Under the Bridge Downtown

Because of a recent Florida law requiring them to stay 2,500 feet away from "anywhere children congregate," Miami is running out of places for sex offenders to live.  So the city has instructed them to live under a bridge.

The Julia Tuttle Causeway, which links Miami to Miami Beach, offers no running water, no electricity and little protection from nasty weather. It's not an ideal solution, Department of Corrections Officials told CNN, but at least the state knows where the sex offenders are.

Nearly every day a state probation officer makes a predawn visit to the causeway. Those visits are part of the terms of the offenders' probation which mandates that they occupy a residence from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.

[...]

With nowhere to put these men, the Department of Corrections moved them under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. With the roar of cars passing overhead, convicted sex offender Kevin Morales sleeps in a chair to keep the rats off him.

"The rodents come up next to you, you could be sleeping the whole night and they could be nibbling on you," he said.

Morales has been homeless and living under the causeway for about three weeks. He works, has a car and had a rented apartment but was forced to move after the Department of Corrections said a swimming pool in his building put him too close to children.

Kerry Howley and Jacob Sullum have previously looked at the implications of zoning sex offenders out of town.

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  • Kathy||

    Sorry. I have no sympathy for convicted sex offenders, especially those who offend against children. I don't have a solution either. considering Florida has one of the worst

  • Kathy||

    waht I was saying was:
    Considering Florida has one of the worst reputations for crimes against children and CPS track record (in the media anyway), you would think they would invest more money in keeping track of these people. Just becasue they don't LIVE near children, does not mean they don't have the opportunity to re-offend.

  • ||

    Kathy,

    Do you believe that all of those "sex offenders" are child molesters? Some are, certainly, but there are also those (and not just a few, I suspect) who had sex with a seventeen-year-old when they were nineteen, etc.

    I don't have a lot of sympathy for child molesters either, but you might want to read the linked articles.

  • ||

    Clarification:

    By "those 'sex offenders'" I mean in general, not the ones under this particular bridge.

  • ||

    Do you believe that all of those "sex offenders" are child molesters? Some are, certainly, but there are also those (and not just a few, I suspect) who had sex with a seventeen-year-old when they were nineteen, etc.

    It doesn't matter, it is illegal.

  • ||

    But if the sex offenders are under the bridge, then where will all the trolls go? Think of the trolls!

  • ||

    Oh wait, they will all come here. Janet already answered my question.

  • Timothy||

    Smacky: They'll just end up on H&R like Kathy and Janet. Won't somebody think of the bloggers?

  • thoreau||

    I don't have any easy answers for what to do with sex offenders (assuming they commit real crimes, not just have sex with a 17 year old while 18 or something like thta), but in the article one of them said that jail is better than living under the bridge.

    We all know what the predictable consequence will be when somebody says he'd rather be in jail: He'll commit a crime again.

    Not an outcome I'm thrilled with.

  • ||

    I bet some entrepeneur could make a lot of money running a gated community for sex offenders who can't find anywhere else to live. Find some land a good distance from schools or swimming pools, get a catchy name like "Pervy Acres," and you rake in the sex offender rent checks.

  • ||

    Here's a concept:

    If they are a threat to society, keep them in jail.

    If not, set them free after they served their time. No strings attached.

  • ||

    I find additions to sentences by legislatures a particularly troubling change in American law. It's one thing to make these permanent restraining orders or participation in a "Megan's List" a condition of a sentence, a probation or a parole release. It's something else for these to come unilaterally, at a later date, with no due process involved.

    Aren't these a violation of Article 1 Section 9 "no ex post facto laws" will be passed?

  • thoreau||

    Abdul-

    And somebody could put him out of business just by opening a day care center or whatever (in some states maybe even a church or toy store) within a half mile or whatever (depending on the state) of the gated community.

    The day care center or whatever wouldn't even have to be successful. In fact, I'll bet that somebody could raise enough capital just from vigilantes, who just want to shut down the gated community.

  • ||

    That leaves me as the lone sex offender sympathizer. Criminals must be held accountable to the law. However, stripping a citizen of his rights and punishing him under the law, is always a serious matter. It should never be done casually or flippantly. There are some very bad people, and society has an obligation to protect itself by subjecting them to the judicial system. But I reject the proposition that because someone has cause others to suffer, that we need not concern ourselves with the suffering we impose upon him.

  • M||

    http://www.thedenverchannel.com/news/9511801/detail.html

  • ed||

    I blame Nancy Grace.
    I'm not kidding.
    She's pure evil.

  • ed||

    (That was not meant to be haiku.)

  • ||

    How is this stuff legal based on the constitutional prohibition on ex post facto laws?

  • thoreau||

    I guess there's one way that Abdul's plan could work: The owner of this gated community could purchase a huge parcel of land and include a buffer zone of a half mile or whatever around the edges. No houses or apartments would be built in that half mile buffer zone, but various amenities could be put in there.

    The reason it wouldn't work, however, is that this is an expensive proposition, and the ranks of sex offenders are not yet large enough to make it viable. Especially when you consider their diminished employment prospects, i.e. they don't have a lot of money to spend on housing.

  • ||

    assuming they commit real crimes, not just have sex with a 17 year old while 18 or something like thta

    That is a real crime, look it up, it is on the books. Clearly is does harm to minors. What makes you say it is not a 'real' crime.

  • thoreau||

    I've heard that people who get drunk and urinate in public can wind up on sex offender lists in some states ("indecent exposure in public" or whatever). Any truth to that rumor?

    I have no problem charging a public urinator with vandalism or whatever, but sex offense? Please.

  • ||

    "That is a real crime, look it up, it is on the books."



    Not in most states. Perhaps you should look it up.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Wouldn't it be cheaper and easier to force them all to wear cow bells and yell "Unclean!" as they wander the streets?

  • thoreau||

    More cow bell!

