Why I hate statutory rape laws

Update: aTypical Joe nicely ties this story in with William Saletan’s piece in Slate last week about “the age of consent” and emotional development of teenagers in which he offered some concrete proposals to revamp sex laws. Read ‘em both. Saletan concludes with:

I’d draw the object line at 12, the cognitive line at 16, and the self-regulatory line at 25. I’d lock up anyone who went after a 5-year-old. I’d come down hard on a 38-year-old who married a 15-year-old. And if I ran a college, I’d discipline professors for sleeping with freshmen. When you’re 35, “she’s legal” isn’t good enough.

What I wouldn’t do is slap a mandatory sentence on a 17-year-old, even if his nominal girlfriend were 12. I know the idea of sex at that age is hard to stomach. I wish our sexual, cognitive, and emotional maturation converged in a magic moment we could call the age of consent. But they don’t.

Original: It’s because of stories like this. There are several things about this that really piss me off. First, the accused is the 18-year old boyfriend of a 15-year old girl. However, the story refers to him as a “man” and the “victim” as a girl. Second, the sex was consensual. Third, the people with whom the 18-year old boy was living make it seem like he stabbed them in the back.

Police Chief James Strillacci says he’s upset that a young man he and his wife tried to help allegedly took advantage of their generosity.

The Strillaccis had taken Keith Armstrong into their home this past summer to give him temporary shelter from a broken home, according to the chief.

Taken advantage of their generosity? By having sex with his girlfriend? Huh? He’s an 18-year old boy with a girlfriend. What did you expect?

To those of you who might remember that Connecticut recently changed its “Romeo and Juliet” law to exempt from prosecution those teens who were within three years of each other, the story is quick to point out that the boy is 3 years and fifteen days older than the girl. Clearly those fifteen days make the difference between a predator and just kids having sex.

Perhaps the prosecutor will be sensible enough to nolle the charges; otherwise this kid is looking at jail time and lifetime registration as a sex offender.

How did the cops find out? The girl’s step-father. Parenting by prosecution.

These laws are just plain stupid. I’m pretty sure this is exactly what the legislature intend to preclude from prosecution and yet here we are.

29 thoughts on “Why I hate statutory rape laws

  1. Woman in Black

    Oh, man, I hate that kind of case. Every one should get tried. (I know, that’s not realistic). But fifteen year old girls iniate it frequently. Poor kids.

    Reply
  2. Gideon Post author

    [quote comment=”6407″]Oh, man, I hate that kind of case. Every one should get tried. (I know, that’s not realistic).

    But fifteen year old girls iniate it frequently. Poor kids.[/quote]

    It really is sad. Now, for no good reason (and that too because of only 15 days), this kid’s life might be ruined.

    Who does this benefit? Maybe the step-father, but that’s it.

    Reply
  3. Audacity

    I had a misdemeanor statutory rape case last year that was dismissed because the prosecutor felt the “victim” initiated it AND she wasn’t the kind of girl that the laws were meant to protect. Who say’s prosecutorial discretion is dead? (Actually, I say that. All. the. time.)

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  4. Ruth

    Here, they have to be 4 years apart in age, but it’s still a felony, even if it’s consensual. It also doesn’t matter whether the girl or the boy is older. The older of the two get prosecuted. How’s that for nonsensical?

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  5. Gideon Post author

    [quote comment=”6434″]Here, they have to be 4 years apart in age, but it’s still a felony, even if it’s consensual. It also doesn’t matter whether the girl or the boy is older. The older of the two get prosecuted. How’s that for nonsensical?[/quote] I think it should be a matter of simple subtraction. If you’re 18 and the other person is 15, then you’re 3 years older, regardless of whether it is 3 years and 2 days or 3 years and 200 days.

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  6. Gideon Post author

    [quote comment=”6429″]I had a misdemeanor statutory rape case last year that was dismissed because the prosecutor felt the “victim” initiated it AND she wasn’t the kind of girl that the laws were meant to protect. Who say’s prosecutorial discretion is dead? (Actually, I say that. All. the. time.)[/quote]
    Ah, the slut defense?

    Glad to hear that they’re at least misdemeanors.

    Reply
  7. Audacity

    The misdemeanor agg child molestation is new (as of July 2006). Felony agg. child molestation (20 year old guy, 15 year old girl) carries MINIMUM 25 years in prison. And how is aggravated defined? Oral sex.

    Genius really.

    Reply
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  9. Elton

    I am starting treatment here in a few days, where I will be forced to submit to polygraph tests that ask me everything I’ve been doing, if I’ve been around minors or anything, if I fail I get 10 days in jail, multipul failures means prison time… I got convinced of statuatory rape because I consensually had sex with a 15 year old and her dad pressed charges…

    Lame, the law is bogus

    Reply
  10. Elton

    [quote comment=”7906″]I am starting treatment here in a few days, where I will be forced to submit to polygraph tests that ask me everything I’ve been doing, if I’ve been around minors or anything, if I fail I get 10 days in jail, multipul failures means prison time… I got convinced of statuatory rape because I consensually had sex with a 15 year old and her dad pressed charges…

    Lame, the law is bogus[/quote]

    I turned 18 in december last year too

    Reply
  11. innocence

    my cousin is 18 and is in a holding cell for statutory rape with a 14 year old… in new york… how much jail time can he get?

    Reply
  12. lindsey

    My friend who is fourteen, had sex with a guy that was 22. According to this law she was raped, according to her she wanted it. The law states even if she wanted sex it was illegal. I’m on both sides. How long can this guy go to jail? What’s the minimum, and maximum time that he could go to jail for this?

