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Author Topic: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!  (Read 5431 times)

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Offline TransgirlensteinTopic starter

14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« on: October 20, 2009, 01:21:01 PM »
http://freestudents.blogspot.com/2009/09/there-is-fury-and-and-sadness-inside.html


A blog post about how with American law, teenagers who are exploring their sexuality with each other are being labeled as "sex offenders" for life.

Offline Jefepato

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #1 on: October 20, 2009, 01:36:21 PM »
Frankly, the sex offender registry as applied would be messed up and quite arguably unconstitutional even if it only included people who committed actual dangerous sex crimes.

Offline Trieste

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Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #2 on: October 20, 2009, 01:46:41 PM »
Um...

I don't know how much this blogger knows about Megan's Law, but the simple exploration of a child of 14, if it were marked as a sex offence at all, would probably be a level 1 if anything... which means the cops keep their names on file but don't disseminate the info (in most states, anyway). It's not like they're parading this person's name and address around to the masses.

It's really not right, but it's not the horrible zomg tragedy crying-at-the-picture thing that the blogger has over-dramaticized it to be.

Offline Morven

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #3 on: October 20, 2009, 01:50:35 PM »
Stuff like this infuriates me.  Is it possible to even tell, on these sex registry lists, who's on there for consensual "crimes" with others more or less their own age?

Oh, and it's not just about Megan's Law, the national law, it's about state laws, which are often broader than them.  So it's hard to say what this info means without investigating that particular state's law and practices.

Offline Morven

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #4 on: October 20, 2009, 02:07:58 PM »
Oh, on further review; the first case, where the details are visible, is in Idaho.  He was convicted under Idaho statute 18-1508, which reads:

Quote
18-1508.  LEWD CONDUCT WITH MINOR CHILD UNDER SIXTEEN. Any person who
shall commit any lewd or lascivious act or acts upon or with the body or any
part or member thereof of a minor child under the age of sixteen (16) years,
including but not limited to, genital-genital contact, oral-genital contact,
anal-genital contact, oral-anal contact, manual-anal contact, or
manual-genital contact, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex,
or who shall involve such minor child in any act of bestiality or
sado-masochism as defined in section 18-1507, Idaho Code, when any of such
acts are done with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the
lust or passions or sexual desires of such person, such minor child, or third
party, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be imprisoned in the state prison
for a term of not more than life.

Now, that's a pretty scarily open-ended law.  I did not find any law that qualifies that by making it not criminal if the parties are close in age, and note that this boy was convicted at age fifteen.  The text of the law states, paraphrased, if you do anything physical to anyone under sixteen with the intent of ... well, even "appealing to their passions", it appears ... you are a criminal.  Technically a kiss might even qualify, if done lewdly or lasciviously enough.  No matter how old you are.

Now, one could speculate that Idaho prosecutors don't prosecute every case of under-sixteens making out, and that thus this boy might have been an extreme case, for instance very sexual acts with a very much younger girl, but the scary part is that the basic reading of the law says he didn't have to be doing much at all, and that if someone had a desire to punish, it could have been no more than that.

Offline Trieste

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Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #5 on: October 20, 2009, 02:13:57 PM »
Stuff like this infuriates me.  Is it possible to even tell, on these sex registry lists, who's on there for consensual "crimes" with others more or less their own age?

Yep, date of offence is on the record. It shows as being 2006 - and he's born in 1991, makes him ~15

Offline Elayne

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #6 on: October 20, 2009, 02:33:15 PM »
There were a spate of cases throughout the last year or teenagers 'sexting' (that is, sending nude images via cellphone) and being arrested for child pornography, etc.

I know of one case in Florida where a 18 year old got a nude picture from his 17 year old girlfriend and got smacked with the sex offender tag.

I believe there were other younger kids who got smacked with the sex offender tag due to sexting as well.

Offline Morven

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #7 on: October 20, 2009, 02:39:01 PM »
Yep, date of offence is on the record. It shows as being 2006 - and he's born in 1991, makes him ~15

I found that, but it doesn't say how old the other person was, except that they had to be under sixteen as well.  The statute doesn't differentiate between day-before-sixteenth-birthday and birth, and there doesn't seem to be any language making it not a crime if they were close in age.

