We're Not in Kansas Anymore

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What do we think of the Nebraska AG who arrests a man for having sex with his wife? What if he is 22 and she is 14? What if he got her pregnant at 13 and, with her parents' consent, took her to Kansas for a legal marriage in that state?

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning says he doesn't care about the law in Kansas, and that Matthew Koso, 22, is a pedophile.

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  1. I have this really crazy, totally irrelevant question I just have to get off my chest:

    What does the girl think?

  2. I’m with joe.

    It’s all well and good that the girl’s parents and the laws of Kansas are on board with this, but what about the girl herself?

    Now, one could debate whether she is mature enough to give informed consent, yadda yadda, but at a bare minimum I’d like to know what she thinks in this matter. Sort of seems relevant, ya know?

  3. Well, in three years the girl can buy a copy of Grand Theft Auto, but will have to wait another four years to drink a beer.

  4. The arrest concerns a rape before she was his wife, in the state of Nebraska, so the marriage in Kansas is irrelevant to the crime.

  5. Sounds typical. Nebraskans always think they’re better than everybody else.

  6. Arthur–
    Even assuming that such behavior will be a crime, will the girl/victim benefit by the state putting her husband in jail? Will ANYBODY be better off?

  7. Whoops. Meant to say, “Even assuming such behavior SHOULD be a crime.”

  8. Jennifer,

    The point is that such behavior is a crime; rule of law and all that stuff…

  9. Rich-
    I only support laws that prevent Person A from hurting Person B. Unless this girl was forcibly raped, the state has no business getting involved.

  10. Let’s not go overboard, Jennifer. A 13 year old girl cannot give meaningful consent to sex, and is extremely vulnerable to being manipulated by an adult man. The guy’s a piece of crap, she could very well be trapped in an abusive situation, and the state should absolutely be looking into this.

    I think your sentiments function better as a cautionary note than as a roadmap.

  11. You big crazy Randroid, you. πŸ˜‰

  12. Joe, thats all well and good, but, She and her parents consented to a marriage, yes yes after the pregnancy, but still. And he wanted to marry her, which bodes well for his motives. And there’s been no talk of abuse.

    This is definitely creepy, but given the circumstances, them married and left alone is the best possible outcome.

  13. But how can you say for sure, Joe? I’ll admit there’s a definite “ick” factor when thinking about a thirteen-year-old having sex–hell, I don’t even like watching the little buggers hold hands at the mall–but for whatever reason, boys and girls these days are maturing a LOT earlier than they used to. How sane is it for the state to promote a policy which says that people can’t legally have sex until years and years after reaching sexual maturity?

  14. Seriously, I think libertarians should keep their hands off stuff like this. A guy in his twenties having sex with a 13-year old girl? This is not a liberty issue.

  15. She was fucking 13 when he knocked her up and 14 when he took her across state lines to marry! Who gives a fuck what she thinks or what the parents think? The guy is a perv guilty of sex with a minor and the parents are guilty of child abuse or at the very least neglect. Putting her “husband” in jail couldn’t possibly fuck her up any worse than her parents already have. They should toss them in the clink as well.

    Jesus people.

    No wonder no one ever takes us seriously as a political party.

  16. Well, if the word “pedophile” actually means anything, then this is a crime. Marriage offers (and should be offered) no special constitutional protections — apologies to shitbags like Rick Santorum — and married people should not be treated any differently under the law than unmarried people.

  17. boys and girls these days are maturing a LOT earlier than they used to.

    Only compared to the previous few generations in western societies.

    That aside, I wonder what sort of loser is dating 13 year olds at 22.

  18. “She and her parents consented to a marriage, yes yes after the pregnancy, but still.”

    I question how much “she” actually consented, or whether he parents consented for her. At a minimum, this is one of the questions that should be put to her.

    “And he wanted to marry her, which bodes well for his motives.” Or, it demonstrates a desire to protect himself from prosecution.

    “And there’s been no talk of abuse.” Well, there’s the 22-year-old-guy-f*cking-a-little-girl thing.

    Jennifer, I can’t say for sure. That’s why I suggested that the investigators should talk to her.

    “How sane is it for the state to promote a policy which says that people can’t legally have sex until years and years after reaching sexual maturity?” I agree, to an extent. Seeing 19 year olds arrested for having sex with their 17 year old girlfriends infuriates me. But 22 and 13? That’s just not right.

  19. Heh. This reminds me a bit of the Argentinian law that says a rapist can be freed if he marries his victim, no matter what the child?s age.

    But it’s more like that story out of Alabama–which has marriage laws similar to Kansas–where last year a father allowed his 14-year-old son to marry a 42-year-old woman, saying they could always get divorced if it didn’t work out.

  20. Ok kids, time for the holier-than-thou on both sides to come clean. 13 seems to be too young to make an informed decision. How old were YOU the first time? Did it ruin you for life?

    I was 16. I have a friend who was 12, another who was 13, and one who was 14. All turned out ok.

    Kids aren’t as fragile as you’d like to think.

  21. As it happens, I know a 21-year-old guy who is seeing a 13-year-old girl. Not my business, because I don’t know that anything “criminal” is going on, if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

    But here me now and believe be next week: SHE is the boss in that relationship.

    It’s a bit funny, actually.

  22. I agree with everybody but mostly with Joe. Seriously. This is one of those cases where my libertarian instincts rub up against my human (and maternal) instincts and much itching and chafing ensues. A 21 year old guy sleeps with a 13 year old girl and her mom lets them get married? Girls are certainly maturing physically at a younger age than they used to, but that doesn’t mean she has the capacity to consent. What are the chances this is an old fashioned (in every sense of the word) romance rather than a case of white trash sexual abuse? And the fact that the guy has no listed phone number sort of clinches it. Can we say trailor?

    Ok, I’m judging. Back to remedial libertarianism for me.

  23. “hear” me now… it’s actually way too early in the morning for me… relatively speaking

  24. I was 16. I have a friend who was 12, another who was 13, and one who was 14. All turned out ok.

    All pregnant and married at those tender ages?

  25. joe,

    But 22 and 13? That’s just not right.

    Why?

  26. What were the ages of their first partners, seems like the more important question.

  27. “And the fact that the guy has no listed phone number sort of clinches it.”

    Maybe, like a lot of people I know, he turned off his land line and just uses a cell. And cell numbers are typically unlisted. (Or he could just have an unlisted number.)

  28. My grandmothers were married at 13 and 14 years of age and keeping house like women fully grown. The definition of “childhood” is more or less arbitrary, and treating adolescents as children is pretty sick in itself.

  29. I’m with Joe and Ralphus on this. This girl needs to be legally and physically separated from her “husband”. It may seem pragmatic to just let them be, but if the law is to mean anything, then this dirtbag needs to go to jail.

  30. I don’t see where the state has any compelling interest in telling a sexually mature person, “You are not allowed to have sex. Or you can, but only with certain people WE decide are not off-limits.”

  31. I also think that the state should be looking into this situation. I don’t see any argrument in favor for the man. This guy should have charges brought on him, and let the courts handle it.

  32. Haklyut,

    Because he’s taking advantage of her.

  33. No wonder no one ever takes us seriously as a political party.

    Reason number 945,746?

    I wish people would quit coming up with their own stupid reasons why no one takes us seriously. Most libertarian positions are currently highly unpopular. So foogin’ what, that’s hardly a reason not to discuss them and say what you honestly think. Plus, ralphus, who says “we” are a political party? Like many libertarians, I see the LP as little more than a sideshow act.

    Anyway, this issue raises a number of interesting and ambiguous questions….

  34. Joe-
    How do you KNOW he’s taking advantage of her? Seriously.

  35. Not that I approve of their choices in this day and age, but my grandmother married when she was 15. She married my grandfather who was 25 at the time. They were married 65 years before he died. This was fairly common from their part of the country.

    I’m happy that we’ve come a long way to the point that we think that this shouldn’t be common or even rare. But to just write this whole thing off without having more of the facts and without hearing from the girl (without any possible parental pressure to marry) is a kneee jerk reaction.

    The problem with setting age limits to certain social behaviors is that they are arbitrary and often don’t make sense. As someone pointed out above, marriage at 13, video games at 17 beer at 21. They also don’t take into account individual decisions and the ability to make that decision. They are a nice guideline, but it takes more work to find out if they apply to any given situation.

  36. wsdave,

    The average age of loss of virginity in the U.S. is below age 17 and nearer to age 16. That this girl lost her virginity at age 13 isn’t unusual.

  37. Time to arrest Jerry Lee Lewis, I guess.

    And Bill Wyman.

    And Jimmy Page.

    And Sergei Federov.

    And a decent sized chuck of the male population of the US for most of its history.

    And a lot of assholes in the Bible that this dickhead Nebraska Ag probably slobbers over.

    Politcally correct moral outrage is fucking tiresome–leave these people alone and get your own shit straight. They’ve probably fucked up their lives,sure, but they are trying to do the “right thing”–if they hadn’t gotten married, the guy probably wouldn’t even be in trouble with this Nebraska crusading asshole.

  38. Jennifer,

    I might be able to accept expensive gifts from developers who need permits from the boards I staff, and still do my damnedest to be fair and resposible in my work.

    But it stinks to high heaven, and it’s not a circumstance any decent person would put himself in. You just don’t go there.

    mk, I think there’s the possibility that the 22 year old is a decent, emotionally immature person, and that there is real love and respect between the two of them. My points are 1) it isn’t right to just assume that and let him go on his merry way, and 2) regardless, he should have waited, and there needs to be some legal sanction to keep people from taking advantage of kids. At a minimum, probation, counselling, and a DSS file.

  39. joe,

    Anymore circular logic out of you and I will have to slap you. Get outside the box of your cultural mores and give me a reasoned answer.

  40. Joe, there’s a difference between “You just don’t go there” and “he’s taking advantage of her.” And seriously, what is the state’s compelling interest in telling sexually mature people who they can and cannot have consensual sex with?

  41. Jennifer,

    “How do you KNOW he’s taking advantage of her? Seriously.” I don’t, but there is a strong possibility.

  42. “boys and girls these days are maturing a LOT earlier than they used to.”

