Another Example of Our Screwed-Up Laws

  • #101
106
1
And from this, we've ridden the game out to the point where we say that laws against minors having sex are to protect boys from the consequences of sex?
I dont know how you arrived at this conclusion. Various example where given in this thread, but they are generic examples, with no intent whatsoever to link statutory rape laws to a certain sex.

The intent of laws against minors having sex is to protect females from becoming a teenage mom with no support from the dad. The law is intended more for the consequences of teenage pregnancy on the infant than on the teen.
Im sorry, but this is simply not true.

The statutory rape laws only incriminate adults performing sex with minors which are under the age of consent. Two underage partners of close or same age do not fall in this category. You cant legislate the age at which one decides have sex. Sex between two minors over a certain age , but below age of consent, is as probable to produce offspring as it is sex between an underage and an adult. Furthermore, it is not incriminate by laws.


I never understood the logic behind "If he's old enough to vote, he ought to be allowed to drink!"
Conservators usually don't. Nor christian fundamentalists. (Im not inferring you are part of any of those categories). This is why this is fought politically.
 
  • #102
BobG
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
185
80
Im sorry, but this is simply not true.

The statutory rape laws only incriminate adults performing sex with minors which are under the age of consent. Two underage partners of close or same age do not fall in this category. You cant legislate the age at which one decides have sex. Sex between two minors over a certain age , but below age of consent, is as probable to produce offspring as it is sex between an underage and an adult. Furthermore, it is not incriminate by laws.
Admittedly, my statement was an oversimplification with no explanation.

If both are below the age of consent, but near the same age, there's an assumption (that may be wrong) that the teens are able to stand up against the other. The girl that had no interest in becoming a teen mom could tell the guy to take a hike.

It's going to be harder to stand up to a person that's older and more mature. There's extra pressure for the teen to prove they're an adult.

I don't think this holds up very well in practice. In fact, I agree that the whole idea of statutory rape has some flaws. At least enough that a person could legitimately argue that it should apply only to much younger kids than it does.

That doesn't mean it has no effect. I'm sure there's many teens that would have unprotected sex just because of peer pressure. I'm sure there's many teens that would have enough composure to stand up for themselves regardless of the age of their partner. There probably is a range that could stand up to their peers, but would be intimidated by an older partner. And even within that range, the statutory rape laws only have an effect if they intimidate the older partner. In other words, statutory rape laws probably have some positive effect, just not a lot.

But, regardless of how well it works in practice, it is based on the idea that the more mature person could bully, or at least manipulate the younger person into making decisions they normally wouldn't make; and decisions that are going to have some long term consequences. It's the consequences that make it a crime. It wouldn't be a crime to manipulate a teen into cleaning their house, mowing their lawn, or some other activity that had no serious consequences.
 
  • #103
106
1
But, regardless of how well it works in practice, it is based on the idea that the more mature person could bully, or at least manipulate the younger person into making decisions they normally wouldn't make; and decisions that are going to have some long term consequences. It's the consequences that make it a crime. It wouldn't be a crime to manipulate a teen into cleaning their house, mowing their lawn, or some other activity that had no serious consequences.
Which is true, but again I am not debating the fact that statutory rape is a crime. I am debating the reasonable limits of applicability of the law.

The argument that a "could could bully, or at least manipulate" is of dubious value. It is applicable to both young adults and adults. This is why we have today sexual harassment laws. It is pretty easy for a person in a position of authority to manipulate, bully, or otherwise con another person in doing something they wouldn't normally do. We heuristically know this from the dawn of civilization, but we got scientific confirmations again and again starting with 1963.

Most legislations who have a low age of consent include special legal provisions for the cases in which an adult is in position of authority over the young adult. In this case, the age of consent is higher than the one involved in regulating adult not in position of authority / young adult. The actual implementations are different from legal system to legal system, in some it requires a complaint from the alleged victim itself (not from the victim's parents, which pretty much makes sense)

Second, I believe that young adults in their teens can be pretty much as persuasive as an adult when it comes to sex. (authority position notwithstanding)

The only question is: what is a reasonable age at which a young adult can be considered to make a informed decision ? Most of the world seems to believe that is between the age of 15 - 16, which is sensibly near the age where law starts to look at the children as a young adult from the responsibility point of view. Including, but not limited to, the possibility to stand trial in an adult court of law for your deeds.

This avoids hypocrisy.
 
