Friday, October 21, 2005

Equal Protection revisited

The Kansas Supreme Court recently held that the state cannot hold a person who commited underage sex longer simply because the act was homosexual. In the case, an 18 year old man was convicted of engaging in sexual acts with a 14 year old boy. (Apparently, they both lived in a group home for the mentally disabled, but that seems to be an answer to how as opposed to any real pertinent issue in the holding.) He was then convicted to a 17 year sentence. Had one of the parties in the act been a female, the Kansas "Romeo and Juliet" law would have capped the sentence at 15 months.

Now, let it be known that the man did partake in sex with a minor, and that crime deserves to be punished. That's a strict liability issue, and one that doesn't merit debate, not to mention, it's rather creepy, in my opinion. However, I think the Kansas Supreme Court made the right decision with regards to how to treat the act. The crime should stop at "sex with a minor;" it shouldn't include "homosexual = worse."

6 comments:

Gramma said...

Good for Kansas. Equal means equal, just like no means no. I wish the homophobes would get a new hobby.

red.hot.mamma! said...

I agree with you, Steve, except I hardly consider any 18 year-old male to be a "man," developmentally impaired or otherwise!

red.hot.mamma! said...

Also, I think we as a society should revisit the statutory rape thing. I feel it should be based on the age of the "adult" in comparison to the age of the minor. If it's an 18 year old and a 15 or 16 year old, no penalty (hey - we all went to high school once & I recall that it was almost every freshman girl's goal to bag her a senior boy, especially ones of the varsity football player variety). If the adult is say, 30 and the minor is 16, then a higher penalty and so on. I also think it's ridiculous to make the person register as a sex offender if they dated a 16 or 17 year old when they were 18 or 19. "Sex offender" sounds to me like "creepy pervert" or "child molester." Two teens/young adults getting it on really doesn't fit in with that. Just my two cents.

Steve said...

Now, from my days in Junior College, I remember, somewhat sketchily, that Washington State (and probably others) does not have a statutory rape law per se. They have a tiered type system, where 14 and 15 years olds are allowed to "date" people up to 2 years older than they, 16-17 can date up to 5 years older, and 18 and up are adults. I don't know that this is still the case - it's been ten years since I dropped out of Junior College. But that would probably work into a revisit of the statutory rape issue...

Gramma said...

Nobody asked, but I'll tell you my experience with this anyway. I occasionally work with "offenders." For example, an 11 yr old boy who is inappropriate with a child younger, perhaps 9 yrs old. What Child Protection Services looks at is relative age and difference of power. An older child may be molesting in any number of ways including (and I have had to report all of these) fondling, flashing, showing porn, engaging younger children in group groping, and sexual remarks/invitations. Even children of the same age, if one obviously is stronger or has more physical or psychological power than the other... So it doesn't necessarily follow that one is considered an adult. Imagine my surprise, one day a few years back, to see a poster depicting one of my former students who was now (is that even English?) a registered pedophile. I had suspected, but he would never reveal to me that he was being molested. By third grade he had learned not to tell.

Michelle said...

17 years?? That's just insane. I spent all of last week in trials, nearly all were lawful and unlawful carnal knowledge matters. In my State, we pre record the kids evidence and it's shown via closed circut televison to the jury at trial. It's much less evasive for the children and takes a lot of the fear out having to be in the same room as the defendant.
The men/boys in my matters, if found guilty will serve around 2 years dependaing if it's their first offence or not. 17 years is just plain cruel. Many of my clients were willing participants and if only for the parents finding out and reporting to police, these guys would still be walking round.