    Now, I know she didn’t actually “get” pregnant, but wasn’t the mother of Jesus, like, 13 when she gave birth? And SHE was already married! (How old was poor cuckolded Joseph, anyway?)

    Maybe any age scandal was buried under the sensationalism surrounding the whole “king”/”son of God” brouhaha, but I don’t recall Mary’s “maturity” ever being an issue.

  43. B.D.,

    Well, we live in a society where childhood has been stretched out significantly. We, quite frankly, emasculate our children that way, helping them to avoid responsibility, etc.

  44. SP-
    Christianity would be quite different if the Roman Empire had had a DSS.

  45. I think it is great that each state gets to set its own age for marriage.

    I think its great that ppl in the US can move to whatever state heas the marriage laws that suit them best (if they care).

    However, I think the individuals in this case did the marriage too late to help them on any rape charges that apply to the pre-marital contact.

    Will be a *very* interesting federalism case where a 13 yo gets married in Kansas first and only then starts to have sex in Nebraska. In that case, I hope there is some kind of full faith and credit / right to travel based defense, but I really don’t know.

    I don’t personally feel any moral outrage at 13 yo’s getting married and then having sex. If I were personally setting the law, I would set the age higher, but this seems like an area where reasonable people can differ. If Kansas really wants to keep giving its 13 yo’s autonomy to marry, then there should probably be at least some procedural safeguards in place to make sure that consent is real and informed when one or both of the affianced is esp young.

  46. joe,

    I don’t, but there is a strong possibility.

    It wasn’t just a “strong possibility” a few moments ago; it was an absolute certainty.

  47. Seriously, I think libertarians should keep their hands off stuff like this. A guy in his twenties having sex with a 13-year old girl? This is not a liberty issue.

    This ranks right up there with the “corpse-fucking libertarians” issue out in California.

    I’m not for doing a whole lot “for the children,” but it makes perfect sense that, to avoid any type of “confusion” of this sort, wherein parents may be complete and total creeps or idiots and a child may be molested as a result, that the people of Nebraska should be allowed to make laws regulating the behavioral interactions of minors and adults.

    If it were a seventeen year old girl, I’d argue that she should be considered competent, but I’m not convinced a 13 year old or a 14 year old is competent, nor 15 or 16.

  48. Haklyut, Jennifer, if you don’t grasp on your own the conflicts of interest here, the vulnerable position of the kid, and broad social good that having something besides the conscience of the predator to protect the prey, I don’t think I’m going to be able to convince you otherwise.

    If I trade a six year old five shiny pennies for his $20 bill, I’m a dirty thief. It doesn’t matter if he agreed.

  49. A 13 year old girl cannot give meaningful consent to sex, and is extremely vulnerable to being manipulated by an adult man.

    Because it’s so much better to be manipulated by the law and its enforcers.

  50. “How old was poor cuckolded Joseph, anyway?”

    There’s no way to know for sure, but if their betrothal followed the usual pattern, abotu 15 or 16.

  51. Hakluyt,

    Well put. We agree on this.

    I also will commit a tale of a friend of mine who once confided in me that she lost her virginity at the age of 13 – to a teacher from her school. When, at the time, I suggested outrage, that the teacher was in a position of authority, that he took advantage of her, yadda yadda, I’ll never forget the backlash I got from her. She made it very clear that it was her choice, that she pursued the short affair, that she was happy with her choice, and that I was being a paternalistic ass. I thought about it and concluded that she was right. Who was I to define this experience for her?

  52. “I was 16. I have a friend who was 12, another who was 13, and one who was 14. All turned out ok.”

    Serafina: None pregnant or married, because even at those ages, they were smart enough to take precautions.

    Joe: The 16 was 17, the 12 was 13, the 13 was 34 and the 14 was 18. But why does that matter? Either a 13 year old is mature enough to decide or not, regardless of the age of the other party. Or are you suggesting that it’s ok for two 13 year olds but not if one of them is 22, because a 13 year old is more mature around people her own age?

  53. Joe, in your money-changing example you’re clearly scamming the kid out of money. But in this sex thing, it’s basically circular logic. You’re operating from the unproven assumption that having sex is inherently bad, and since it’s bad for people to have sex, the state thus has an interest in regulating who is and is not allowed to have it.

    How do you even know it’s “predator” and “prey?” If B.D.’s grandparents fall into a time machine on their wedding day and arrive in our society, should we arrest his grandfather for preying on a young teenage girl?

    My boyfriend is 8 years and 17 days older than I am. I assume you don’t have a problem with it since we’re both well above the age of legal adulthood, but how many years back in time do we have to go before Jeff is magically transformed from “loving man” to “sick predatory fuck?”

  54. “What were the ages of their first partners, seems like the more important question.”

    Really? How can it be that a 13-year-old girl has the capacity to give meaningful consent to intercourse with another 13-year-old, but not to give such consent to a 22-year-old?

  55. Note the prosecutor’s statements reflect joe’s:

    ?The idea … is repugnant to me,? said Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning. ?These people made the decision to send their … 14-year-old daughter to Kansas to marry a pedophile.?

    He said the marriage is valid, thanks to the ?ridiculous? Kansas law, ?but it doesn?t matter. I?m not going to stand by while a grown man … has a relationship with a 13-year-old ? now 14-year-old ? girl.?

    There is nothing in the article about abuse, etc.

  56. wsdave, I’m suggesting that it’s “ok” for two 13 year olds, but not for a 13 year old and a 22 year old, because the 22 year old is in a more powerful position to pressure and exploint the 13 year old than another 13 year old.

    Haklyut,

    “It wasn’t just a “strong possibility” a few moments ago; it was an absolute certainty.”

    Look up “bribery.” Look up “conflict of interest.” Cross-apply the reasoning. The “conflict of interest” is an absolute certainty. The “bribery” is a strong possibility.

    If a Planning Board member is given a car by an applicant, and votes to approve his plan, you dono’t just assume that the two were unrelated. You don’t even adopt a neutral position on it – you toss his ass off the board for conflict of interest, and investigate him for bribery.

  57. Jennifer,
    To follow your line of reasoning, in all seriousness, what does sexual maturity have to do with it?

  58. “You’re operating from the unproven assumption that having sex is inherently bad,”

    No, I’m operating from the assumption that sex without meaningful consent is bad. Someone who penetrates a passed-out girl should be prosecuted for rape, even if there are no physical injuries. However, if she’s awake and up for it, go for it.

  59. joe,

    Ooh, finally a reasoned approach to this issue that falls outside absolutist truth claims based on cultural mores. Thanks. πŸ™‚

    …if you don’t grasp on your own the conflicts of interest here…

    Hmm, there are conflicts of interest in almost every area of life.

    …the vulnerable position of the kid…

    Based on the facts you don’t know whether her particular position is one of vulnerability.

    …and broad social good that having something besides the conscience of the predator to protect the prey…

    This is a shrill argument from emotion, not reason.

  60. Jennifer,
    WTF? I mean, all your posts would apply equally if she were twelve or eleven. How about eight? Would you still be saying what you’re saying if she was eight?

    A guy in his 20’s has sex with a 13-year-old girl. That is a crime whatever else may be the case. He absolutely deserves a statutory rape conviction. Although it nauseates me to say it, I find myself in complete agreement with joe on this one.

    Now you’ll have to excuse me while I plunge the fingers that typed that into hot coals…

  61. Generally, I understand Jennifer, Hakluyt, et. al’s positions, but I don’t think that the “Mary and Loretta Lynn and my aunt Fannie did it” arguments are persuasive. Lots of things were done regularly in the good old days that we now frown on (insert outrageous examples here).

    Specifically, I don’t think Jimmy Page should ever be used as an exhibit for the defense of a particular sexual practice or lifestyle. Or Jerry Lee Lewis either.

    And I doubt that the guy is using a cell phone. I have no reason other than innate anti-white trash bigotry for assuming this, but it’s a bigotry born of long acquaintance with white trash both kin and kith.

  62. I’m operating from the assumption that sex without meaningful consent is bad.

    And also, presumably, that a 13-year-old cannot give meaningful consent to anybody more than X years older than she.

    Coach–
    To follow your line of reasoning, in all seriousness, what does sexual maturity have to do with it?

    perhaps nothing; I’m wondering, though, why the STATE thinks it shouldn’t matter.

  63. Jennifer,

    After reading through this further and trying out my brain instead of my initial knee-jerk reaction, I’m not sure where I stand on this – sorry for my initial snarky reply.

  64. To all those who want this man to go to jail–if the 13-year-old waits for her husband and returns to him when he’s released, will you apologize for separating them for so long, or still insist that you did it for her own good?

  65. joe,

    The “conflict of interest” is an absolute certainty. The “bribery” is a strong possibility.

    Sorry, but this is laughable. You didn’t mean anything like this in your original comment. You made an absolute truth claim, and now you are trying to twist it around as if you made some fantastic insight. I am laughing my ass off at you. πŸ™‚

    HA HA HA HA!

  66. Are there any children of the 60’s here? How come you guys did all that stupid stuff (free love, drugs, deranged music, etc.) back then, turned out (more or less) in good shape, but want to “protect” your children from the the same things?

    Joe: You assume that 13 year olds don’t have any more of an idea about morals or values than a 6 year old (or a government employee). I would suggest you spend some time getting to know a few, but you’d probably think you we’re a pedophile for doing so.

    Kids are a LOT smarter than you give them credit for. You were at that age, why do you assume that they’re not?

  67. Again, we’re talking about laws based on personal taste rather than any actual reasoning.

    You find a 22 yeard old guy with a 13 year old girl repugnant but none of the parties involved, including the parents, do. So what business is it of yours??

  68. Joe,

    I think there is a much bigger problem with older ppl (eg, 22) pressuring younger ppl for sex.

    I am not sure there is such a big systemic problem with older ppl pressuring younger people to marry. Sure, I can find anecdoes or make hypotheticals where there is undue pressure for marriage, but this pressure may unpredictable and diffuse enough that I am not willing to say that all, or even most, marriages involving 13 yo’s also involve some form of procedural unconscionability.