Last edited:
  • #104
Char. Limit
Gold Member
1,204
14
Even so... let's say that we change the age of consent to 16.

It doesn't change the fact that this person is the victim of a felony crime, and has to pay money to the person who made him a victim.
 
  • #105
106
1
Even so... let's say that we change the age of consent to 16.

It doesn't change the fact that this person is the victim of a felony crime, and has to pay money to the person who made him a victim.
We will never have a perfect system. We can only try to improve it as much as possible.

An important distinction here is that he is not paying money to the person who made him a victim. He is paying child support to support his biological children.

What is interesting with statutory rape is that is a felony which is possible without having an actual victim, in the sense that the young adult can very well be NOT harmed individually and directly by the adult, nor physically, nor psychologically. It may be even possible that the young adult was the part actively seeking a sexual encounter.

An age of 15-16 is perfect for assuming responsibility as well as enjoying the privileges of adulthood.
 
  • #106
and has to pay money to the person who made him a victim.
He was not victimized by his child.

The issue is that "if you consider a man ill equipped to handle" sex, you should consider him ill equipped for just everything else. This is the hypocrisy. We consider the minor ill equipped to handle sex, but if he happens to commit a felony we can send him to be tried in an adult court of law. So the poor guy is ill equipped to handle sex consequences, but it is very well equipped to be treated as an adult when we want to **** him and try him as a fully responsible adult.
I am unsure how it works out there but here it is only a possibility that a minor can be tried as an adult. They are not automatically tried as an adult simply because they commit a felony. They are most often tried as a juvenile and usually are only tried as an adult for serious crimes like murder.
 
  • #107
106
1
I am unsure how it works out there but here it is only a possibility that a minor can be tried as an adult. They are not automatically tried as an adult simply because they commit a felony. They are most often tried as a juvenile and usually are only tried as an adult for serious crimes like murder.
It is on the case by case basis here as well.
 
  • #108
Char. Limit
Gold Member
1,204
14
You're all too trusting. How do you know that this mother, already proven to be irresponsible, will spend the money that he is giving her on the child? Answer: we don't.

So I'm not saying his child victimized him, Statutory. I'm saying we can't trust the father's (statutory) rapist.
 
  • #109
106
1
You're all too trusting. How do you know that this mother, already proven to be irresponsible, will spend the money that he is giving her on the child? Answer: we don't.

1. Mother is not proven to be irresponsible. This term has a very precise legal understanding.

2. Should / Would / Could is of no concern here. Good faith is assumed.
 
  • #110
Char. Limit
Gold Member
1,204
14
Really? Committing a felony is not proof of irresponsibility? And good faith should be assumed in a forum argument, not here! Why should I assume good faith of a felon?
 
  • #111
106
1
Really? Committing a felony is not proof of irresponsibility? And good faith should be assumed in a forum argument, not here! Why should I assume good faith of a felon?
It is not proof of irresponsibility at all . Check the meaning of the word.
 
  • #112
Hepth
Gold Member
448
39
He should just sue her for cost of child support as damages from the crime committed against him :)
 
  • #113
You're all too trusting. How do you know that this mother, already proven to be irresponsible, will spend the money that he is giving her on the child? Answer: we don't.

So I'm not saying his child victimized him, Statutory. I'm saying we can't trust the father's (statutory) rapist.
She has custody of the child to the money goes to her as custodian. If she fails to use the money to support the child then he can sue her for the money on behalf of their child. If he wins he will also likely receive custody. From the details of the stories linked I think it most likely that his family will get custody anyway.

He should just sue her for cost of child support as damages from the crime committed against him :)
Yes. Go into court and refer to support for your child as "damages" and see how well that goes over.
 
  • #114
6,265
1,277
You've articulated your point very well (perhaps better than I've done for mine), Zoob.

I realize changing laws is dangerous. My main concern is people not being held accountable for their actions. I can see a potential exploit; what if this fifteen year old decides to go around having kids under the protection of this law? What is to stop him from impregnating women if there are no consequences for his behavior?

Not every minor who engages in sexual intercourse is innocent and/or being taken advantage of. I believe there needs to be some form of responsibility on his part for the child. It cannot all fall on the mother.
By way of response I need only repeat myself:

"To deter people from taking sexual advantage of children the law has set an age of legal consent. People simply don't mature emotionally and intellectually at the same rate so this ends up being somewhat arbitrary, but as we consider younger and younger children it's clear there does have to be a law. Once that age is set it has to be stuck to. Making an exception for a 15 year old is as good as making an exception for a 10 year old, and you pretty much end up with no law."

