Statutory is statutory, same sex, opposite sex

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Maybe I’m just confused, but what’s the kerfuffle over Floridian Kaitlyn Hunt, who’s been charged with a felony for having a relationship with a 15-year-old girl?  Same sex, opposite sex, still statutory, still a crime.

kaitlynmug

It’s Florida, so anti-gay bias isn’t out of the question; and a felony seems to be a little heavy-handed, but on the other hand, that appears to be the law in Florida, as it is the law in many other states.  Even in the progressive state of Illinois, the state legislature voted against the “Romeo and Juliet” bill, which “would have allowed sex offenders to petition to have their names and mug shots removed from the sex offender registry if their conviction involved sexual relations with someone at least 14-years-old and the offender was not more than 4 years older than the sexual partner.”

What I’m struggling with is the outcry.  A petition drive in favor of Hunt has garnered 40,000 signatures.  A group called “Free Kate” has come to life.  It appears that this case has been positioned as a slap against gay rights, and Hunt has become the poster child for anti-gay bias.

How come?

Call me crazy, but I believe firmly that the statutory laws are in place for a reason – to prevent the exploitation of young men and women who don’t have the ability to make informed decisions, who don’t have the ability to “consent.” Moving the boundaries on what constitutes statutory rape is a slippery slope.  After all, would we be hearing this same outcry in Chicago, if an 18-year-old black male were given a similar plea offer or a similar charge with a 15-year-old white female victim?  I’ve never heard of any such outcry for similar offenders here in Chicago, or anywhere else, for that matter.  While it may be true that the 15-year-old’s parents turned Hunt in because they don’t like the gay part, the same thing could hold true for a parent who doesn’t want their daughter in an inter-racial relationship, or just doesn’t like the offender.  The issue isn’t really the motivation of the minor’s parents; the issue is that you assume the risk in most states if you, as an adult, engage in a relationship with a minor.

The age of consent in most states is around 17 or 18; anyone under that legal age doesn’t have consent.  Though the charges and sentences vary, the law is clear – even two minors, in some states (such as Illinois), can report each other for sexual abuse.

This young lady may have been following her heart in the manner of Romeo and Juliet, but I’m not in favor of moving the goal posts on statutory rape.  Sex between minors is as common as dirt, and sex between “legal” adults and minors – such as 18 and 16 – is just as common.  But giving in to impulses and engaging in sexual relations with a minor carries risks.  What happens if we move the boundaries?  Would it be okay with a very mature 13-year-old and a 17-year-old?  How about a mature 16-year-old and a 20-year-old?

Hunt needs to work her way out of her legal quandary as best she can, and we don’t need petition drives and support groups clamoring on her behalf.  I haven’t heard an argument yet as to why she should be treated differently from any other offender in the State of Florida.

So go ahead, try.  Convince me.

 

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5 Responses to “Statutory is statutory, same sex, opposite sex”

  1. avatar pdquick

    I think most people think a close-in-age teen should not be considered a felon for a sexual relationship. Most prosecutors would have the good sense not to turn into a felon on her 18th birthday for an ongoing relationship with a slightly younger male teen, but they seem to have lost their minds because in this case the younger teen is a girl.

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  2. avatar pdquick

    Sorry for the typo. Meant to say “most prosecutors would have the good sense not to turn a young woman into a felon on her 18th birthdaty….”

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  3. avatar Casey

    It was legal on monday, and illegal on tuesday. It was a consensual relationship that only changed in the eyes of some braindead bigots because she aged a day. Suddenly she’s a predatory ‘adult’, when she can’t even buy beer legally.

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  4. avatar Jay

    To those who cannot see it…it’s about control just like everything else. If lawmakers had a clue…there would be one number of when you become an adult. Then allow all things to fall into that category…driving/smoking/drinking/sex/etc. There wouldn’t be confusion or bullshit about within “X” number of years of each other. Wake up…sex/age/race/religion doesn’t matter or are you all so brainwashed you can’t understand that we are born free and it’s not until we are forced to follow the rule of man that we are slaves. Personally…why not settle on 16…after all you can drive a 3k lbs car at 75 at that age…why can’t you have sex with a 31yrs old oriental catholic if you choose to do so? Really people start to think outside the box you’ve all been put into!

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  5. avatar Mi WO

    While the Law’s intent might be good -this is an example of arbitrary & capricious enforcement. In CA where I am a resident/citizen the law does not allow a Felony filing if the age difference is less then 4 years & the presumption of non consent is rebutatble- i.e. a jury can decide rather than a Strict Construction. One progressive feature of Florida’s law is that women can be charged with Stat Rape most states only let men be charged. In fact there are some states where a woman can’t be charged at all with rape unless as a accessory to a male perpetrator Still there is a 12 year old doing life who was tried as an adult as a 7 year old in Florida so the idea that you have to be 18 to consent to sex is ironic.The age at which consent to sex can be a defense- which is different than age of consent- should be the same as the youngest age you can be tried as an adult for any crime. This linkage would bring rationality to both areas of law.

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