  • ||

    No one of course bothers to ask if these laws do anything to protect children. To me they don't even pass the laugh test. Either someone is a danger to society or they are not. If one of these offenders is a danger and intent on molesting children, I don't think walking 1500 feet or 15,000 feet to a school is going to stop him from molesting kids if he is truly intent on doing so. These laws are a typical example of legislatures whoring themselves for the camera in the name of doing something. Every one of these laws needs to be repealed. If someone molests a child, throw them in jail. If they get out of jail and do it again, give them life and never let them out of jail. But understand that bad things are going to occassionally happen and you can't premptively lock everyone up in hopes of preventing every bad thing from happening.

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    thoreau,

    Regarding your question, sadly, yes. The son of a friend of mine was charged with indecent exposure fairly recently, which is indeed a sex offense in Virginia and probably in most states, for urinating by the side of a rural road with his back turned to oncoming traffic. The charge was reduced, but the threat, at least in principle, exists.

  • ||

    M,

    That is too funny.

    Boville, who was with Hibbs, reportedly told police that they had consumed LSD and that Hibbs was having a bad trip.



    I don't know, it sounds like it could be a lucrative line of work.

  • Lisa Marie Nowak||

    by the side of a rural road with his back turned to oncoming traffic

    Who's crazy now?

  • Timothy||

    Oh Janet, it's nice to know there are such literal troglodytes around in the world to make the rest of us feel smugly superior. Where would we be without your childish law/order moral compass? You're what, about a 4 on Kohlberg's moral development scale? Keep striving, lass, you'll reach a real level of thinking eventually! Laws can be changed! There are principles more important than law. Come on, you can do it!

  • ||

    I know I've been busy, and so I haven't been around H&R lately, but...damn. Is this what the troll community has devolved into? At least Dan had some substance to offer, even if it was dangerously illogical and inane. This new breed of trolls isn't even trying. "It's against the law, so anything the State does to punish them, including raping their extended family with rusty farm tools, is justified". Come on, trolls! That's not even Dan standards.

  • ||

    Evan!,

    I think you give them [trolls] too much credit when it comes to spelling and grammar.

  • Bruce Dickenson||

    "thoreau | April 9, 2007, 9:56am | #
    More cow bell!"

    feel free to explore the space. With. Your. Cowbell.

  • ||

    There was Miami-Dade county commissioner (Jose "Pepe" Diaz) being interviewed on the Today Show. The interviewer asked him something about whether he was concerned about forcing the pervs to live under a bridge. His response was something along the lines of 'this isn't the issue I created. The issue I created was about protecting vulnerable kids.'

    In the spirit of Miami-style governance, I think George Bush should announce that chaos in Iraq isn't the issue he created.

  • ||

    Didn't you know Lamar that no one living under a bridge could ever molest a kid? The mere fact that they are forced to live under a bridge makes them less dangerous to society. Yeah, that makes a lot of sense.

  • ||

    These laws are completely worthless. The local paper here in the midwest has written extensively on the subject.

    Nearly fifty percent of convicted sex offenders involved consensual sex with older teenagers (usually with both parties still minors). Nearly fifty percent involve abuse by family members or friends of the family. That's right only 1 or 2 percent involves strangers abducting children off the street.

    Not only do these laws miss 98% of real life scenarios, but the local sheriff hates them because they drive the past offenders under ground where they can't be tracked.

    This is what public policy driven by hysteria looks like.

  • ktc2||

    Man, this stuff really brings out the paranoid and the stupid.

    As to the loon who keeps saying "It's illegal, it does harm to minors" regarding teen relationships, what planet did you grow up on? Billy and Sally are teen lovers been going out all through high school, having sex together for years now Billy turns 18 a few months ahead of Sally and is "causing harm to minors" by doing what they've been doing all along? And deserves to be branded a sex offender, sent to prison, etc.? Do you really hate consentual sex that much, even among peers?

    No Warren your not the only one. These things DO clearly violate ex post facto laws but just like anything else it's "for the children" so the constitution, law and anything else be damned.

  • ||

    Jake,

    Yes, this is what hysteria looks like. I argue with colleges all the time who won't let their children play out of their sight because of the fear that "they will be picked up by a molester". It is just insanity. The fact is, as you point out, that if your kids are going to be molested, it will more than likly be your pervert cousin at a family reunion, or the dirtbag boyfriend the mother brings into the house, not Chester the molester out trolling play grounds.

  • VM||

    "so the constitution, law and anything else be damned."

    of course - how else can they impose their religion-based morals on the rest of us?

    *gasp! sex!* *ohmystars! boobies!*

    /faints.

  • Duckman||

    Yeah, this is madness. I have a really, really big problem with laws designed to permanently ostrasize people due to the fear that they might commit the crime again.

    Today, they decide they don't want sex offenders in their town. Tomorrow, what's to stop them from deciding they don't want DUI offenders in their town? I mean, they have a high rate of repeat incidents, and they could hit you and kill you right? Come to think of it, they should probably get rid of petty thieves, drug users, and all the other "bad seeds" in the neighborhood. Ship them all of to Guantanamo Bay. Or, better yet, just stick them under an overpass in Miami. After we get rid of them all, we won't have anything more to worry about in our perfect little towns.

  • ktc2||

    VM,

    Yeah, I actually saw one of these religious right whackos on Bullshit! Last week. They had a whole episode about breasts. There was one of these whackos who actually said that a child seeing a woman's breast exposed is the same as being molested.

    WTF?!

  • thoreau||

    You know, a few years ago my...I mean, a friend's car broke down on the highway. While the car was parked along the side of the road, my friend was waiting for a tow truck, and he felt the need to go to the bathroom. He went a bit of a distance from the road where nobody could see me and he urinated.

    My friend had no idea that he could wind up on a sex offender registry.

  • ktc2||

    "of course - how else can they impose their religion-based morals on the rest of us?"

    /sarcasm on

    Come on now! You know separation of church and state is a myth! Even some of the new supreme court loons . . . er justices say so!

