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.