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2009, 02:39:52 PM »
This situation is a real mess. The law just doesn't really seem to know what to do about the sexuality of anyone past puberty and prior to the age of majority. And it certainly doesn't help that there are multiple overlapping federal laws and differences in most every state law on the subject.

An interesting book on this topic is Judith Levine's Harmful to Minors: The Perils of Protecting Children From Sex, which covers sex law, sex ed, and abortion as related to minors in the USA.

Offline Morven

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2009, 02:43:19 PM »
I also note that you can get married at fifteen in Idaho, with parental or judicial consent.  I'm not sure if you can have sex once you're married, but in most states you can even if you would otherwise be under the age of consent.

Talk about mixed messages.

Offline Oniya

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Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2009, 02:43:51 PM »
Some states have what's called a 'Romeo and Juliet' clause - something that eliminates the statutory rape offense for the gray area where one of the pair has turned 18, but the other is still 16 or 17.  Not all do, though - Ohio is one that doesn't, and we had to read the riot act to an acquaintance who kept telling us he was taking his 16-year-old girlfriend off to make out.  (He could have been hit with a misdemeanor, since her parents didn't like him, but those of us well over 18 could have been tagged as accomplices.)

Offline All Powerful Nateboi

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2009, 03:22:26 PM »
I've done rants on my show about this stuff. Plain and simple, we need to either get the hell rid of the Sex Offender tag as a legal situation, or...actually, we just need to get rid of it.

FOr starters, sex offenses are the only crime in this country where you have to keep being punished after you're done being punished. We don't have special laws dictating what people who commited robbery or murder or arson can do after they get out of prison (not counting the generic "You've been a felon so you lose X, Y, and Z rights" that everyone who's committed a felony gets). Which is funny, because sex offenders are actually the least likely to re-offend (Well, ok. If we're being pedantic, they're the least likely to commit another crime, but those that do are more likely to commit another sex crime in specific. As opposed to, let's say, murderers who get out of prison and go on to commit armed robbery). So they're less likely to reoffend, and yet they're the only criminal that has to keep being punished for the rest of their life,e ven after they're done with prison.

Where the *shit* is this kind of thing right or just? It's not. It's vengence, plain and simple. And now its vengence that's being slapped upon our children, people we claim to be protecting.

Offline Trieste

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Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2009, 03:25:14 PM »
Please bring forth the numbers if you're going to debate a stance like that. Tits Sources or gtfo, etc.

Offline Morven

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2009, 03:26:58 PM »
Please bring forth the numbers if you're going to debate a stance like that. Tits Sources or gtfo, etc.

Who was that directed at?  What stance?  Just a little unclear here.

Offline Oniya

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Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2009, 03:33:47 PM »
Which is funny, because sex offenders are actually the least likely to re-offend (Well, ok. If we're being pedantic, they're the least likely to commit another crime, but those that do are more likely to commit another sex crime in specific. As opposed to, let's say, murderers who get out of prison and go on to commit armed robbery). So they're less likely to reoffend, and yet they're the only criminal that has to keep being punished for the rest of their life,e ven after they're done with prison.

http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/71876/recidivism_among_sex_offenders.html?cat=17

To summarize the article, the chances that a sex offender will re-offend are four times what the chances are that another criminal will re-offend.

Offline Trieste

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Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2009, 03:36:55 PM »
Who was that directed at?  What stance?  Just a little unclear here.

The post that immediately precedes it, Morven. You know, the one that gives unsupported stats. :P

Offline TransgirlensteinTopic starter

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2009, 03:39:28 PM »
I absolutly disagree with getting rid of the sex offender status.

I do agree that kids like the ones mentioned in the article above though should not be classified as a sex offender.

Offline All Powerful Nateboi

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2009, 03:49:23 PM »
http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/crimoff.htm#recidivism

RIght there. Sex offenders are less likely overall to commit another crime, though when they do, they are 4 times more likely to commit a sex offense (that is, they're liable to commit the same crime, where as other criminals are more likely to commit *any* crime).

