When Parents Freak Out And Justice Falls By The Wayside

Her’s the setup, although you should check out the link below:

Parents are aware that their 14-year-old daughter is in a same-sex relationship with a 17-year-old girl.  In Florida, as in most states, the age of sexual consent is 18 years.  And in Florida, as in every state, millions of teenagers, both hetero- and homosexual, have sex when both are under that age.

The younger girl’s parents don’t like that their daughter is in a relationship with another girl.  So, when her girlfriend turns 18, as she recently did, they get the police to file felony child sex abuse charges against her because she is now an “of-age” adult having sexual relations with an underage child.  After all, no one should ever think they’re bad parents by trying to understand their daughter or offer her a modicum of respect or anything — no, they’re going to make their point, and now an 18-year-old young woman faces either accepting a plea deal on felony sex crime charges that would require that she register as a sex offender, or risks going to trial.

The older girl rejects the plea deal.  Her parents, wiser, more mature, and infinitely more reasonable than the younger girl’s parents, take to the Internet to protest what they and their attorney — and anybody who’s not a foaming-at-the-mouth homophobe — knows is a particularly ugly example of selective prosecution.  The case stirs up a storm, as it should, even after the older girl offers to cease all contact with her girlfriend and move out of the state.

I live in a town where a young man confessed to one charge of the grossest kind of sexual contact with a preschool-aged girl, acknowledged similar contact with as many as 70 more children, and served just under a year in jail.  He went on to participate in a set-up marriage two years ago with one of Doug Wilson’s New Saint Andrews students — he, also, was an NSA scholar and was involved in Christ Church and its various ministries — and, as a lifelong parolee, will forever be barred from spending time alone, ever, with even his own children if he should ever have them.

He is someone for whom sex-crimes laws were made.  The man who raped me 32 years ago was someone for whom sex-crimes laws were made.  Anybody who engages in sex with anyone, ever, under any circumstance, without that person’s consent is someone who should be the focus of sex-crimes legislation, and any adult who, as an adult, trolls for someone younger than the age of consent AND is more than, say, a four-year high school age difference from his or her partner should be dealt with through sex-crimes legislation.

But untold millions of 17- and 18-year-old men have sex with their 14-, 15-, and 16-year-old girlfriends, and while there might be lots of reasons why that’s lamentable, most people recognize that bad judgment and teenage passion are not the same thing as a sex crime.  And while I’m sure many parents are confused and upset that their teenage lesbian daughter is having sex with her just-out-of-teenage partner, they turn to counselors, pastors, friends, and other supportive people to help them understand who their daughter is and what it is she’s doing.  They may set limits, they may restrict contact, and they may — or may not — try to get to know their daughter.

They don’t turn their hatred of homosexuality into a sex-crimes billy club to hammer their daughter’s girlfriend.   They don’t involve the courts in attempting to confirm their fear, anger, and hysteria, and they don’t draft the State into their war against common-sense application of sex-crimes laws that are designed to protect true victims.

I pray that if the older young woman goes to trial — which I find mind-boggling just on the face of it — she’s found not guilty.  I hope the parents face the opprobation and disdain of their community.  And I eagerly await the day that law isn’t used to confirm the worst prejudices and fears of those who, while offended, are not victims of anything other than their own unwillingness to take a deep breath, love their daughter, and find ways to support her as she grows up.

Sadly, there’s nothing on the books that addresses that.  It’s a pity.

 

http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2013/05/24/2061561/florida-teen-rejects-plea-deal-on-felony-charges-for-same-sex-relationship/

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