Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Turning Kids Into Criminals

I don’t have any idea who the author is of this blog post but he has written one of the most important essays you will ever read. It’s about the criminalization of adolescent sex. Take a look at this chart:

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The age at which the most people are convicted of “sexual assault” is fourteen. Fourteen. And no doubt some of those were actual sexual assaults. But the vast majority of them were not. The vast majority of them were kids convicted of statutory rape. And they are then, in most states, considered sex offenders for the rest of their lives. A taste of why this essay is so important, first on how easy it is to become one of those statistics:

It takes so little for this happen to a child. A girl in school has oral sex with a boy in school. She becomes a sex offender for the rest of her life. Streaking a school event, as a practical joke, becomes a sex crime in the new America. Two kids “moon” a passerby and are incarcerated in jail as sex offenders, where they may well learn a lesson or two about rape. A teenager, who takes a sexy of photo of him, or herself, is paraded around the community as a “child pornographer” for the rest of his or her life. Two kids in the back seat of a car have fumbling sex. The law says one is an offender because the other is a “victim.” One week later, a birthday passes, and it is no longer a crime. One week’s difference and a life is ruined. In other cases an act that is legal on Monday is illegal on Tuesday because the older of the two turned one year older. That becomes enough to qualify him, or her, as an offender.

These laws are not so much protecting children from predators as they are turning them into predators. Look at this chart. Individuals who are legally defined as sex offenders. When you look at the ages of the offenders you see that 14-year-olds are apparently the most sexually dangerous group in America. The rate declines from there, but throughout adolescence the law is far more likely to deem kids as offenders. You may imagine the dirty old man down the street. But with age people are less likely to “offend”. One reason is that they are more mature. But another reason is clear. Once you reach a certain age, having sex with people your own age is normally not considered a crime. The explosion of “youthful sex offenders” is not the result of our kids becoming perverts. It is the result of the law criminalizing what is a normal part of growing up.

And on the tragic results:

If our children happen to be released then the real torture begins. hey are branded by the cruel laws that opportunistic politicians imposed to satisfy fearful voters. First, the child will be photographed. His or her photo will be published for the world to see, much like the poor boy above. The government hit lists, called sex offender registries, will tell any would-be vigilante where to find this child. The address will be given, if the child is lucky enough to be able to live at home, and not institutionalized.

The sex offender laws will kick in and are guaranteed to destroy any ambition your child may have for success. Any attempts to better themselves, or become productive members of your community, will be throttled by these laws. Every road they try to pursue will become a dead end. It may be impossible for them to finish school. Any job they seek will require them to reveal their “sex offender” status to their employer. Any curious neighbor can find out the “crime” that was committed, though not the circumstances. Years down the road, this child, now an adult, will be listed as someone who committed lewd acts on a child. People will imagine an adult raping a child, not two children playing doctor.

Each time the child moves the police will help him feel welcomed by handing out fliers to the neighbors warning them that a “sex offender” is now living nearby. Rocks thrown through windows can be mild compared to some welcomes that are given. One young man in Maine, opened his door to be executed on the spot, by a stranger. His crime was that he, as a teen, had sex with his girlfriend. In puritanical America that is enough to make him a sex offender. For that he was murdered with his mother only a few feet away. In jurisdiction after jurisdiction this “offender” will find that most of the community is zoned off limits to him. He can’t live too close to a school, too close to a park, too close to a bus stop, too close to…., the list is almost endless and growing all the time.

Every so often he will be required to visit the police and report to them. They may show up at his home anytime they want and demand to inspect it. He could be banned from social networking websites, or from the Internet completely.

If you child grows up to have a family, a normal relationship will be forbidden. He may well be banned from all activities at his children’s school. They may be in a play; he won’t be allowed to watch it. If the kids play on a sport’s team, their father won’t be allowed to attend. Ditto for Little League. Forget having friends over for a birthday party. Dad is a pariah until he dies and his children, and his wife, will be forced to endure the torture with him.

You may well disagree with some of the people he blames this on, but the diagnosis of the problem in our current system is dead on. Even more shameful is that no politician can seriously attempt to fix this without being the victim of demagoguery and fear-mongering, accusations of being pro-child molestation and the like. Because in our political system, such lies actually work, just like all the get-tough rhetoric that ruins millions of lives for no good reason. Such is the reality of our criminal injustice system.