  • ||

    The local sheriff drew up a map of the city and showed that the ordinance made more than 90% of the space within the city limits restricted for sex offenders. The remaining 10% will drop off as more day care centers open up.

    The the registered sex offenders (registered per state law) moved to the little bedroom communities around the city. Many of these communities then banned sex offenders outright.

    The net effect is that registered sex offenders stopped registering and dropped out of sight completely.

  • ||

    They should all just live in a van down by the river.

  • ||

    Greetings earthlings. Hope all had a hoppy easter.
    "how else can they impose their religion-based morals on the rest of us?"
    My limited understanding of christianity tells me that we forgive Mr. Couey and others who do similar things. We love them as Christ loves us. I aint sayin its socially viable. Just thinkin we're a buncha sinners throwin stones. If we are gonna claim the religion as our guide, maybe we oughtta try and follow all the rules, not just the one that fit our gluttonous,consumer driven, prideful,veangeful,envious, greedy, hateful, bible totin, verse spewin, hypocritical lives.

  • ||

    They should all just live in a van down by the river.

    Can't. The river is a recreational area frequented by children. (no smily face on purpuse)

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    thoreau:

    Ignorance of the law is no excuse. You, er, your friend should have known better. Now we will have to turn you, er, him in for his forehead barcode tattooing, cow bell and below bridge bunk assignment. Since you, er, he is in the D.C. area, we recommend shooting for the Chain Bridge, as it is much quieter at night and there's better varmint hunting for dinner.

  • VM||

    ktc2:

    will check it out! (thank zog for DVR!)

    Duckman - are you related to Howard? But I'll be happy to start the American Safe Street and Homeland Organizational Location Escapade trucking company - just think of the federal pork we could get!

  • Brotherben\'s Flock||

    AMEN!

  • Passim||

    So, when are SWAT teams going to swarm nude beaches and arrest every adult (although I'll wager it'll only be every male adult) there, lock them up for 10 years, then release them to live under a bridge where they can only expose themselves to rats--and where, presumably, they can be arrested again for criminal trespass?

  • VM||

    "So, when are SWAT teams going to swarm nude beaches "

    oh my! mercy!

    talk about a brilliant plan for SWAT team job security!

  • D.A. Ridgely||

    Someday soon, having children will become passé. Future nanny-state totalitarians will justify oppressive laws by claiming "It's for the clones!"

  • Dry Dromedary||

    When they spoke up for the 17-year-olds I didn't come, because I was an 18-year-old.

  • spackle||

    Drunken varment hunters now have much larger targets.

  • Ostrogoth||

    ostrasize

    Is that a Double-D?

  • ktc2||

    Hate to spoil the "save the children" types day but some of us DIDN'T hate it, in fact thought it was GREAT, when we fortunate enough to have sex at an early age.

    The very kind 38-year-old lady who "molested" me when I was 13 has my eternal gratitude. In the unlikely event I ever met her again I'd have have nothing but love for her.

    If anybody wanted to put her in jail and then under a bridge for life it'd be over my dead body.

  • False consciousness||

    thought it was GREAT

  • Passim||

    OK, I am going to assume that the men living under this bridge are absolute scum. I saw them on the Today Show. I really don't have the stomach to look up what they did--so I'll assume it was raping babies--filth!

    But here's my complaint with how they're treated. Our punishment system is based on "do the crime, do the time." They've done theirs. One of them, in a fit of soundbite eloquence, said that if is still a criminal, then he should still be locked up. I agree.

    I agree, although I didn't used to. I recently learned that my mechanic is an ex-con. He is a convicted murderer (I think it was manslaughter, actually, but to me he's a murderer) who served 15 years. He's allowed to have a job and live within 2500 feet of potential victims (that is, other people!).

    Should we apply the sex offender logic to him? If not, why not? If so, does that mean we should cast him adrift on the open ocean, making sure he never drifts within 2500 feet of all the other murderers we freed? We're bound to run out of space soon enough. Perhaps this could be a spur to space exploration...we'll need many more planets...

  • Goldwater Conservative||

    People like Janet make we want to create a new political party: Many Americans are so fucking stupid. I'm not even sure how to debate such stupidity. If you think a man/woman who just turned 18 is some magical, sexual threat to a consenting 17 year old, I can only mock you. What's so sad is most Americans are as stupid as Janet and Reason only has a circulation of 40,000 in a country of 300 million people

  • ||

    Okay, instead of the gated community idea, how about we put the offenders in the Dateline "To Catch a Predator" house. No danger that they'd run into children there.

  • Passim||

    ktc2

    If I had been your father, I would have corrected your appreciation. I'd sooner buy you all the porno mags in the world than let that happen. Still, if you turned out decent, it's probably more due to your character than your experience.

    BTW, if you're trolling, I hope you get leprosy.

  • ||

    Why can't they just suspend themselves with balloons?

  • ||

    False consciousness | April 9, 2007, 11:13am | #
    thought it was GREAT



    Thank you, False consciousness.


    (ktc2 -- Some of "us" don't speak for other people. In fact, "some of us" don't appreciate blanket apologies for inexcusable crimes done to innocent people.)


    Abdul,


    I can do you one better. They should put all of the offenders in a secluded location, in a house together, and videotape all of the ensuing hilarity of living together in a confined space without children. And they can air it on MTV!

  • VM||

    SMACKY FOR PRESIDENT!

  • courtney||

    Lets send them to an island....America doesnt own any aborigines of our own!

  • LarryA||

    He went a bit of a distance from the road where nobody could see me and he urinated.

    You blew your "it wasn't me it was a friend" cover.

    That's right only 1 or 2 percent involves strangers abducting children off the street.

    Bingo. Given the recent history of Catholic priests (among other denominations) and recurrent "teacher seduces student" stories, it isn't the convicted pervs we need to keep away from these institutions, it's the kids.

  • VM||

    "courtney | April 9, 2007, 11:42am | #
    Lets send them to an island"

    add to Passim's

    "I hope you get leprosy."