    Maybe premarital sex should disqualify a 13 yo from getting married. That would remove many of the unfair situations, while still allowing responsible 13 yo’s to enjoy responsible sex, and other comforts of matrimony, responsibly.

  69. jennifer,

    Well, that and the poor kid’s father might now receive a fifty year sentence to boot. What was all this language about “broad social goods?” πŸ™‚

  70. Rich Ard–
    De nada.

    Something funny, though, about the insistence that the 22-year-old preyed on this young girl–when I was in school, any young girl who scored with an older man would have achieved SERIOUS status points. How do we know SHE wasn’t being predatory toward him? Seriously.

  71. Russ D.,

    You’d have to come up with some data which demonstrated that such marraiges are inherently bad (which is essentially what joe’s argument boils down to – that they are inherently bad). Until that time its just circular logic and a matter of personal taste.

  72. Hernry, Jennifer and the like,

    I’m looking forward to fucking your underaged daughters. Don’t worry, it won’t be skeevy or perverted. It will be love true and pure. I promise.

    Giggitty Giggitty.

  73. Paraphrasing Owen Allred:

    The man who wants a young girl to be his sexual partner can have children by her, and the state will support those children. If the two decide to stay together they become criminals.

  74. Jennifer,

    Because 13 year olds can’t have such motives. They are as clean as the pure driven snow. Now 13 year olds can think upon and plan and carry out acts of homocide, but no way could a 13 year old seduce someone. πŸ™‚

  75. Jennifer,
    Once a sick predatory fuck, always a sick predatory fuck. And 9 out of 10 feminists agree; all men are sick predatory fucks. Unless they’re gay. Tops are all SPF’s. Bottoms are victims.

  76. ralphus: If my daughter wants to have sex with you, that will be her choice, not mine. Though with an attitude like yours, somehow I doubt she’d choose that….

  77. “Tops are all SPF’s. Bottoms are victims.”

    What does this mean? Literally, that is … What do these sentences mean?

  78. Jennifer,

    What we have here are a bunch of people who have jumped the gun on an issue where the facts are in small proportion to the amount of conjecture created.

  79. Interesting that nobody here wants to draw a line, but just about everyone wants one drawn.

    “Well, if it was 17 it wouldn’t be a problem, but 12 is too young…”

    That implies that a line somewhere between 17 and 12 exists and should be drawn.

    And if we believe that there are differences in maturity between different people of the same age, and we wish to limit the involvement of the state to what’s absolutely necessary…

    It’s a very interesting problem.

  80. Hakluyt: “Because 13 year olds can’t have such motives. They are as clean as the pure driven snow. Now 13 year olds can think upon and plan and carry out acts of homocide, but no way could a 13 year old seduce someone. :)”

    And they would NEVER seduce someone and then kill them…. πŸ˜‰

  81. Pete: Indeed.

  82. Jennifer,

    No. People who commit crimes are usually free to consort with the victims of their crimes after their release. If he’s found guilty and jailed and emerges when she’s an adult, I encourage them to fuck each others brains out.

  83. I have a question. If males and females of our species can have sex and procreate at the age of 13, that is our basic biology allows for such, why is that some people claim that our basic biology doesn’t allow for a similar mental maturity? Is it that our culture stunts such mental maturity?

  84. You’re right, NoStar, I keep forgetting that People of Penis (or would that be Penile-Americans?) are incapable of being good in rreagrds to us helpless widdle females.

    But the vileness of men notwithstanding, I STILL wish somebody will explain why the state should have the right to tell a person who she can or cannot have sex with. And I would still like the folks who want this guy in jail to tell me: if she still wants this man when she’s eighteen, will you let him out of jail, or continue insisting that she doesn’t know what the hell she wants, and must be forcibly protected from herself?

    And I’m embarrassed to admit this, but if my thirteen-year-old self had had the chance to sleep with various twentysomething members of Duran Duran, I’d’ve jumped at the chance. Probably wouldn’t have been any good at that age, so Simon and John wouldn’t have gotten much out of the experience, but I sure as hell would have.

  85. Hak: That’s my vote. Children are being repressed in our culture by the very people who ruined our culture with all that “jungle music” (that would be Elvis).

  86. Well, if the word “pedophile” actually means anything, then this is a crime.

    Not to be a pedant, but if the word “pedophile” means anything, it doesn’t apply in this case. Pedophiles are attracted to prepubescent children. This girl obviously was sexually mature, since she got pregnant. (Whether she was emotionally mature is, of course, a different matter.)

    If it turns out that he started diddling her back when she was nine, then the guy’s a pedophile. But I suspect he wasn’t. Pedophiles aren’t usually attracted to teens or adults.

  87. Anyone ever see “Coal Miners Daughter”? Ever read anything about the age various kings took the throne?

    That said, I’d probably strangle anyone who tried that with my 13 yo neice.

  88. Jennifer: Hell, I TOO would have done the Duran Duran guys…. : )

  89. To all those who want this man to go to jail–if the 13-year-old waits for her husband and returns to him when he’s released, will you apologize for separating them for so long, or still insist that you did it for her own good?

    If a woman who is regularly beaten by her husband returns to him after he’s charged, imprisoned, and eventually released, was it wrong to imprison the abusive husband?

  90. wsdave,

    We’ll see how enlightened you are when it becomes a reality instead of a hypothetical.

    Hakluyt,

    Fact 1: she’s 14

    Fact 2: he’s 22

    Fact 3: It’s illegal

    What fact am I missing?

  91. Jesse Walker,

    Pointing out the term pedophile doesn’t apply in the case of the post-pubescent is so Catholic Church sexual abuse scandal. πŸ™‚

  92. I think the concept of “age of consent” is meaningful and gives the government the legitimate authority (some here would have my head if I said “right”!) to protect people under that age from themselves. That, OTOH, doesn’t mean it’s always a good idea. The question also arises whether a prosecutor should always prosecute when a law is broken or should he exercise personal discretion based on whether prosecuting the law is the best alternative in a particular circ. Seems to me there’s pros and cons all around.

    (Sorry for being so wishy-washy, I swear it won’t last!)

  93. According to the Gospel of James, Mary was only 13 when she had Jesus. I don’t see too many people in Nebraska running around saying god is a pedophile.

    The question I want answered is what happens if both were under 18 or 15? Would the AG go after both of them or neither? The fact remains that most all numbers applied to law are arbitrary, recent and, it seems, going in the wrong direction. While it’s probably necessary to put an arbitrary number on some things to have a baseline, there should always be ways to opt out.

  94. Phil,

    That analogy is a false one.

    ralphus,

    Pot is illegal. Cocaine is illegal. Voluntary organ sales are illegal. You make the fallacious assumption that illegality equals a rational or useful means to distinguish human behavior.

  95. If it were a seventeen year old girl, I’d argue that she should be considered competent, but I’m not convinced a 13 year old or a 14 year old is competent, nor 15 or 16.

    I’m not convinced that most 30 or 40 year olds are competent, if by competent you mean capable of making reasoned decisions based on the available evidence with an eye towards the probability of a negative outcome to any choice they might make (as a small proof of this, I would like to point out the continuing popularity of lottery tickets).
    That does not mean that I should be in the position of stepping in, and say, preventing people from making bad decisions – i.e, buying lottery tickets. That’s why I’m reading a libertarian site – I agree with the position that people should be allowed to make stupid choices.
    In regards to sexual activity, I think that these situations are actually pretty clear. Nature has already established an age, which varies for each individual, at which point they sexually mature and become interested in pursuing intercourse. It’s called puberty. It’s a freak historical accident that we’ve created an age range between puberty and adulthood, during which people are biologically compelled to copulate while such activities are legally restricted. This conflict has caused no end of social trouble and we should just realize that nature trumps legislature, and give this battle up.
    To answer the poll concerning my own personal experience, I was 17, she was 15, we’ve been friends through the many intervening years, and she’s one of the most mature, stable women I know.

  96. For joe and the others who agree with the Nebraska attorney general, I’d highly recommend that you read all of Lillian Harman’s “Age of Consent Symposium” from the late 19th Century: http://flag.blackened.net/daver/anarchism/tucker/aoc.html

    It includes this insightful information: The age of consent varies from ten years to eighteen, being the latter only in Kansas and Wyoming. In all the States association with a girl before she has reached the age prescribed in the statutes of the State in which she lives is rape, regardless of her consent to the association. The limit is ten years in three States, twelve years in four, thirteen years in three, fourteen years in nineteen, fifteen years in one, sixteen years in twelve, seventeen years in one, and eighteen years in two.

    With that knowledge, in your opinion, were the legislatures and voters of all the states that had ages below whatever arbitrary number you would assign to the age of consent composed of “pedophiles”? (Setting aside the fact that expressing sexual interest in someone who is pubescent is a priori not pedophilia.)

  97. A 13 year old girl cannot give meaningful consent…
    Comment by: joe at July 27, 2005 11:11 AM

    According to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and NARAL, she can.

    Only a right-wing neanderthal (redundant, I know) would think otherwise.

  98. Jesse,

    I checked at dictionary.com and M-W.com first, and there was no mention of pubescence in the definition of pedophile. So I guess, according to dictionary.com and M-W.com, you’re not at all pedantic.

    Just wondering… is there a word to describe someone like the 22-year-old in this case?

  99. fyodor,

    The question also arises whether a prosecutor should always prosecute when a law is broken or should he exercise personal discretion based on whether prosecuting the law is the best alternative in a particular circ.

    Prosecutors are supposed to weigh such things (indeed, its part of a formalized code of conduct). In this case, from what I have seen from his statements, this prosecutor hasn’t done that; he’s had the same sort of emotional reaction that joe has had.

  100. Regardless of what one might think about the initial decision to have sex and whether that consent was meaningful, yadda yadda, I’m skeptical of her consent to marry. Her parents were on board with this? I’d like to find out if she was pressured, and whether that pressure, coupled with her level of maturity, renders meaningless her ability to give informed consent to marriage.

    Face it: Consenting to have sex once, despite the potential life-long consequences (e.g. pregnancy, disease, etc.) is not as serious of a commitment as consenting to marry. A sexual encounter lasts one night (at most). A marriage lasts, well, longer than that (except in Vegas and Larry King’s household), and ending a marriage is more complicated than simply saying goodbye and going home.