The problem with the sex offender tag is that it was sworn up and down that only the really really bad and horrible and nasty criminals would ever get it. Only the rapist and the child diddlers. But now we've got people getting sex offender tags for humping a picnic table in their own back yard because their back yard is within two hundred yards of a school, or slapping it on people because they got drunk and pissed on a tree and two kids happened to live nearby.

It stopped being about "horrible, nasty sex offenders" and has started to be used for anything that might remotely even a little bit possibly have to do with sex bits maybe.

Offline Oniya

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Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #18 on: October 20, 2009, 03:55:32 PM »
From that same source:

Within 3 years of release, 2.5% of released rapists were rearrested for another rape, and 1.2% of those who had served time for homicide were arrested for a new homicide.

Sex offenders were about four times more likely than non-sex offenders to be arrested for another sex crime after their discharge from prison 5.3 percent of sex offenders versus 1.3 percent of non-sex offenders.

Approximately 4,300 child molesters were released from prisons in 15 States in 1994. An estimated 3.3% of these 4,300 were rearrested for another sex crime against a child within 3 years of release from prison.

On a given day in 1994 there were approximately 234,000 offenders convicted of rape or sexual assault under the care, custody, or control of corrections agencies; nearly 60% of these sex offenders are under conditional supervision in the community.

Of the 9,691 male sex offenders released from prisons in 15 States in 1994, 5.3% were rearrested for a new sex crime within 3 years of release.

Offline All Powerful Nateboi

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #19 on: October 20, 2009, 03:57:56 PM »
Right. Those that do commit crimes are much more likely to commit sex crimes.

I said that.

Offline Merlyn

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #20 on: October 20, 2009, 03:58:07 PM »
(Although I didn't read the blog, just skimmed it and I am admitting that.)

I'm guessing that most of the children that were on the blog as sex offenders were for kiddie porn.  The law does not differentiate between the ages of people other than those who are in the photographs.  This is a very good thing, because it allows for the ability to push kids who are 'sexually abusing' others by passing around photos and what not from sexual harassment to child pornography charges.

There are many kids out there that do some really effed up things, and will undoubtedly turn into effed up people for whatever reasons.

As far as sex between minors goes, many states have a lower age of sexual consent that the age of majority.  Ohio, for instance is sixteen and four years apart.  So, a sixteen year old could conceivably have sex with a twenty year old, but not someone twenty one or older.  Nor could they have sex with an eleven year old, but there may be some leeway with anyone older.  (I'm not so sure on the aspect of under 16 but I do know there is some leeway.)

I do know this for a fact in Ohio, because I had a friend that tried to go after her ex for statutory rape.  (And I wish she had been able to, if you ask me he should have gotten rape charges regardless of the age difference.)  And even though the sex could be proven while she was 15, he was a small ways away from four years of difference. 

But the laws are there for a reason.  And no, it's not ultimately just because the government is full of conservative morons who think that sex is evil.  The rules are there because of society, and came into society for practical reasons. 
Birth control is only so effective, and with that during any intercourse there is a chance of pregnancy.  Now, girls can become pregnant at a very young age, and it can do a lot of damage to their bodies.  Not to mention, that not everyone has the means to take care of a child with a child.  What would happen if all of a sudden it was accepted for over emotional kids to be allowed to have sex at their own will?  Pregnancy would skyrocket, and that would end up costing the government, and taxpayers, a lot of money because many of the 'mothers' would need financial assistance.

Now, as far as the kids being labeled sex offenders, it is obviously not the same as if they were labeled such as an adult.  I say this because I'm sure they are not all now home schooled.  Since if you are convicted of a sexual offense, especially if it involves a minor, there are certain rules you must abide by, such as in many cases not being allowed to live within a certain radius of any school and not being allowed to enter onto school grounds. 
But, if you had a teenage daughter who was dating a boy wouldn't you want to know if that boy had been arrested, let alone convicted, for statutory rape, or for sending nude pictures of another girl around a school.  Or coercing her to send them to him, or even for just keeping the pictures.