    And we have a GOVERNMENT-SPONSORED BIT OF TROPICAL FUN AND SUN, right hier

    I for one will be happy to be in charge of the government-funded transportation service.

  • ||

    Having sex with a 17 year old does NO HARM to the 17 year old. Let's not play the "pretend the children are harmed" game. Most children can have sex and not be harmed. It is very rare for a child to actually be "harmed" from sex. I'm sick of people implying that anything morally improper that happens to a "child" automatically causes "harm." It's a load of crap. And now people are forcibly living under a bridge, like something out of The Onion, because of this idiotic fear of harmed children. To paraphrase Jefferson, the blood of a harmed child now and then feeds the roots of the tree of liberty.

  • ||

    This is what public policy driven by hysteria looks like.

    joe, mind if I borrow that line for the discussion on carbon trading v. carbon taxes?

  • ||

    My only response to this is "God damn."

  • lunchstealer||

    And for biggest tragicomic tale of hysteria-induced ineptitude, try this passage on for size.

    For several of the offenders, the causeway is their second experience at homelessness. Some of them lived for months in a lot near downtown Miami until officials learned that the lot bordered a center for sexually abused children.

  • ||

    joe, mind if I borrow that line for the discussion on carbon trading v. carbon taxes?

    Please don't ever confuse me with joe.

  • ||

    lunch-taker,

    Yeah, I couldn't help but snicker at that.

  • Ed\'s Dingo Farm next door to ||

    "until officials learned that the lot bordered a center for sexually abused children."

    ... trouble brewing ...

  • ||

    Having sex with a 17 year old does NO HARM to the 17 year old.

    The law defines it as causing harm to a minor.

  • Passim||

    erm, speaking of people being forced to live under a bridge....

  • ktc2||

    Janet

    The law defines a lot of things that aren't so.

    We're not talking legality here. The law is basically full of $h!t on so many things the list would exceed Reason's alotted server space.

    "The Law" is not the guiding sense or "right and wrong" for people who can think for themselves.

    "The Law" defines marijuana as having no therapeutic value despite every scientific study.

    "The Law" once defined blacks as property.

    "The Law" once required imprisonment for doing business on a Sunday.

    "The Law" is no excuse. When "The Law" is made by evil political idiots then "The Law" is worse than useless and we are left only with our own reason as guide. I suggest you stop relying on "The Law" and use your own reason and mind.

  • ktc2||

    And no Passim I'm not trolling.

    True story.

    Sex is not always harmful to a person who is not yet 18.

  • ||

    Janet, you are lying. Not even Kansas has that law.

  • Passim||

    ktc2

    I never said it was. But, as a general rule, adolescents should not have sex with adults pushing 40.

    If the sexes were reversed, many people would be trying to track you, and her, down so that she could be convicted of rape. (Another thread.)

    Generally--just generally--overall--for the most part--what you experienced was unhealthy.

  • Passim||

    But I guess no one wants to discuss the weirdly unequal treatment of child murderers and child rapists. The former can live among us, while the latter must go to Mars.

  • ktc2||

    I'm not entirely convinced it's "unhealthy" many, many people I know on hearing my story have confided similar stories with me which they likewise do not regret.

    But yes, the disparity between child murderers and child molesters is a whole topic on it's own. It's almost as if (to the our inept evil hysteria driven legislators) torture and murder is somehow preferable to sexual contact.

  • ||

    If an adult is convicted of raping or otherwise sexually molesting a prepubescent child, the only sentence available shoud be to lop their head off and put it on a pike. Problem solved.

    You cant fix these sick bastards and it is the only way to stop them.

    OFF WITH THEIR HEADS!!!

  • ||

    Aren't these guys (CMUB - child molesters under the bridge) breaking the law when a school bus drives over the bridge? After all, that's within 2,500 hundred feet of a child in the bus, right? Is there a time limit or something?

  • Sour Kraut||

    Every time that directs us VM to a site "hier" I am get ready for practicing my German and am every time disappointed.

  • False consciousness, first-han||

    I scored at 17 and am glad I did but I wish I wasn't glad I did.

  • VM||

    thema Klimaerwärmung
    China zögert Gespräche über Klimaregeln weiter hinaus

    weiters...
    Industrie auf den Barrikaden
    Kürzung der erlaubten CO2-Emissionen durch die EU stößt bei Industrie auf Empörung

  • Hier, Hier!||

    :)

  • ed||

    I have an idea: Let's create child-free zones.
    My idea will solve just about every problem there is.
    Think about it.

  • ktc2||

    Ed,

    Actually that's brilliant. LOL.

    Instead of restricting what the rest of the world can do to "save the children", when in reality we are just saving the parents from having to parent 9/10 of the time, we should tell these parents who don't want to parent,"fine then keep your kids at home and other rated G places" so the rest of the world doesn't have to do your job for you.

    Of course, it'll never happen.

  • ||

    Not wanting to take this enlighteing discussion in another direction, but this is a question that has been nagging me for quite some time and was brought to mind by one of the earliest posts:

    why is it an outrage, in addition to a crime, for a 28-year-old (an arbitrary age, but work with me) to have sex with our fictional 17-year-old, but it's an understandable "crime" for an 18-year-old to do the same?

  • ||

    why is it an outrage...

    It is abusive and harmful to a minor. The diference in age implies to much power.

    At one year apart it is a lesser crime, but should be equaly punished. An 18 year old is an adult and should only be with adults, not 17 year old children.

  • ||

    why is it an outrage, in addition to a crime, for a 28-year-old (an arbitrary age, but work with me) to have sex with our fictional 17-year-old, but it's an understandable "crime" for an 18-year-old to do the same?

    The brain continues to develop until the early 20s (with an associated increase in decision making skills).

    Two older teens making a bad choice togehter is morally different than a fulfledged adult taking advantage of a minor. However, even this condition is dramaticall different that an adult taking advantage of a 13 year old.