By ordering this kid to pay child support this judge has set a precedent that grossly muddies the water and undercuts the law against statuory rape. He has said that the minor, IS, in fact responsible when he has sex with someone who's not a minor. If he is responsible, then how has the 19 year old committed any crime?!?! If he is responsible then her attorney should be able to have the charges against her thrown out. And if he does, then the age of legal consent will, de facto, have been pushed back to 15. If he does, anyone charged with statutory rape of anyone ages 15-17 can have the charges thrown out citing this precedent.

Anyone here who believes the kid should be held responsible is saying the same thing: 'the age of legal consent is too high; 15 year olds know what they're doing. This 19 year old girl committed no crime.'

It's fine if you want to lobby to get the age pushed back, but the law as it is now, exonerates the boy of any responsibility, and a judge, of all people, should not be making decisions that undercut a clear law.

It would all have been fine if the judge had merely given the boys parents a stern lecture with the strong recommendation that they require him to contribute $50 a month to child support to teach him responsibility. Legally requiring him to do it suddenly upsets the whole law.
 
  • #115
Averagesupernova
Science Advisor
Gold Member
3,625
627
Zooby and I seem to have been in agreement throughout this whole thread. Zooby's logic is correct in that requiring a minor to pay child support through the mother of his child that is not a minor implies that the adult in the scenario is not guilty of a crime. I really don't know what else to say. I don't see a flaw in this logic.
 
  • #116
Dembadon
Gold Member
624
89
Zooby and I seem to have been in agreement throughout this whole thread. Zooby's logic is correct in that requiring a minor to pay child support through the mother of his child that is not a minor implies that the adult in the scenario is not guilty of a crime. I really don't know what else to say. I don't see a flaw in this logic.
It is not Zooby's logic with which I am in disagreement. It is the law itself which I find to be unsatisfactory. Since, as Zooby has pointed out, laws should not be undermined, I would favor an amendment.
 
  • #117
Char. Limit
Gold Member
1,204
14
And zoobyshoe articulates my ideas far better than I could myself.

Dembadon, an amendment is all well and good (or maybe not, depending on your point of view), but we should consider the law as it currently is.
 
  • #118
299
1
As much as I think that the age of consent in the states should be lowered, I feel the need to point out that even in (most) countries with an age of consent of 15 or lower, what she did was still a crime. As a babysitter, she was in a position of authority over the boy.
 
  • #119
106
1
As a babysitter, she was in a position of authority over the boy.
Position of authority is legally defined and not arbitrary. ruling in previous cases is also important in many legislations.
 
  • #120
299
1
Position of authority is legally defined and not arbitrary. ruling in previous cases is also important in many legislations.
Yes, but almost universally it includes (temporary) caregivers/guardians.
 
  • #121
Averagesupernova
Science Advisor
Gold Member
3,625
627
As much as I think that the age of consent in the states should be lowered, I feel the need to point out that even in (most) countries with an age of consent of 15 or lower, what she did was still a crime. As a babysitter, she was in a position of authority over the boy.

So you are saying that as a baby sitter it was not appropriate, but you feel the age of consent should be lowered? Not to sound like an ***, but that is about the stupidest thing I have ever heard here on PF. Ok for someone who needs a babysitter to father a child legally and be held responsible. Nice.
 
  • #122
19
1
I wouldn't mind sleeping with my baby sitters.
 
  • #123
cronxeh
Gold Member
961
10
I wouldn't mind sleeping with my baby sitters.
You would have to be at least 13 :biggrin:
 
  • #124
259
3
Why is custody given to a woman who is a pedophile in the first place? Victims of statutory rape should never have to pay child support since the partner should not have any right to the child.
 
  • #125
It's fine if you want to lobby to get the age pushed back, but the law as it is now, exonerates the boy of any responsibility, and a judge, of all people, should not be making decisions that undercut a clear law.
Go tell that to all of the judges in juvenile court who by your logic undercut clear laws over and over again on a daily basis by holding minors responsible for their actions even though they are legally incapable of making responsible decisions.

As well would you like to tell his child that he is a bastard in perpetuity since according to you the law should not recognize who his father is?
 

Related Threads on Another Example of Our Screwed-Up Laws

  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
5
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
3K
Replies
75
Views
5K
  • Last Post
Replies
9
Views
2K
Replies
11
Views
1K
Top