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  13. Henry Ward, Running Wolf

    A Statutory law, any Statute in any state, is presumed to be Unconstitutional until proven conclusively otherwise! Every woman ever born is capable of being a rape victim and she is also capable of being of prostituting herself is she not? And under this established fact, what exactly is considered rape anyway? Isn’t it an established fact that a woman can rape any other women? And isn’t it an established fact that any woman ever born is by law considered to be a prostitute? After all, she does possess the tools of that trade if you will. President Clinton said it best describe ”SEX” and he was right on target was he not? I personally challenge you or anyone to find the word “SEX” in any law dictionary! Enough said, STATUTES themselves are not laws, they are merely a fictitious presumption of laws, the Constitution of the United States is in fact the ”ONLY” law in America, the Supreme Law of this country…the only law in this country! Running Wolf, Indigenous Natural Person…….May God bless us all……..

    Reply
  14. troy

    my friend who is 17 in the state of texas had a girlfriend the age of 14 had had sexual intercourse and her dad found out and now is wanting to press charged on the male for rape. is that possible they both wanted the sex but we are in texas let me know

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  15. J. Dykstra

    How about this one. My son decided to loose his virginity at 14 behind the school he goes to (after school one day) with his 15 year old girlfriend. They got caught (dead to right by 3 adult witnesses’) and both jumped up. She grabbed her pants and ran, he blocked her from view and faced the music. They called the cops he gave an honest statement and we knew both would be out of school over this. They cancelled our school meeting pending further investigation? Turned out that in her IEP meeting she tried to get back in school by stating that he forced her! After finding out from the 3 adult witnesses that they were both willing participants, they were assigned tutors and out of school for the last 2 months of the year. All of a sudden I get a form from the court stating that they are trying to charge my son with 4th degree CSC! But no charges were filed at all on her! The lawyer said that he could probably get it dropped but that the prosecutor might want to play hard ball and charge them both with Statutory Rape! A worse offense he claims so that maybe my son should plea bargin take the 2 years probation as long as he doesn’t have to be on the Offender’s List in Michigan! I have a friend that is looking into this in our county in juvenile court because she doesn’t think that they have ever had this come up! Well I say, you are not setting precedence with my son! I told the lawyer get the CSC charge dropped and if they want to go to court on the other will be there with the media! And let’s see if they charge them both, she’s 9 months older then him and has gotten into previous trouble at school, my son never has! Any thoughts on this fiasco?

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  16. A Boy Named Sue Do Nym

    So, back in the day, in Connecticut, I was precisely 27 days older than my then-girlfriend, and the normal sorts of things that go on between a boyfriend and a girlfriend went on, and as it turns out, the father (who did not thoroughly approve of the boyfriend, probably for good reasons) worked real, real hard to get both the proof of certain obvious activities and a prosecution for statutory rape.

    It’s been, well, some years now, but I don’t look back on that time with a whole lot of warm fuzzies.

    Reply
  17. nervousss

    OK. so say if an 18 year old forces a 15 year old to have sex.. she says no but doesnt push him off … is it still considered statutory rape?

    Reply
        1. nervousss

          california. and say if he admits unknowingly to it over a police monitered phone call? are they allowed to do that. is he facing deep crap

          Reply
    1. Gene

      No means no. She shouldn’t have to physically fight him off, simply saying no SHOULD be sufficient. If he continues and has sex, it is not statutory rape, it is rape plain and simple.

      Reply
      1. Coloradolawer

        Well, I’m a woman and an attorney, and I find the trite platitude, “no means no,” is generally ridiculous to allow a woman to claim she was raped. I’ve had cases where this is exactly what the girl alleged, all the while admitting, the guy did NOT force her, did NOT hit her, did NOT have a weapon, did NOT threaten her in any way. She simply maintains that after saying no, he had sex with her.

        But think about it. The fact that a woman might start out saying no to man’s advances doesn’t mean she can’t change her mind within minutes of the kissing and fondling starting. And, if a woman doesn’t want sex, then how does the guy get her clothes off? Are we supposed to believe that women are so stupid that they would tell a guy “no” and then simply, passively allow the man to pull down her pants, remove her underwear, take off her bra, and then wait for him to either get undressed himself? and then just lie back and let the guy have sex with her? Is this what we’re teaching young girls these days?

        So we’re to believe that girls simply allow themselves to be raped, all while she’s allegedly saying, “no, no?” but making no effort to rebuff him otherwise? I don’t believe it. I think a woman’s actions should comport with her words. If she doesn’t want sex, and the word “no” doesn’t stop him, she needs to slap him, or push him away, unless of course, there is a weapon involved, and resistance would be futile.

        Reply
  18. kelly james

    you know i feel bad about this law..i was days away from being 16 and was with a guy that was 24, and i left him or we just stopped talking i cant really remember anymore..but i remeber going off with him one day and my parents wanted me to stay at home..but i left with him. and the police came to the his house, and threatened him..i think thats why we stopped talking..anyways a few days later he get’s arrested, and i looked at his booking charges on the internet, and it’s horrible he’s still in jail after 2 years and they still havent went to court, but i know it was child molestation, sodomy, distribution of alchol to a minor,aggravated child molestation, sexual battery. I will admit i was very seductive, and i looked 20 and i had lied about my age in the beggining. i just dont understand how the law can be so ludacris.

    Reply

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