    I’m not trying to dismiss concerns about the sexual encounter, but I give higher priority to the circumstances of the marriage. That’s a legally binding contract that’s recognized by the state, and it’s not exactly easy to get out of it. Oh, anybody can divorce, but it’s never simple. Given that an immature person made 2 questionable decisions, I’d rather focus on the more serious one and find out the circumstances under which consent was supposedly given.

  101. Buh-bye, disphit Hack. My first “absolutist” comment of the thread was, “I have this really crazy, totally irrelevant question I just have to get off my chest:

    What does the girl think?”

    You’re up to your old tricks of playing dumb and misrepresenting my position, so once again, I’m done with you.

  102. ralphus,

    My attitude won’t change, because I’ve already thought through the pro’s and con’s of the situation and come to a (always open for more input) reasonable decision on the issue. Short of some new discovery of info, why would my position change?

  103. Hakluyt,

    So you’re from the – if it bleeds it breeds/ if there’s grass on the outfield play ball – camp?

  104. You know, Hack’s posts are so idiotic, so easily refuted, that I’m almost sorry I’ve taken myself out the running to be the one to knock them out of the ballpark.

    But I gots me principles, I do.

  105. Pedophile:
    American Heritage: “An adult who is sexually attracted to a child or children.”

    Child:
    American Heritage: “A person between birth and puberty.”

    She’s not a child… and he’s probably not an adult either.

  106. Jennifer, your wish is my command.

    “I STILL wish somebody will explain why the state should have the right to tell a person who she can or cannot have sex with.”

    Because children lack the maturity and wisdom to give meaningful consent.

  107. History: that’s what I mean about the itching and chafing. My intellectual position on issues like this does not comport with my emotional position. I cannot justify this rationally or logically, and I agree with Jennifer that “ooh yuck!” is not a proper basis for state interference, but….ooh. Yuck.

    Jennifer: yes, under the right circumstances, a 13 year old scoring an older guy does get status points. But I am sticking to my original (and totally baseless) hunch that the 22 year old in question is a trailor dwelling, wife beater in public wearing, erratically employed, dentally disabled, no stranger to overnight lockup redneck, and so, she’s probably not envied among the in crowd. We’re likely not talking Dawson’s Creek or the OC here. If it turns out that Mr. Koso is in graduate school and that Mrs. Koso intends to finish her education and go on to a degree in business administration, then so much the better.

  108. Joe,

    “Child:
    American Heritage: “A person between birth and puberty.”

    She wasn’t a child.

  109. wsdave,

    Because reason and rational thought go out the window when some skeeve in his 20s is tapping your daughter’s 13-year-old ass. Have fun raising his kid.

  110. joe,

    I’m not up to any tricks.

    I asked you a specific question and you gave me a specific and absolute answer (and your quoted language has nothing to do with either). I took you at your word, but your word apparently doesn’t mean much.

    For some reason your specific answers should never be taken seriously unless you want them to be taken seriously; if they box you into a corner, well, you really didn’t mean that. After a while such sophistry wears on me.

    Here is the exchange between you and me:

    _____________

    joe,

    But 22 and 13? That’s just not right.

    Why?

    ___________

    Haklyut,

    Because he’s taking advantage of her.

    ___________

    joe,

    I don’t, but there is a strong possibility.

    It wasn’t just a “strong possibility” a few moments ago; it was an absolute certainty.

  111. Because children lack the maturity and wisdom to give meaningful consent.

    If child means “prepubertal,” then yes. Otherwise, since everyone is someone’s child, then no-one could be mature enough to have sex…

  112. “Because reason and rational thought go out the window when some skeeve in his 20s is tapping your daughter’s 13-year-old ass. Have fun raising his kid.”

    Actually, if he’s in her ass, there wouldn’t be a kid. But thanks for the encouragement.

  113. Just wondering… is there a word to describe someone like the 22-year-old in this case?

    The psychiatric term is “ephebophile.” A gay adult who prefers adolescent partners is called a “pederast.” I’m not sure if there’s an equivalent term for lesbian or heterosexual relationships.

  114. Would anyone like to post a comment or question addressed to me? Anyone?

    I promise I’ll read through, and not just skip over it when I see who posted it.

  115. joe,

    *yawn*

  116. Hakluyt,

    Good point on the question of legality. So I’ll just keep somkeing my weed and you can keep cruising for babes at Abercrombie.

    Fuck tha Man!

  117. Jennifer et al.
    Since you find 13 old enough to consent to sex, how about porn, alcohol, other drugs? How about voting? If this girl is mature enough to govern herself, then I assume you think she should have be able to vote too. Don’t you?

    I’m still waiting to know if you would be making the same arguments if she were eight? Or are you taking the ‘old enough to bleed, old enough to breed’ approach?

  118. Joe,

    I did. Several. In response to your questions. I thought you were just ignoring them.

  119. CML,

    *LOL*

  120. Warren,

    I think voting should be at 14, but only if you work. Otherwise it should be 16.

  121. Warren, I don’t think Hack of Jennifer are as perverse as their arguments make them out to be.

    They’re just so determined that it couldn’t possibly be right for the government to argue from the NAMBLA talking points to avoid any heresy.

    Hey, she liked it. Really. Kids develop a lot earlier than they’re given credit for. It’s loving, and their natural desire to get with a great big old bear like me shouldn’t be stifled.

  122. Holy shit. I look away from H&R for an hour and we’ve got people defending a 22-year-old fucking a 13-year-old. Real classy. I feel dirty after reading this thread.

    And the guy who said it would be none of his business if his 13-year-old daughter fucked a 22-year-old? I’m guessing you don’t have a daughter.

  123. Warren,

    The problem is that joe, etc. make some rather arbitrary truth claims about maturity.

  124. “Jennifer OR Hack”

    “couldn’t possibly be right for the government to TAKE ANY ACTION THAT THEY’RE WILLING TO argue from the NAMBLA talking points…”

  125. Jesse,

    Thanks. And I stand corrected.

  126. As for old enough to bleed…

    How about old enough to understand the ramifications of what you’re doing, which will vary per person, up to and including never (apperantly).

  127. joe,
    Stop touching me.

  128. joe,

    Its not really an issue of heresy. It is an issue of reasoned statements. So far, you’ve provided me with none and your reaction has largely been an emotional one.

  129. wsdave,

    While that is an ideal theoretical standard, there is no way to apply. Which leaves us with either an arbitary line, or Uncle Charlie being allowed to fiddle around with little kids.

  130. I don’t think belittling their positions and simplifying it is doing any good. Fact: None of us know all of the particulars, so we’re all talking out of asses.

    Given that, some of us want to see the state run right in and make rash decisions such as a 13 year old can never consent.

    It’s simply quite a bit more complicated than that and it needs to be a reasoned decision and discussion. That’s the position I’m taking.

  131. Steve,
    “And the guy who said it would be none of his business if his 13-year-old daughter fucked a 22-year-old? I’m guessing you don’t have a daughter.”

    Actually I do. And a 13 year old Niece.

  132. joe,

    I’m sorry, but I am not arguing the NAMBLA talking points (I don’t even know what they are). But hey, thanks for trying to smear me and Jennifer instead of engaging in a rational debate. πŸ™‚

  133. BD,

    Ditto. Sadly, admitting the possibility that a 13 year old might be exploited by a 22 year old is a frightening concept for some people.

    More frightening, apparently, than the exploitatino itself.

  134. I’m still waiting for the ages of the nay-sayers’ first sex (and their first Elvis).

  135. ws dave,

    I apologize. Are there any specific thoughts you’d like me to respond to?

  136. wsdave and joe: Finally we’re at the real issue here–do we draw a line or not? Does anyone here, including Hack, really believe there should be no laws establishing where that line is?

  137. Obviously, we need a splinter group: Libertarains against NAMBLA.

    “Dude, you have sex with children!”

    –Stan Marsh

  138. Since you find 13 old enough to consent to sex, how about porn, alcohol, other drugs? How about voting? If this girl is mature enough to govern herself, then I assume you think she should have be able to vote too. Don’t you?

    Insofar as porn, EtOH, etc. are concerned, these are other situations where the law as it is currently written, is largely irrelevant. No on that I have ever discussed the issue with (although, perhaps, there are some here), waited until the legal drinking age before having their first drink. Most people drink a little in their mid teens, peak in their late teens/early twenties, and then taper off, the law be damned.

    And porn. Seriously. How many people think that laws, as they are currently written, keep porn out of the hands of 14 year old boys. Did any man here hold off until 18 before trying to get his first girly mag?

    Perhaps these examples are less issues of what should be, rather than simply problems acknowledging was actually is. Arguing about what should be “allowed” about a lot of these issues is like arguing about whether the sun should be allowed to rise.
    Now voting, that’s another story. I actually think there’s a good deal of utility in lowering voting ages, in that the issues of young people are particularly poorly addressed in this country. And teenagers can’t be any dumber than the currant electorate.

  139. Joe,

    Yes, a 13 year old MIGHT be exploited, but then again, maybe not. My arguement is that 13 years old doesn’t automatically make someone a victim.

  140. Joe,

    Did I miss something? Did Jennifer or Hak ever say that a 13 year old cannot be exploited by a 22 year old? I rather thought that they were reacting to your supposition that a 13 year old cannot make an informed consent (to which I reacted as well). Perhaps I did miss something…

  141. wsdave,

    That of course is one of the basic problems with universal legal regimes that set arbitrary ages for their ramifications. Plus, does anyone honestly think that there is any, you know, science behind most age of consent laws?

  142. Joe, your first comment was to ask what the girl in question thinks. Suppose she says that she loves her husband and wants him with her, rather than in prison? Then what–do you accept her opinion, or argue with her until she realizes that she’s actually been oppressed and should be miserable?

  143. I’m getting a time machine & going back to arrest all my relatives over the centuries who married in their early teens. Fuckin’ pervs!

  144. For the record, guys: NAMBLA favors sex with children, which is to say pre-adolescents who have not even STARTED to reach sexual maturity. Big difference. Now that we’ve burned the strawman, can we get on with the debate?

  145. wsdave,

    Good one.