  • ed||

    In Ed's Child-Free City (I'm thinking big):

    No seatbelt laws
    You can eat whatever you want
    You can smoke in your car
    You can smoke anywhere!
    You can eat doughnuts. Cooked in lard!
    Bicycle helmets are purely optional (but still nerdy)
    Movies have no ratings
    Landlords can rent to sex offenders. Or not!
    Nothing, ever again, will be done "for the children"

  • ||

    Janet:

    Is it safe to say you're backing off your prior BS statement about the various laws regarding this issue? I just like to keep everybody apprised of how you lie to further your point, ironically, about moral responsibility.

  • ||

    Janet,

    How is it less abusive to a 17-year-old to have sex with an 18-year-old than a 28-year-old?

    Jake,
    How is a 28-year-old taking advantage of a 17-year-old, when the 18-year-old is simply making a 'bad decision'?

    There seems to be a nasty bit of age discrimination going on here.

  • ||

    Jake,
    How is a 28-year-old taking advantage of a 17-year-old, when the 18-year-old is simply making a 'bad decision'?


    You have obviously never had a 17 year old daughter.

    There is a world of difference between any given person at age 17 and then later at age 28. Perhaps you never grew up, so you can't tell the difference.

  • ktc2||

    Just curious,

    Don't try logic. This is a "hot button" issue. Logic is out to lunch.

    Ed,

    Sounds like paradise to me. So, that's it. Ban children! Yay!

  • ||

    Jake,

    You dodged the question. It wasn't about the age difference between a 28 year old and 17 year old, the question was why does a 28 year old go to jail (for life, bascially) for sleeping with a 17 year old, but go scot free when sleeping with an 18 year old.

  • ||

    Don't try logic. This is a "hot button" issue. Logic is out to lunch.

    I appreciate the fact that you say you suffered no adverse consequences from your encounter.

    However, the adult in this relationship was wrong, period.

  • ktc2||

    Because it's a completely arbitrary standard with no basis in reality Lamar.

    An 18 year old boyfriend who is 2 days older than his 17 year 364 day old girlfriend can go to jail for doing the same thing had previously done legally for years, whereas the very next day (24 hours later) the same girl can go out and bang any number of guys of any age she wants one at a time or all together and no crime is committed.

  • highnumber||

    Ed's Child-Free City

    Hey kids, see this Forbidden City? You can't go in there. It's for grownups only.
    Could you make something more tempting to kids?

  • ktc2||

    Okay Jake, why?

    Give me a valid solid logical reason why she was wrong and I don't mean "the law" or religious nonsense.

  • ktc2||

    Dammit Highnumber! Don't rain on our parade!

    There's gotta be someway we can stop being required to parent all these kids whose parents don't want the job.

  • ed||

    ktc2,

    I'm drawing up the charter to Child-Free City, and appointing myself King. I'll be needing a good Propaganda Minister, just in case. Interested? It doesn't pay much, but virtue is its own reward.

    highnumber,

    Yeah, they'd be crowding at the gates, craning their necks for a good view of all that is forbidden them, dreaming of that glorious day in the future when they, too, can enter the City.

  • ||

    You dodged the question. It wasn't about the age difference between a 28 year old and 17 year old, the question was why does a 28 year old go to jail . . .

    Sorry, I was addressing the "why is it an outrage . . " part of the question.

    This is difficult to decide when the relationship becomes a crime. Does it happen when the "adult" is 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, . . . ? Does it happen when the minor is 17, 15, 13, . . . ?

    Consensual behavior within peer groups should not be a crime. With large age differences, it clearly becomes inappropriate. However, I think it only becomes a crime when can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that a significantly older adult manipulated a minor into a relationship (think the provision of drugs or alchohol; extreme emotional pressure; etc). I don't think you can clearly define that situation, so we leave it up to a jury.

  • ktc2||

    LOL.

    Sure Ed, count me in!

  • ||

    Give me a valid solid logical reason why she was wrong and I don't mean "the law" or religious nonsense.

    A 13 year old cannot give informed consent. There is enormous physical, intellectual, and emotional growth between 13 and 15, between 15 and 17, between 17 and 19. A 17 year old can give informed consent. At 15 year old, maybe depending upon the individual. But 13 no way.

  • ||

    An 18 year old boyfriend who is 2 days older than his 17 year 364 day old girlfriend can go to jail for doing the same thing had previously done legally for years . .

    No doubt, the current set of laws is completely batshit crazy.

  • ||

    Jake,

    Maybe I never did grow up, if so, that entitles me, by law, to bang the 17-year-old without committing a crime, right?

    But, if I did, indeed grow up, then I'd be guilty of rape.

    All I'm trying to learn here, is why society at large (and now you, in particular) feel that a crime is committed by one of two identical acts of sexual activity based soley on the age of the penis involved.

  • ||

    All I'm trying to learn here, is why society at large (and now you, in particular) feel that a crime is committed by one of two identical acts of sexual activity based soley on the age of the penis involved.

    No, read carefully. It depends upon the "brains" involved. What are the intellectual and emotional capabilities of the two parties invovled. Calendar time is not particularly useful.

  • ||

    Jake,

    Then, as a father of a 17-year-old, would you be more offended by her having sex with a 28-year-old than an 18-year-old? And why?

  • ||

    curious

    The path to maturity is different for each person. I've known guys that lied and got into the service before they turned 18. I've know college seniors that shouldn't be let out at night on their own. But almost everyone has reached their final level of development by 25. By then, you are who you are. There is something wrong with a 28-year-old that is still attracted to minors.

  • ed||

    There is something wrong with a 28-year-old that is still attracted to minors.

    Not a problem in Child-Free City! (tm)

  • ||

    Not a problem in Child-Free City!

    Sun City, Arizona

  • ||

    Anybody read Bernard Schlink's The Reader? Not only was there a big age difference, the girl was a Nazi prison guard. I met Schlink, and he suggested that Americans are just too prudish.

  • ||

    "There is something wrong with a 28-year-old that is still attracted to minors."