Offline MercyfulFate

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2009, 04:12:44 PM »
Sex offender laws are a bit screwy, honestly. There's a HUGE difference between a 40 year old and a 15 year old, and a 17 year old and a 15 year old. Of course the exact age differs from place to place, but come on.

I realize a line has to be drawn somewhere, but if it's consensual and the age difference is almost negligible, like 16-15 or 17-15....I don't get it.

Offline Morven

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2009, 07:49:32 PM »
I'm guessing that most of the children that were on the blog as sex offenders were for kiddie porn.  The law does not differentiate between the ages of people other than those who are in the photographs.  This is a very good thing, because it allows for the ability to push kids who are 'sexually abusing' others by passing around photos and what not from sexual harassment to child pornography charges.

The boy highlighted at the top was convicted of "lewd conduct" (basically, touching designed to arouse himself, the other person, or a hird party) with another under-sixteen-year-old. 

The rest, it doesn't say.  And the problem is that the law as written does not distinguish between two fifteen year olds doing a little through-the-clothes touching and the fifteen year old physically molesting an unwilling five year old.  Both are technically the same offence.

I also suspect that aside from the knowledge of the convicted offense, the records are sealed for pretty much all these cases, so knowing whether these kids are harmless technical offenders or scary sociopaths is pretty much impossible.

I think some would presume that they tend more towards the latter and that prosecutions would not go forward unless the underlying actions were toward the worse end of the possible scale, but I've seen some things of how the criminal justice system works, and read about a whole lot more, and you can't guarantee that.

It only requires one out of three of the following for prosecution even in one of those more minor cases: a very angry parent of the other kid (especially if they're well-off or otherwise influential), a zealous prosecutor, or a kid whose family don't have the money (or don't care) to get him proper defense counsel.  If two out of three are the case, he's in trouble. 

As to statistics; the stats that are being thrown around in here are, I'm sure, for adult sex offenders, and thus don't really shed much light on any of this for the specific case of people who get convicted of possibly consensual sex crimes when they are themselves children.

It deeply disturbs me that we have laws on the books that could send a fifteen year old to jail "up to life" for consensual making out with someone else the same age.

It also disturbs me that we have a system where he is then classified the same as someone who did something much worse.

It's also bad in the sense that if the sex offender registry is increasingly used for very minor crimes, that its utility is diminished.  Do they really want a situation where people think that everyone so registered probably just urinated in public or had a seventeen-year-old girlfriend when they were eighteen?

Because that's the ultimate end result.  And as more people hear about cases when minor things got someone forced to register as a sex offender, the more it'll happen, and the more that the actual bad people this is supposed to protect against will be able to claim that actually they hadn't done anything all that bad, "did you hear about that guy on the news who has to register as a sex offender for public urination?  That's about what I'm on there for ..."

Offline Serephino

Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2009, 09:08:17 PM »
I understand why things like Megan's law were put in place, but it really is getting out of hand.  I've heard cases where a 19 year old kid is at a college party and sleeps with a girl whom he assumes is at least 18 because um... they're at a college party.  Then come to find out she was 16 and party crashed.  The guy finds this out when being arrested for stautory rape.  He gets put on the sex offender list and labeled for life.  That's some really fucked up shit.  When you're young, drunk, and horny, is it really realistic to expect you to do a background check on someone you're thinking about having sex with?

I won't argue that teen pregnancy is a bad thing, but the answer isn't making it a crime to have sex.  The answer is better education.  Many of the women I know don't know how to tell when they're most likely to get pregnant.  To me, that's scary. 

My school had piss poor sex education.  One day in the 5th grade the boys and girls were separated and taken to two different rooms.  We watched a video on the mechanics.  That was it.  Oh, we watched a little presentation about STD's sometime in high school, or was it middle school?  I can't remember. 

Offline Trieste

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Re: 14 year olds are Sex offenders?!
« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2009, 09:14:24 PM »
When you're young, drunk, and horny, is it really realistic to expect you to do a background check on someone you're thinking about having sex with?

I dunno, does being young, drunk, and horny excuse you from a DUI? Sure, it's stupid, but it's stupid not to ask a girl "how old are you?" before you bang her.