    Still, I expect that you won’t be quite as calm and rational as you think should the scenario actually unfold.

    You can argue that the way we treat children has made them too immature to deal with the natural sexual drives they have. But, the fact is that no matter how we got there, it is where we are today. Immature is immature. Should we not protect them from the people who would prey on that immaturity?

    Also, since one of the laws primary roles is to mitigate revenge, shouldn’t the state punish the guy that boffs my 13-year-old daughter to keep me from killing him?

    Let’s say the girl initiates. Shouldn’t the mature adult rebuff her advance? Just because someone asks me to rob a bank doesn’t mean I’m off the hook if I do.

  146. It’s simply quite a bit more complicated than that and it needs to be a reasoned decision and discussion. That’s the position I’m taking.

    I can make no commentary on the particulars of this case. Maybe he was taking advantage of her tender age. Maybe she was using him to get out of an abusive situation at home or a dead-end town. Maybe they were both taking advantage of one another. Maybe no one took advantage of anyone. I can’t say. I can only speak to generatlities.

  147. Ron bites into the steak of the problem:

    Even if we have enough knowledge (rare), do we have the right to set a limit? My experience tells me that, in this day and age, most kids can (and many do) make informed decisions about sex bybthe time they’re 12-13. Another interesting point, is it different for girls? If the older person had been female and the 13 year old male, would we be having this conversation?

  148. joe,

    Sadly, admitting the possibility that a 13 year old might be exploited by a 22 year old is a frightening concept for some people.

    Ahh, so this is a case of you jumping to unwarranted conclusions. Maybe you ought to ask me my opinions before you tell me what they are. πŸ™‚

  149. Since someone brought up voting…

    If you pay taxes, you should be allowed to vote. That includes sales taxes. Otherwise it’s taxation withut representation, the coin a popular saying in children’s history textbooks.

  150. Joe, your first comment was to ask what the girl in question thinks.

    But then his every following comment was about how that was irrelevant. He might have been posturing or had missed the girl’s age the first time…

  151. If you start letting people cross state lines to marry a minor, what’s to stop a donkey fucking maniac from marrying half the barnyard?

    …Yeah I know, it’s a ridiculous argument. But somebody had to get it out of the way. …and if someone else had made the comment, it might not have contained a reference to donkey fucking.

    P.S. The question of consent seems out of context in a case where the parents legally consented, and, indeed, the state in question recognized that consent. What, are we arguing for federal marriage standards now?

  152. I am reminded of the Mary Kay LeTourneau case. She did a kid (or the kid did her, no difference under law), was excoriated in the press and court of popular opinion, and did jail time after going to real court. This, despite the fact that she and the kid had their own kid.

    Years later, she is out of jail. She and the kid (now a young man) are married, raising their offspring together. Their lives were twisted inside out, for many years, just so the law could be respected, and so that people’s sense of righteous indignation could be appeased. Does that seem right to anyone?

    I’m with Jennifer on this one: why is it right for the State to dictate terms in cases like this? I might accept the State’s role in the absence of parental involvement. But if the parents don’t want to press charges, the minor doesn’t want to press charges, and the couple is now married, what interest does the State have in LeTourneau-izing the adult?

    Promoting the sexual purity of kids is only one job of their parents. Decisions about shelter, clothing, proper nutrition, healthcare, and many others are the prerogatives of parents. If the State has proper authority to overrule parents in cases of sexual relations, I don’t see anything preventing parents from being secondary to the State in all matters of child-rearing. Instead of the State functioning “in loco parentis,” parents all too often seem to be treated as nothing more than conveniently commissioned agents of the state, whose child-rearing privileges can be revoked or curtailed at State discretion.

    If the kid feels as if she were raped — or even if only the parents do — then fine. The State justice system can do its duty. But messing with people’s lives and their private arrangements just to ensure that “the law is respected” is a red flag that the law is, at least in some cases, not respectable, and in need of adjustment.

  153. Joe said:
    “Ditto. Sadly, admitting the possibility that a 13 year old might be exploited by a 22 year old is a frightening concept for some people.”

    Oh come on Joe, now you are being intellectually dishonest. No one is saying that it isn’t a possibility. Instead it is you who is saying that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a 13 and a 22 year old to be involved without the 13 year old being exploited. Jennifer and Hacklyut are basically arguing (and I agreee with them) that at age 13 there’s a very large number of minors who can consent to having sex with someone without being exploited. It is you who is frightened by the possibility that maybe just maybe everyone involved in this situation is happy and there is nothing wrong with it. To sit here and argue that simply based on the age of the players you can assume exploitation is just stupid and disrespectful to all young adults. There are plenty of mature rational 13 and 14 year olds and there are plenty of immature irrational 18, 19, 20 year olds, and to try generalize based on an arbitrary age is foolish.

    In my opinion, barring any evidence of abuse or if the wife claimed any pressure or exploitation, the governement should get its nose out of this case. And lets be honest, if there was reasonable suspicion of abuse/exploitation the AG would make that his main argument not that “its just wrong” crap.

  154. wsdave: That’s why state legislatures keep coming up with different answers. 4 years old? No argument. 14?

  155. B.D., you’re nuancing this issue to death. Is it wrong for adults to have sex with children? Yes. It’s wrong, and there’s a victim, so it should be a crime.

    As to where you draw the line, that’s a tough question. Is a 16-year-old old enough to consent to sex with an adult? Probably. A 15-year-old? Maybe. But 13? God, no.

    Point is, you have to draw the line somewhere. You can’t have a law that says, “sex with a minor is statutory rape if we decide the kid isn’t mature enough.”

    The law is a broad instrument, maybe too broad sometimes. Yes, once in a while, a 22-year-old who’s having sex with a 13-year-old who happens to be really mature might get prosecuted. But really, so fucking what? I don’t think it would be world’s greatest injustice.

  156. Also, since one of the laws primary roles is to mitigate revenge, shouldn’t the state punish the guy that boffs my 13-year-old daughter to keep me from killing him?

    In other words, arrest anybody I personally feel like throttling. Jesus Christ, half the Reason posters’ll get life sentences with THAT guideline!

  157. ralphus,

    ” Should we not protect them from the people who would prey on that immaturity?”

    Or how about we educate the kids at an age roughly equal to when they learn about sex from thier friends (usually much earlier than we do now). I don’t fear my kids (or yours, for that matter) knowing about sex and how to handle sexual situations that may come up. That’s just good self-defense.

    “Also, since one of the laws primary roles is to mitigate revenge, shouldn’t the state punish the guy that boffs my 13-year-old daughter to keep me from killing him?”

    Actually, that’s what the death penalty is for, for all the good it does.

  158. B.D.,

    joe’s agenda is to create opinions for others out of well, thin air. At the same time, any statement he makes which he finds was unwise on his part, can always be explained away. πŸ™‚

    wsdave,

    No, there can be no discussion! If you have questions, discuss the matter, etc. you are automatically a bad guy! πŸ™‚

  159. Screw it. I’m tired of arguing. I’m going to go cruise me some teen web-cams.

  160. Should we not protect them from the people who would prey on that immaturity?

    Most of the people who prey on the immaturity of 14 year old girls are 14 year old boys. As things currently stand, the state offers no protections in this area.

  161. Why are we advancing the lunatic fiction that any person has ever, at any age, made a rational decision about who to fuck and who to marry?

  162. Perhaps, BD, you missed the part where I wrote, “I have this really crazy, totally irrelevant question I just have to get off my chest:

    What does the girl think?”

    If the run of the debate ends up with people accusing me of taking an obsolutist position and of declaring all non-virginal teenagers to be victims, it’s not because I have stated either of those things, but because absolutists on the other side go all jihad on my ass whenever I stray from their black or white world.

  163. James hits the nail on the head.

  164. I wouldn’t want my 13 year old daughter having sex with a 22 year old. I also wouldn’t want her using drugs. Or looking at dirty magazines. Or playing Grand Theft Auto. Or listening to country music. Or ditching PE class. Or wearing revealing clothing.

    But I don’t want any of those activities to be illegal.

  165. Jennifer,

    “Joe, your first comment was to ask what the girl in question thinks. Suppose she says that she loves her husband and wants him with her, rather than in prison? Then what–do you accept her opinion, or argue with her until she realizes that she’s actually been oppressed and should be miserable?” I’d say the interview should go beyond a yes-or-no question. I know, I know, mushy nuance, I’m a Stalinist, I hate sex…

    “For the record, guys: NAMBLA favors sex with children, which is to say pre-adolescents who have not even STARTED to reach sexual maturity. Big difference. Now that we’ve burned the strawman, can we get on with the debate?” Sure. Could you please explain why your higher, but still extant, Ick response is a good guide to the law, but no one else’s is?

  166. Steve,

    Yes, once in a while, a 22-year-old who’s having sex with a 13-year-old who happens to be really mature might get prosecuted. But really, so fucking what? I don’t think it would be world’s greatest injustice.

    In the West people accused of crimes have traditionally (since the Enlightenment) been convicted on the individual nature of their actions.

  167. “Most of the people who prey on the immaturity of 14 year old girls are 14 year old boys.”

    Who seem to be mature enough to “prey” on the girls. I say again, kids aren’t as dumb as the nay-sayers think…

  168. warren,

    I don’t know about you but I was making decisions about porn, pot, alcohol, and sex whan I was 13. I figured in this day and age everyone does. Now whether or not your parents want you to be making those decisions is a different story, but those decisions are being made.

    Some of my decisions were good, and some were bad and I learned from all of them.

    Since I have kids I see a big difference in the judgement of 8 year olds and 13 year olds. I also know some 40 somthings who make dumber decisions than my 8 year old does.

  169. Steve-
    You (among others) keep repeating “it’s wrong,” but WHY? More circular reasoning. It’s wrong, because she’s too young. How do I know this? Because I do. Why is it wrong? Because she’s too young. How do I know?

    I’d certainly favor laws saying you can’t have sex with girls who have not yet reached sexual maturity, because among other things there’s a good chance of vaginal tearing, resulting in peritonitis and death. THAT is a reason. But just saying “It’s wrong, because she’s young, which makes it wrong, because she’s young” isn’t good enough.