    But that "something" isn't biological, it's societal.

  • Garth||

    Ed, you'd probably want to hire the Burghermeister Meisterbergher for your propaganda minister ... or maybe Baroness Bomburst.

    I am late to the thread, but I blogged on the same story here:http://americasoutback.typepad.com/blog/2007/04/our_modern_lepe.html

    Bell's around the neck D.A. Ridgely? MOST EXCELLENT!

  • ||

    But that "something" isn't biological, it's societal.

    No, it's psychological.

  • ktc2||

    What makes sex so different from any other consentual activity?

    Is there any other activity where such an emphasis is placed on the ages of the participants?

    Is it simply assumed that it's more harmful or hazardous, and does this assumption hold up to logical scrutiny?

  • Attractive Nuisance||

    There are plenty of child-free zones, like posted, fenced-in construction sites and swimming pools, whose principals are consitently held liable when kids get in and injure themselves.

  • ||

    Is there any other activity where such an emphasis is placed on the ages of the participants???

    If I wouldn't give my daughter the keys to my car when she was 13, why would I expect she was old enough to fully appreciate the consequences of her behavior regarding sex?

    Being tall enough to see over the wheel and strong enough to handle the standard steering does not mean she has the decision making skills to drive a car so that she doesn't wind up dead.

    Hitting puberty does not make one mature enough to provide informed consent.

  • ||

    Is it simply assumed that it's more harmful or hazardous, and does this assumption hold up to logical scrutiny?

    Regardless of what Janet says, this is not about harm. It is about the ability to make informed consent.

  • ||

    Jake:

    Now you're talking pseudo-science. Why would engaging in natural behavior damage a girl psychologically if it weren't a societal taboo?

  • M||

    Isn't sexual activity between two consenting adults legally okay a day before one of them marries someone else, adultery during the marriage, and legally okay one day after the divorce?

    A jurist, I forget which, observed that one year it was legal to carry a bottle of whiskey and illegal to carry gold currency, and the next year the other way around, all in the name of justice.

    What alternative is there to sharp boundaries, besides a sliding scale of penalties - eg a half-hour in prison for every day under the age of majority, which seems cumbersome?

  • ||

    Because it's a completely arbitrary standard

    As is so much in the law. And for a good reason.

    The law needs to be clear and predictable. The more squishy, subjective, unverifiable distinctions are drawn, such as "the emotional maturity of the people involved" the more the law is unclear and unpredictable.

    If you are gonna have rules, clear rules are have their virtues. Arbitrariness is the price you pay for clear rules.

  • ||

    Why would engaging in natural behavior damage a girl psychologically if it weren't a societal taboo?

    My wife spent three years volunteering at an organization that teaches pregnant teenagers how to cope with their pregnancies and early childrearing.

    In most cases, the older girls (16-17) were impregnated by boys the same age. Of these cases, about half the time the boy stayed with the girl and attended classes.

    However, the younger girls (11-15) were almost always impregnated by men over 20.

    So yes, you can harm a young girl physically, emotionally, financially, ect, through engaging in a natural act.

    Note that the specific case we are arguing over (28 and 17 year olds) doesn't seem to happen much. The 20 somethings like to go for the really young ones because they aren't emotionally capable of defending themselves.

  • ktc2||

    The pregnancy/disease issue really doesn't hold up. Both can be prevented, and if you ask most people the hypothetical, "Ok, so if there were 100% perfect contraception and prophylaxis then you'd have no problem with people under 18 have sex?" They still answer no.

    So, that really isn't the core issue.

    So, what is "the core issue" at work here?

  • ||

    So, what is "the core issue" at work here?

    Informed consent. If you don't get that, I can't help you.

  • Aristotle, Aquinas...||

    what is "the core issue" at work here?

    Imperfect solutions for a flawed human nature.

  • ktc2||

    Ok, so informed consent, lets analyse that.

    Why?

    Why is that a prerequisite for sex but not say . . . hunting, skiing, tackle football or any number of other activities that can result in injury, harm or even death?

  • ||

    Ok, so informed consent, lets analyse that.

    Why?


    Because no consent is real unless it is informed consent.

    And sex without consent is rape.

    Why is that a prerequisite for sex but not say . . . hunting, skiing, tackle football or any number of other activities that can result in injury, harm or even death?

    Because no one can force you to go hunting, skiing, etc. without your consent. Its pretty safe to assume that if you are playing football, its because you want to, and not because someone slipped you a mickey or has a gun on you.

  • ktc2||

    Um...I have known more than a few kids who are playing certain sports or engaging in other recreational activities against there wishes.

    Parental pressure and/or other persons pressuring them to do things they don't want. Especially hunting/sports.

    So, is that the same as rape? No, of course not. Why?

    What I'm getting at is this just a societal taboo without logical basis?

    Or is there something singularly unique about any kind of sexual activity that it deserves this special almost "holy" status it holds in our laws?

  • M||

    But isn't informed consent precisely what distinguishes lawfully persuading a participant to engage in all those activities vs. fraud, extortion, blackmail, or kidnapping?

    Or maybe you're talking only about minors, in which case I dunno: Are there statutes prohibiting the induction of minors into legal but risky activities without their guardians' consent? Are those school-trip permission slips conforming to criminal law or are they defenses against civil suits?

  • Kathy||

    When I referred to child molesters I meant predators. If we can't keep them in jail, they need to be monitored in some way. They don;t need a school near to reoffend, they just need a neighbor/girlfriend/friend with kids to re-offend. So making them live under a bridge solves nothing.
    Men who habitually seek out underage sex partners are a form of predator in my opinion. A difference of a couple of years in a girl or boy who is over the legal age of consent does not constitue a sex offender to me. I think the laws should reflect that.
    Parents need to be responsible for their offspring, but when my daughter is in daycare I depend on others to make sure she is safe. Sorry we can't all be stay at home mothers or home-school our children so sex offenders can live where they want. So until they can come up with a better solution, I'm not gonna feel one bit sorry for a bunch of genuine predators living under a bridge.

