. There wasn’t anyone taking advantage of anyone. But yet we will give a driver’s license to a 15 – 16 y/o and put a 3,ooo lb weapon (car) in their hands and expect them to be mature enough and responsible enough. I was convicted of a sex crime because I fooled around with some random 15 y/o at some party. She is seen as a “child” because of her age, but she sure as hell didn’t act like a child when she came up to me and started rubbing on my d*** and whispered in my ear that she “wants to know what (I) taste like”, proceeded to undo my zipper, and go to work. Now I am labeled a sex offender. A blanket that covers all as if I was someone that molested a child or was caught looking at child porn. Like if I were an uncle that forcefully touched my niece or a step-father that touched their step-child. I didn’t groom this girl nor did I manipulate her. I didn’t prey on her like an animal ready to pounce. I didn’t force her nor did I even ASK her to do it.
    I wasn’t turned on by the fact that she was 15. I was turned on because some random skank was rubbing on my crotch and said she wanted to “taste it”. Now my life is ruined and I am ostracized like a leper. I can’t spend time with my own family because they have minors in the house and it wasn’t even a family member that I caught the charge with.
    The laws for Sex Offenders NEEDS TO BE CHANGED! We are all not animals. We are all not predators.
    There are those of us out there that are well educated, good-hearted people that don’t get turned on by little kids like many of the sick monsters out there.

  91. ifsogirl March 18, 2015 at 9:34 pm #

    I have a cousin, whom at 15, was dating a 21 year old. Only her sister, best friend and I knew. I was worried about her, but I knew she was a smart kid. It was a little weird being 24 at the time and having more in common with him than she did. She is now 29 and expecting their second child after 4 years of marriage.

  92. Warren March 18, 2015 at 10:04 pm #

    It is very easy to not see it that way.
    So the only objection you have is the age? So if they were both 15 and having sex, you would not consider it illegal. Basically saying they know what they are doing. So why does the fact they know what they are doing just because there is an age difference? How do you know she is not the aggressor?

    Sorry but just because there are numbers written into a law, does not mean they are right or moral.

  93. sony March 19, 2015 at 7:41 pm #

    As long as the 15 year old girl is willing to have sex with a 21 year old then there’s nothing wrong with it.

  94. Joel March 19, 2015 at 8:19 pm #

    My mom married my dad at 16 he was 20 and had just returned home from fighting the Japanese in WW2, so was he and others like him sex offenders ?

  95. Olivia March 19, 2015 at 11:04 pm #

    This bull shit if your old enough to lay ur bed and have sex then men and woman like this should be on the fucken list, the list should be for people that do rape, kid nap and have sex and kill ect… you cant rape the fucken willing this young woman and men no damn while what there doing.. this just a waste of the judge and cops and taxes payers time…. for real there nothing wroung with this, most people that age have babies and have normal lifes it all about the parents or ex get pissed and turning people in its so fucken retard