    Again–if the girl wants her husband with her, wouldn’t locking him away and turning her into a single teenage mother cause far more harm than that which you claim to be protecting her from?

  170. What Steve said. Hack and Jennifer–quit the fence sitting. Are we going to pick an age or are we going to have a “navel check” test of consent in every case?

  171. Joe,

    At 11:11 (your second post), you wrote:

    “Let’s not go overboard, Jennifer. A 13 year old girl cannot give meaningful consent to sex,”

    Sound pretty absolutionist to me…

  172. Joe,

    I love the phrase “all jihad on my ass” because I’d think it would be “all Abu Grab guards on my ass”, but I digress. Actually, I read your first statement and agreed…it was the first thing I thought as well. I’m sorry if I misunderstood your position, but it did appear as if there were some absolutism in the statement.

    Steve,

    Speaking of absolutism, I’m afraid I disagree with you. A 13 year old can make such an informed decision. We have vague laws involving rape which get put to a jury of 12 people who decide not whether the person is mature enough, but rather who is telling the truth and whether or not it really was rape. We deal with those nuances in the jury system all of the time with sex crimes. It isn’t perfect, but it’s our system. The AG should think this through and thoroughly investigate it and report his findings before taking this to trial. Thus far, we’ve gotten an emotional reaction from him which does little to decide what is justice in this case.

  173. joe,

    Just show us on this anatomically correct doll where Father O’Brien touched you.

  174. I lied. The girls will have to wait.

    wsdave,

    I’m not talking about the death penalty. By mitigating revenge I mean that if someone steals my car I can’t go shoot him. The law exists to make sure the punishment is in proportion to the crime. It makes sure that the aggrieved have received a measure of justice that society has agreed upon so they do not seek their own separate justice. If they do then they are then in violation of the law.

    On another point, I agree that children should be educated on a whole range of issues like sex and drug use. However, just because they are taught something doesn’t mean it sticks or they have the maturity to fully comprehend the possible outcomes of their actions. I’m just now getting calculus.

    Now I?m off to find me some young meat.

  175. joe,

    The point was that you are accusing us of being almost in league with NAMBLA, when NAMBLA’s positions really have nothing to do with the story at hand. You used NAMBLA for shock effect and to get an emotional reaction.

  176. OK, there’s a number of questions here. First the easy ones (which admittedly have little to do with law and policy):

    1) Is the guy a creep? Almost certainly yes.
    2) Did the girl make a bad decision? Yes.
    3) Is the girl immature? Duh.
    4) Does this couple have any hope of long-term happiness together? Almost certainly no.

    Now, those issues aren’t really enough to merit bringing the law in. So some more questions:

    1) Should the guy go to jail? This is the hard one. Until I know more I’ll err on the side of saying no, simply because there should be a high burden of proof before somebody goes to jail.

    2) How meaningful was her consent to marry?

    This is an important one. Even if he doesn’t go to jail, one might argue that she really had no business consenting to marry a creep if she was pressured by her parents and scared by her pregnancy. I’d like to know more about the parents and the scenario.

    Are they uber-religious folks who told her she’d go to hell if she doesn’t marry the first guy she has sex with?

    Did they lay down the “Well, we’re certainly not paying for this baby, so go marry the guy!” line?

    Are they neglectful and self-absorbed people who will sign off on any bad decision that their daughter makes under desperate circumstances?

    There may very well be grounds to annull this marriage. The sex act is done and no public official can change that. But the marriage is an ongoing committment, it’s almost guaranteed to come to a bad end, it’s legally recognized, and when it ends it will be messy. Depending on the circumstances, one could make a good case that the state should take pity on her and annull it as painlessly as possible.

  177. James-

    My thoughts exactly. LeTorneau is now a registerd sex offender for having sex with her husband. Sure they weren’t married at the time, but the only harm in this situation is the scarlette letter she now must bare.

    However, on the flip side, I had a 15 year old cousing pop out a second kid to the 21 year old she was sleeping with. My ever-rightous uncle forced the wedding, you know, shotgun style. After a 3rd kid and few years of abuse, she finally divorced him at 18. She has since been in and out of abusive relationships.

    Sometimes the best intentions of both the state and the parents leads to disaster. This is clearly a difficult issue that a blanket law cannot solve. I think the state, and the parents, need to look at this at a case by case basis in order to attempt to benefit the couple and any children involved.

    Next dilemma, will a red state force a divorce and break up a family?

  178. By the way, I know Joe’s fine with welfare, but for the rest of you libs arguing that the girl’s husband should be locked up–don’t you DARE start bitching if this girl has to go on food stamps and AFDC because her husband’s too busy being raped in the shower to support his wife and child.

  179. By the way, I know Joe’s fine with welfare, but for the rest of you libs arguing that the girl’s husband should be locked up–don’t you DARE start bitching if this girl has to go on food stamps and AFDC because her husband’s too busy being raped in the shower to support his wife and child.

  180. So Jennifer, you’re ok with pedophiles getting blowjobs, because there’s no risk of physical injury?

    Of course you’re not. You know how indefensible your line of argument is.

    Unlike most on this board, you’re willing to admit that a boss has power of an employee that makes her less than free in deciding whether to rebuff his sexual advances. Why are you so unwilling to admit that an adult – with his car, his income, his greater experience at playing the scoring game, and his assumed authority – has power over a child?

  181. Joe,

    I love the phrase “all jihad on my ass” because I’d think it would be “all Abu Grab guards on my ass”, but I digress. Actually, I read your first statement and agreed…it was the first thing I thought as well. I’m sorry if I misunderstood your position, but it did appear as if there were some absolutism in the statement.

    Steve,

    Speaking of absolutism, I’m afraid I disagree with you. A 13 year old can make such an informed decision. We have vague laws involving rape which get put to a jury of 12 people who decide not whether the person is mature enough, but rather who is telling the truth and whether or not it really was rape. We deal with those nuances in the jury system all of the time with sex crimes. It isn’t perfect, but it’s our system. The AG should think this through and thoroughly investigate it and report his findings before taking this to trial. Thus far, we’ve gotten an emotional reaction from him which does little to decide what is justice in this case.

    HL,

    You made me laugh with that quip.

  182. wsdave, a 14 year old can more easily be coerced and manipulated by an older, savvier adult than by another 14 year old. There’s a “pick on someone your own size” dynamic here.

    I don’t think the problem is necessarily that she was 13. The main problem is that he was 22.

  183. I lied. The girls will have to wait.

    wsdave,

    I’m not talking about the death penalty. By mitigating revenge I mean that if someone steals my car I can’t go shoot him. The law exists to make sure the punishment is in proportion to the crime. It makes sure that the aggrieved have received a measure of justice that society has agreed upon so they do not seek their own separate justice. If they do then they are then in violation of the law.

    On another point, I agree that children should be educated on a whole range of issues like sex and drug use. However, just because they are taught something doesn’t mean it sticks or they have the maturity to fully comprehend the possible outcomes of their actions. Hell, I’m just now getting calculus.

    As for 14 on 14 sex. Whatever. If you think 22 on 14 sex is fine then there is no argument I can make to change your mind.

    Now I?m off to find me some young meat.

  184. Joe-
    So now you’re defining “power” as “any advantage in age or wisdom?” Jesus, Joe, go to high school and arrest the guys in the “in” crowd who sleep with willing but stupid unpopular girls, then.

    And why do you persist in using the loaded word “child” in reference to a young woman who, while not mature in the eyes of the law, is fully mature in the eyes of Mother Nature? Oh, right, to further bolster your circular argument.

  185. Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, Jennifer–no, I haven’t really given a lot of thought as to why it’s wrong to have sex with 13-year-olds.

    I suppose I could think about it and give you a sophisticated exegesis on the topic. But if we’re not both starting from the assumption that it’s wrong to fuck 13-year-olds, I don’t know how much good it would do.

    As for the case in question, I’m not sure that putting the guy in jail would be the best thing. It’s too damn bad he wasn’t caught before he could marry her and impregnate her.

    One of the purposes of the state is to remove the need for private vengence. If the state doesn’t act to punish 22-year-olds who fuck 13-year-olds, lots of them will get killed by angry parents. That, in itself, isn’t reason enough to forbid something, but it’s an important consideration.

  186. Sorry for the repeat post.

  187. This may be a double post, but here goes:

    Joe, You’ve now dumbed down the definition of “power” to mean “any advantage–in age, in wisdom, in wealth, whatever.” Jesus–why not go to high school and arrest the guys in the “in-crowd” who sleep with willing but stupid unpopular girls, then? The guys are taking advantage of their superior social status.

    And Joe, five-year-olds don’t have adult sexual desires. Thirteen-year-olds do. So there’s no way to get a kindergartner to fuck you without serious coercion, but a thirteen-year-old could be quite willing.

  188. Ron,

    I’m curious, if state governments are so confused (varied?) on the matter of age of consent, etc. why must I automatically pick one. I’ve reiterated over and over again doubts about whether any law currently in situ is based on anything more than joe’s basic argument: its icky.

    thoreau,

    That’s a lot of unsubstantiated conjecturing.

  189. ralphus,

    If you’re still here…

    Society’s version of punishment for a crime doesn’t prevent you or anyone else from killing them; you can still do that if you want to. Your idea of “mitigating revenge” doesn’t hold water.

  190. Jennifer: OK, now we’re drawing the line at “sexual maturity” (at least for girls). Is that an age or would you leave that issue to a medical exam?

  191. This may be a double post, but here goes:

    Joe, You’ve now dumbed down the definition of “power” to mean “any advantage–in age, in wisdom, in wealth, whatever.” Jesus–why not go to high school and arrest the guys in the “in-crowd” who sleep with willing but stupid unpopular girls, then? The guys are taking advantage of their superior social status.

    And Joe, five-year-olds don’t have adult sexual desires. Thirteen-year-olds do. So there’s no way to get a kindergartner to fuck you without serious coercion, but a thirteen-year-old could be quite willing.

  192. This may be a double post, but here goes:

    Joe, You’ve now dumbed down the definition of “power” to mean “any advantage–in age, in wisdom, in wealth, whatever.” Jesus–why not go to high school and arrest the guys in the “in-crowd” who sleep with willing but stupid unpopular girls, then? The guys are taking advantage of their superior social status.