  • M||

    (Above post cross-posted w/ ktc2's.)

    Unwelcome touching, whether soft or hard, seems to be universally prohibited when not demonstrably in the minor's best interest. Concomittent with the special responsibilties of parents/guardians are their broader rights: Daddy has the responsibility, therefore the right, to force Junior to eat his vegetables, play football, and submit to qualified massage therapy, in Junior's best interests.

    All this not from a lawyer, but just someone trying to make sense of currently accepted norms.

  • ||

    ktc2

    If nothing else, you are persistent.

    Anything and everything is fair game between consenting adults. Minors are not adults.

    In fact, minor are prohibited from making almost all important decisions without parental consent. Organized Sports -- Parental Consent. After school activities -- parental consent. Medical or dental care -- parental consent. Can I go outside and play -- parental consent. And so on and so forth.

    Of course at some point, parents start letting minors make more and more decisions on their own. But the big, life-changing ones stay parental consent.

    So how does a parent deal with sex. Tough one. My daughter was on birth control before she turned 16. She was told that was not permission to go crazy, just be safe.

  • http://tinyurl.com/yw35bw||

    "Progressively" raised ktc2 is trying to convince his parents to let him have ice-cream before dinner. Poor tyke, he's bought into the myth that if he just argues skillfully enough, he'll get whatever he wants. False consciousness abounds.

    Caption:

    "It's broccoli, Dear."
    "I say it's spinach and I say the hell with it!"

  • ||

    Duckman wrote:
    "I have a really, really big problem with laws designed to permanently ostrasize people due to the fear that they might commit the crime again."

    This is the argument in favor of term limits. We could call it the Teddy Kennedy "No Drunk Left Behind" law.

    Can't you just see the campaign ad, with some aged Senator-for-Life, counting the money in his freezer as he plaintively cries "Stop me before I legislate again!!!"

  • *||

    Generally--just generally--overall--for the most part--what you experienced was unhealthy.

    Do you have data to back up that proposition? No? Didn't think so.

    I don't have any stake in this issue, I just find intellectual laziness annoying. Claims require evidence, mo'fuckers. Don't forget that.

  • ||

    If I wouldn't give my daughter the keys to my car when she was 13, why would I expect she was old enough to fully appreciate the consequences of her behavior regarding sex?

    Because sex is far, far, far safer than riding in a car with a teenage driver? Your daughter is in a lot more danger when her boyfriend's car is moving than when it's parked.

    Hitting puberty does not make one mature enough to provide informed consent.

    Informed consent is not required for sex. Consent, of course (often implicit), but informed? What does that mean? Should you be required by law to submit a list of your previous partners, along with proof of your last HIV test (in triplicate) before commencing? I think you're confusing sex with surgery.

  • Bill Clinton||

    I think you're confusing sex with surgery.

    Right!

    Surgery: A technique that involves reshaping bone in the mouth.

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=define%3A+surgery

  • Robert||

    It's because society sees simple pleasures -- tastes you don't have to be taught -- e.g. sexual activity -- as inchoately bad, and needs only a little add'l excuse to condemn it. "Progressive" types impute "psychologic damage" from having sexual activity too young, but no evidence that the damage is from any cause other than societal condemnation.

  • Oh dear||

    you don't have to be taught -- e.g. sexual activity

    Hang on, I know it's there somewhere, honey!

  • Oh Dear||

    you don't have to be taught -- e.g. sexual activity

    Hang on, I know it's there somewhere, honey!

  • ||

    squirrels

  • ||

    We could call it the Teddy Kennedy "No Drunk Left Behind" law.

    Unless you're drunk in a vehicle being driven by a Kennedy. Then, you're on your own.

  • ||

    However, the younger girls (11-15) were almost always impregnated by men over 20.... So yes, you can harm a young girl physically, emotionally, financially, ect, through engaging in a natural act.



    Above is the hypothetical you're arguing about. You're talking about girls that are nowhere near the age of consent, and aren't developed enough emotionally to fend off or deal with a manipulative older man.

    On the other hand, this is the reality that the rest of us are talking about:

    Note that the specific case we are arguing over (28 and 17 year olds) doesn't seem to happen much.



    A 17 year-old sleeping with a 28 year-old doesn't do much harm (if any), and your admission that your analysis mostly addresses much younger girls clarifies this.

    The age of consent will always be an arbitrary line. Will it be drawn by reasonable individuals, church prudes or southern fundamentalists? Depends on the state.

  • Robert||

    "You're talking about girls that are nowhere near the age of consent, and aren't developed enough emotionally to fend off or deal with a manipulative older man."

    OK, let's say a girl nowhere near the age of consent gets fucked. Literally. But say her vagina is mature enough to have enough flexibility not to be physically damage, and there was no physical force employed. Yet years later she thinks, hey, that old guy manipulated me!

    What are her damages? How does this differ from other cases in which someone is convinced well after the fact that sexual activity which she thought at the time was consensual was "actually" "date rape"?

    See, this is only bad if you think there's something inherently pretty bad about sexual intercourse. I'm trying to imagine this, and I can't think of the act itself as being any more than mildly uncomfortable. Like suppose someone gave me a prostate exam without my consent. Yeah, uncomfortable, but I'd rather that happen to me than that, say, someone slashed a tire of my car.

    Seems to me rape is only really scary when it's done as or as part of an act of violence. Like you don't know what else this person might do to you.

  • Kathy||

    Robert-

    Have you ever been raped? Rape is defined as "The crime of forcing another person to submit to sex acts, especially sexual intercourse." So all rape is an act of violence. All rape is scary. Ask any rape victim. Rape does more than damage a person physically. The emotional damage lasts a lifetime.
    If a much larger person came up behind you and inserted something into your rectum without your consent, could we just call it an unwanted prostate exam and let him be on his way? It would only just be a little uncomfortable right? After all, he didn't tear your rectum, so you really suffered no injustice. No harm no foul.
    Somehow, I doubt you would see it that way.