    And Joe, five-year-olds don’t have adult sexual desires. Thirteen-year-olds do. So there’s no way to get a kindergartner to fuck you without serious coercion, but a thirteen-year-old could be quite willing.

  193. Jennifer, point me to where I said the guy should go to jail. The well being of the two children (a concept which civilized human beings don’t consider a punchline) is the paramount concern here, which is why the preliminary outcome I recommended was probation, counselling, and a DSS file. The rat bastard may deserve to go to jail, but if that’s not the best outcome, then he catches a break.

    Ken Layne, if you have any Viking ancestors, arrest them for raping and murdering. If you have any Keltic ancestors, arrest them for burning humans alive in giant wooden effigies. In barbaric periods, people did barbaric things. They didn’t know any better – that doesn’t mean we have to continue in their ignorant barbarism.

  194. If we’re talking Ick factor, can we make it illegal for old people to have sex? Just the thought of it makes me ill.

  195. Steve,

    But if we’re not both starting from the assumption that it’s wrong to fuck 13-year-olds, I don’t know how much good it would do.

    Wrong for whom? Wrong in what way? It may indeed be wrong, but the fact is that you have to justify your presuppositions to be taken seriously.

  196. Joe,
    “I don’t think the problem is necessarily that she was 13. The main problem is that he was 22.”

    At 11:11, Joe wrote:
    “A 13 year old girl cannot give meaningful consent to sex”

    The problem is that you don’t think that she (or any 13 year old) can give meaningful consent to sex. And that’s where you’re wrong.

  197. Joe said :
    “Unlike most on this board, you’re willing to admit that a boss has power of an employee that makes her less than free in deciding whether to rebuff his sexual advances. Why are you so unwilling to admit that an adult – with his car, his income, his greater experience at playing the scoring game, and his assumed authority – has power over a child?”

    Are you really trying to equate the power that a boss has over a subordinate with the the power an adult stranger has over a non-adult?
    Wow what a strech! This is the worst comparison EVER! The adult isn’t in a position of authority simply because they are older. Maybe if the 22 year old was the 13 year old’s teacher or guidance couselor or something, but in general terms there is no comparison between the two.

    And what does “his car, his income, his greater experience at playing the scoring game..” have to do with age? Couldn’t these same examples be used to show some kind of exploitation between adults that have the same “differences”.

  198. Hack: You still haven’t answered my question. Are you going to pick an age or not, and if not, what standard are you proposing? Everyone on this board is incredibly squishy.

  199. Can’t we have an age of consent with an opt-out clause?

  200. Jesus H. Christ on a pogo stick, Jennifer–no, I haven’t really given a lot of thought as to why it’s wrong to have sex with 13-year-olds.

    Seriously, Steve–do you often find yourself with strong opinions even though you haven’t given them any thought?

  201. Hakluyt-

    Conjectures aside, I’m not so sure that it’s legally wise for 13 year-olds to be entering into marriage contracts, even with parental consent. 13 year-olds are famous for making decisions that they’ll regret later, and rather than letting them make such a serious and binding contract that needs to be cleaned up later (divorces are never neat), maybe it’s better to just have a higher age limit for such serious contracts.

    Yes, I know, there are divorces in every age group (cough, Larry King, cough), but you have to draw a line somewhere. Drawing a marriage line is different from drawing a line for statutory rape, because statutory rape laws involve sending people to prison. The same cannot be said for making people wait to marry.

  202. “And why do you persist in using the loaded word “child” in reference to a young woman who, while not mature in the eyes of the law, is fully mature in the eyes of Mother Nature?”

    What a sick thought. Her body looks a certain way, so she’s a mature adult? You want the laws of Mother Nature to determine what acts are and aren’t legal, now?

    “And Joe, five-year-olds don’t have adult sexual desires. Thirteen-year-olds do.” Ah – so that fact the she has new, unfamiliar, confusing feelings that she hasn’t had the time to learn to deal with maturely yet makes it ok for an older, more experienced man who knows a great deal more about l’amour to play on those feelings. But hey, if there’s no gun to her head…

  203. “I’d certainly favor laws saying you can’t have sex with girls who have not yet reached sexual maturity, because among other things there’s a good chance of vaginal tearing, resulting in peritonitis and death. THAT is a reason.”

    Jennifer:

    I think there are emotional circumstances involved as well as physical. Bodily wounds can heal, but emotional damage often takes much more time, if they heal at all. How can a female child develop any kind of trust if she is betrayed by some fuckhead who is many years her senior?

    I think we, as a culture, over-sexualize our children, particularly females. It drives me fucking nuts when I wander around a department store, and see some of the clothing sold to adolescent girls. Short-shorts.. shirts with provocative messages like “Juicy” and “Come and get it”. Why can’t kids be allowed to be kids? As the cliche goes, we only have so many years to be goofy children until the weight of adulthood comes crashing down on our heads.

    Now, to make myself perfectly clear, I don’t advocate any government action. I just think parents need to fucking wake up.

  204. Well, since there’s been a whole lot of “You’re putting opinions into my mouth” comments (from all sides)I’d like to ask a question — a straw poll on the actual opinions. Here’s a basic question that I think need to be addressed directly by the disputants. Should there be ANY limits on who can consent to sexual intercourse? A secondary one is: If you believe that there should be limits what should they be? Age? Difference in age up to a certain age (i.e. it’s OK for two 14 year olds to have sex but not a 14 year old and a 22 year old)? Puberty? Some sort of maturity test? Anything else.

    For the sake of getting this started my opinion is that there is a certain level of maturity that below which the person cannot give meaningful consent and therefore a legitimate function of the state is to protect that person from exploitation. I do not think that a “maturity test” is feasible. Ergo I believe that a “bright line” age is a reasonable solution. Being a democracy, that age should be set by the legislature in each state. This does set up the possibility that having sex with your s.o. in one state my be legal whereas across the border it’s not. This is not an unusual thing however, some things are legal in some states and not others (e.g. fireworks) — they should’ve stayed in Kansas. I also feel that there needs to be a power differential for exploitation — I don’t believe 2 14 year olds should be convicted of statuatorily raping each other for example. Again a “power test” is unreasonable ergo a 2-4 year age difference may be a good substitute up to whatever age of consent is selected. That’s my opinion, what do you think?

  205. “You can’t have a law that says, ‘sex with a minor is statutory rape if we decide the kid isn’t mature enough.'”

    Really? We have laws that say minors can’t have abortions without parental consent unless we decide the kid is mature enough, don’t we?

  206. ralphus,

    After a while that becomes an idle threat. Sort of like Mona’s posturing about never returning, etc. πŸ™‚

    joe,

    They didn’t know any better…

    Sure they did. You’ve always had competing notions of morality over the ages (this is one of the reasons why Christians who claim that there has always been some universal cross-cultural agreement is such a canard). When Catholics were burning Protestants, conversos, spirituali, etc., when Calvin’s Geneva was burning Servetus, and when Elizabeth I was executing Catholics all three could have drawn on traditions of tolerance that existed in Europe (namely in the Netherlands, in Transylvania, in Poland, etc.).

    You’ve yet to establish that rape, murder, etc. are related in their moral seriousness to the issue at hand.

  207. Ron,

    I’m not ignoring you, I’m just having trouble coming up with an age… This is a complicated issue (regardless of this particular case) that shouldn’t be taken half-assed. Consent could be a certain education level, or age, or body function; none of which gurauntees(sp?)mental and emotional maturity. By the same token, should we punish those how are mature enough but are younger than some predetermined age?

  208. thoreau,

    What do you mean by “leagally wise”?

    Ron,

    You are incredibly rigid. Why do we have to pick? Why does everything have to be so spelled out for you to consider rightness and wrongness? We’re in fact no incredibly squishy at all, the litmus test is “Does anyone involed feel harmed or wronged in any way?” The answer is “no”.

    It’s fine to have the law, I suppose, but why should the state be pushing criminal charges when the parties involved aren’t asking for it? The law should be the last resort, but the enforcers of law tend to think it should be the only resort. That’s not rational either.

  209. “You can’t have a law that says, ‘sex with a minor is statutory rape if we decide the kid isn’t mature enough.'”

    Really? Don’t we have laws in some states that say minors can’t get abortions without parental consent unless we decide the kid is mature enough to make that decision on her own?

  210. If my first time had to be way, way past 13, I think everyone else’s should be too.

  211. ChicagoTom, have you ever actually had any dealings with human beings? How about with young girls who find an older man attractive?

    Yes, all people can be vulnerable to persuasion via the factors I described. The point is, children lack the defenses necessary to stand up the persuasions that can be offered by a savvy adult, as well as (often) the capacity for forethought necessary to realize why they should resist persuasion.

    Do you know why anti-feminists like to throw around the word “infantilization” at those who would limit women’s choices for their own good? Because it is assumed to be wrong to treat adults like children. Do you know who should be treated like children?

    Children.

  212. I think we, as a culture, over-sexualize our children, particularly females.

    And the constant worry overy “are they emotionally mature enough?” only further sexualizes them.

  213. Ron,

    I did answer your question. I told you I don’t know.

    joe is back to his basic argument: its icky. You know, Christian fundamentalists make a similar argument about another matter … πŸ™‚

    Mr. Nice Guy,

    I think we, as a culture, over-sexualize our children, particularly females.

    I think we as a culture hide reality from our children in an effort to lengthen childhood.

  214. What do you mean by “leagally wise”?

    I mean that:

    1) I can’t spell πŸ˜‰
    2) It would be a bad idea to have a law that allows the thing I was talking about. (i.e. 13 year-olds entering into marriage contracts)

  215. Jennifer,
    So if a guy murders the husband of his pregnant lover, and then marries her, we shouldn’t send him to jail because it would tear apart the family?

    I still want to know if you think it would make any difference if the girl was 8 years old.

  216. You can’t have a law that says, ‘sex with a minor is statutory rape if we decide the kid isn’t mature enough.’

    Actually, that seems to be a far more rational approach than an aribtrary age which is likely unmoored from any scientific, etc. evidence as to when “maturity” fully flowers.