  • I really don\'t want to tell y||

    Kathy,

    I can't believe I'm going to write this but here goes: There's violence and then there's something less than violence, like manipulation, or deception. If Robert was forcibly thrown to the ground, beaten about the head and then analy-raped the case for violence is clear. If he drunk a little too much and some guy talks him into a massage and then sticks it to him, that's not quite the same.

    In many cases we equate "Man Rapes Child" with "Man Asks Child To Touch His Penis". I don't like either but the first sound like the act of violence we all envision. The second will also get the guy locked up even if the child was curious and didn't mind so much touching the penis.

    This is where the teenager who consents to sex still leads the adult who participated into a world of hurt: since a 16 year old cannot consent, the act becomes an act of violence. Oddly for most of human history, 16 was very much considered an adult age.

  • Kathy||

    A person who is deceived or manipulated into a sex act is not giving informed consent. Maybe not quite the same as beating a person up, but still rape. I'm sure any man would still feel violated the next morning and would suffer from some sort of emotional damage from the whole experience you described in your post.

    Anyone who gets any sexual gratification from making a child perform any kind of act on them, whether it be touching or full intercourse has mental problems. I certainly don't want them around my child. They belong on a sex offender registry.

    And as far as teens go, I am not arguing with that. I know plenty of teenage girls (I was one of them) who thought older guys were "cool" and preferred them to their peers. HOWEVER, as an adult who will get the full wrath of the law, it is YOUR responsibility to stay away from those girls. Until they are of age, they are forbidden fruit. Keep that in mind and you won't have to worry about ending up on a sex offender registry.

  • Garth||

    If it does not involve force the primary reason sex causes mental duress ("emotional damage") is our fucked up prudish culture which equates sex with evil.

    When I was a child I was fondled by a neighbor and you know what?: yuk but no big fucking deal

  • Kathy||

    Well, guess what. When I was a child I was molested over a period of time by a predator who went on to molest other kids. And you know what? IT WAS A BIG FUCKING DEAL TO ME!! Had there been a registry then, maybe he would have never gotten to those other kids. I will let you know it has affected every aspect of my life including how I raise my own child. And it had nothing to do with how society perceives sex, because I am teaching my own daughter that it is not dirty. It has everything to do with the fact that I was taught to treat adults with respect and this asshole used me to get off. It was wrong. I knew it then and I know it now. So don't give me this bullshit about no big fucking deal. Now I make choices in my life and I no longer let it control me, but it took along time for me to get here. If I can save anyone from having to go through what I did and to live a halfway normal life, I will. Screw all the molesters living under the bridge. When they can give their victims back the ability to live without the memories and that "fear" that is always there in the back of their heads, then they can get back their rights to live a normal life themselves. I didn't want to go there with my personal life, but I'm tired of all this bullshit aboout sexual abuse not hurting children if there are no physical scars. It does REAL damage. Whether you want to believe it or not. So pervos, keep your hands and genitalia to yourselves and off of people who are not giving their consent and you won't have to live under a bridge. That simple.

  • Robert||

    "A person who is deceived or manipulated into a sex act is not giving informed consent. Maybe not quite the same as beating a person up, but still rape."

    That's naked equivocation. You're classifying two things together, and then saying they're the same -- that whatever is true of one is not true of the other.

    "all rape is an act of violence. All rape is scary."

    Clearly not, under the conditions you laid out. A person who is "deceived or manipulated" is not scared. The purpose of deceit or manipulation is to allay fear, and can only succeed if it does allay fear.

    So don't conflate these things. It just confuses the issue.

  • Kathy||

    Good point. I will give you that.
    But lets say a female is drugged and while she is completely out of it she is gang raped. She felt no fear during the act. As far as she knew, she was blissfully asleep. Does this mean she was not raped? Does the fear and mistrust she feels after the fact not count as real fear?

  • Robert||

    Not if she never found out.

    Regardless, gang rape is a very different scenario from what was being discussed about psychologic damage from under-age sexual activity with a "manipulative" older partner.

    For that matter, our parents (sometimes even after we reach maturity) tend to manipulate us into all sorts of things we may regret later. Is an older relative manipulating a child into sexual activity any worse than manipulating them into years of music lessons or sports or camping that they may turn out not to like? Typically the parent tries to convince the child it was actually the child's idea, and that they went out of their way in terms of time & expense to provide the opp'ty.

  • Kathy||

    Wow. How would you describe the event if it was not rape? They used her body for sexual gratification without her consent.

    And YES, manipulating a child into a sexual activity is worse than manipulating them into a sport or other hobby. I can not even begin to imagine how you can compare the two.

    I guess I will never understand your way of thinking, which is dangerously close (almost identical) to some of the arguments that I've heard from admitted pedophiles who believe that sex with children should be legal.

    So, in the meantime, I'll just have to hope that you and my daughter or other minor family members NEVER cross paths...

  • Robert||

    "How would you describe the event if it was not rape?"

    That's not the question I was answering. I was answering whether afterward she'd be fearful. And the answer is, not if she never found out what happened to her.

    "manipulating a child into a sexual activity is worse than manipulating them into a sport or other hobby. I can not even begin to imagine how you can compare the two."

    Then you don't have enough imagination. But tha's OK, nobody AFAIK has the ability to imagine other people's preferences, only to acknowledge them. I just know that if I could go back and be raped instead of doing piano practice, I'd take it. Being raped wouldn't take long nor require my att'n; I could've read or watched TV meanwhile, and when it was done had all that time free.

  • Kathy||

    Ok Robert. Lets go back in time and I'll take the piano lessons and you can be raped instead of me. Rape does take time and attention, even far after the act itself is over. Even after the rapist is dead and gone. I wish I had your ability to forget things and let them go so easily. But then again, you obviously still hold some sort of resentment for having to take piano lessons.

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