  217. “How about voting? If this girl is mature enough to govern herself, then I assume you think she should have be able to vote too. Don’t you?”

    Uh, no. The fact that she is mature enough to govern herself doesn’t mean she’s mature enough to govern me.

  218. Hit n’ Run back up?

  219. You people fucking amaze me with your “a 14-year-old can’t consent because” and “statutory rape laws exist because” crap. Try thinking of the “because” first, like good lawmakers should.

    Let me explain something to you. What you are arguing against is a possible case of force and/or fraud between two people. I know the fact that there’s sex involved makes you all crazy, but it’s really that simple.

    It’s not much different than a case in which a merchant sells a customer something potentially harmful, like pharmaceuticals or fireworks. The customer either does or does not know how to conduct herself around pharmaceuticals or fireworks. The merchant either did or did not know that the customer had any knowledge of what she was buying. There either was or wasn’t financial fraud or compulsion involved. The merchant might or might not have compelled the customer to buy. The customer might or might not have compelled the merchant to sell.

    If an adult cannot have sex with a child, that is because it is presumed to be a matter of force or fraud. The question of whether it is, in fact, force or fraud is the question we and the courts need to examine, not what the “correct” ages of the participants are.

  220. The delay looks like it pretty much killed this thread, but in the end Joe and his fellows didn’t have a leg to stand on besides “If you don’t like this, what’s your better solution?”

  221. How ’bout this for a hasty, knee-jerk reaction:

    The guy is a goddamned wierdo.
    The girl is probably fucking stupid.
    Her family probably fucked her up.

    If people want to go on and fuck up their lives, why should I or the state care?

    /angry mean ol’ libertarian

  222. Because, mediageek, it’s for the children…

  223. I don’t know, wsdave; I’d kind of hoped that Jhywun‘s comment would have been the end of the thread.

    speedwell; if we’re going to turn this into a discussion about freedom of contract, then it’s worth pointing out that one cannot legally sign until they are no longer a minor.

    Would those arguing against a statutory rape age barrier also argue that a child or adolescent should be able to sign a contract? If not, then why?

  224. What we need is a standard age. 21 seems to be the age of adulthood. We should set 21 as the age for voting, drinking, sex, porn, etc… everything.

    Children under 21 may be biologically ready but are not emotionally ready for sex.

  225. “speedwell; if we’re going to turn this into a discussion about freedom of contract, then it’s worth pointing out that one cannot legally sign until they are no longer a minor.”

    “Legally” sign, yes. For the same reason–because force or fraud is automatically assumed, where it should instead be decided on a case-by-case basis.

  226. Russ D: Re, my alleged “rigidness”. I think you’re seeing too much in my question. I’m not trying to make an argument. I’m trying to figure out what the position is. If you are saying that there should be no definite age of consent, that is a position. What I object to is people trying to avoid the consequences of the positions they take (or don’t take). Way back in the pleistocene, BD said he could live with a “navel check” standard, which we have for rape, and I can understand that position, whether I agree with it or not. WS Dave admits it is a tough question, and hasn’t made up his mind, so I’m OK with that. Jennifer’s position has morphed into something like sexual maturity, although she hasn’t said how that would be determined.

  227. Joe said :

    “The point is, children lack the defenses necessary to stand up the persuasions that can be offered by a savvy adult, as well as (often) the capacity for forethought necessary to realize why they should resist persuasion.”

    Some children do lack the defenses necessary, some don’t. Your blanket statments about what children lack just emphasize what other posters have been saying, you are speaking in very absolute terms.

    Yes children need to be protected, but the degree of protection you are demanding, in my opinion, is over the top. And just because children need to be protected is an agreed upon sentiment, that doesn’t mean that all children need to be protected in the same way. Teenagers don’t need the same protection as 8 year olds, and teenagers have a much better ability to defend themselves than an 8 or 9 year old does.

    In this particular case, there is nothing so far that has shown anyone needing to be protected.

    I have had quite a few dealings with human beings in the real world (thanks for asking). And in the real world, it isnt black and white like you are trying to make it. Just because the girl was 13 or the man was 21 doesnt mean anyone was exploited/coerced/or taken advantage of. No matter how bad you want it to be that way. Many female relatives of mine (aunts, grandparents) were minors when they met their husbands who in many cases were quite a bit older (10 years or so), and there wasn’t expoitation involved.

    My point is, I believe that an the age difference in and of itself should not be enough to make someone say “well obviously the older is exploiting the younger”. It isn’t at all obvious that exploitation has happened. If the girl comes out and says that she didn’t want to marry him, or doesn’t love him or something like that, then obviously something should be done, but barring that, the government should get out of the way.

  228. This has to be the most pedantic H&R thread ever–Jesus H. Christ.

    Does the term “prosecutorial discretion” mean anything to you thumpers out there? Yes, what this guy did was wrong–no shit. Now what? None of the indivduals involved (families included) want a prosecution here (I’ll even proffer that the child, when of age, will not want his father in prison). But some ham-handed pol wants to use his personal sense of indignation as a hammer and ruin people’s lives for sure. This is a second “wrong”, which in no way remedies the first. Is that so fucking hard to understand? Perhaps why this is a legitimate “libertarian” issue is that the choice of all the affected individuals involved is being trumped by the almighty state, or, more accurately,by some fucking slimey politician. That is not justice in any sense that any libertarian should embrace.

    Joe, go write a fucking bible already.

  229. Warren–
    For your analogy to work you’d have to assume that consensual sex is on a par with murder.

    And I notice that Jane got herself a sex-change operation and a race-lift to become the Hispanic Jose. Hola!

  230. speedwell is correct.

    I’ve been trying to get out of joe, etc. for a while now some rational explanation for their position based on something than its “icky” or unsubstantiated claims about such a relationship being automatically “coercive.”

  231. But how does one determine maturity? Should there, perhaps, be an arbitrary age limit set on the freedom to sign a contract with an ‘opt-out clause’ in the event that the person can prove their maturity?

    Also, unless there’s a family farm involved, most 13-year-olds can’t get (legal) work – so is this necessary to prevent adolescents from having no (legal) choice but to suck at the taxpayer’s teat?

  232. Here’s something I should’ve added 232 comments ago: What does Nebraska’s prosecution and, in effect, nullification of a Kansas marriage tell us about same-sex marriages?

    [runs quickly away]

  233. ChicagoTom,

    Just the other day joe was defending post-modernism … now he’s jumped in with Shannon Love. πŸ™‚

  234. Henry: Your argument touches the heart of the matter for libertarians, I think. Who gets to decide when sexual contact is appropriate, the state or the parties involved? That’s an easy one if we’re talking about 25 year olds. The question involved here is at what point does age make a difference in your answer? I think everyone on the thread agrees it does at some point, although no one agrees on what it should be or whether there should be “exceptions” in certain cases. The other aspect of this that really hasn’t gotten enough airtime imo is whether the parents are in a better position to make that decision than the state is, and whether libertarians are willing to draw a line somewhere even if the parents think it’s OK (e.g., sex with a 5 year old). Tough questions.

  235. (as a small proof of this, I would like to point out the continuing popularity of lottery tickets).
    That does not mean that I should be in the position of stepping in, and say, preventing people from making bad decisions – i.e, buying lottery tickets.

    Buying a lottery ticket is a reasoned decision when the EV of a dollar spent is >= $1

  236. Jennifer,

    I guess we all have some truths that we hold to be self-evident. For me, “don’t have sex with 13-year-olds” is one of them. I don’t think 13-year-olds should be having sex with each other, either, but a 22-year-old can be assumed by the law to know better.

    I suppose I could come up with the intellectual justifications as to why sex with 13-year-olds is wrong. I’m not a philosopher, though, so Haklyut would probably tear holes in them. I remain convinved, though, that if you’re an adult sex with 13-year-olds is always wrong, and I suspect that most people who argue otherwise are trying to be pedantic or pointlessly contrarian.

  237. I couldn’t find any takers.

    wsdave,

    The law does in fact serve as an incentive against personal vengance. You know, social contract and all that. Certainly I could go out and exact my own revenge, but I would be in violation of the law and would be punished if caught. Thus, the incentive not to. Without the law, people would be lynched for theft or not recycling.

    mediageek,

    Best argument I’ve read all day.

  238. Steve-

    Fair enough, but is it more wrong that turning a married young woman into an unwed teenage mother? Assume the girl wants to keep her husband and the father of her baby–can YOU look her in the eye and tell her no, he’s going to jail? Because we want to protect YOU? If she doesn’t mind and her parents don’t mind, then why the hell are YOU so upset about it?

    And when did its wrongness become self-evident, anyway? As has been demonstrated already, young marriage was the norm for most of our species’ history. And before anybody says “Yeah, and so was slavery and murder and etc.,” let me point out that slavery and murder generally are NOT consensual.

  239. Will somebody think of the ponies?

    from http://www.peeniewallie.com/

    Man dies after anal sex with horse

    “Well, officer, you’re not going to believe this, but I was walking across the pasture and I saw a quarter on the ground, and I bent over to pick it up and…”

    A Seattle man died after engaging in anal sex with a horse at a farm suspected of being a gathering place for people seeking to have sex with livestock, police said Friday.

    The horse involved in the incident was not harmed, and an autopsy of the unnamed man concluded that “the manner of death was accidental … due to perforation of the colon,” a police spokesman said.

    Posted by Peenie Wallie on July 27, 2005 at 01:02 PM

  240. “children lack the defenses necessary to stand up the persuasions that can be offered by a savvy adult, as well as (often) the capacity for forethought necessary to realize why they should resist persuasion.”

    “A 13 year old girl cannot give meaningful consent to sex, and is extremely vulnerable to being manipulated by an adult man.”

    “…the conflicts of interest here, the vulnerable position of the kid, and broad social good that having something besides the conscience of the predator to protect the prey…”

    “If I trade a six year old five shiny pennies for his $20 bill, I’m a dirty thief.”

    “Because children lack the maturity and wisdom to give meaningful consent.”

    “…an adult – with his car, his income, his greater experience at playing the scoring game, and his assumed authority – has power over a child…”

    “…a 14 year old can more easily be coerced and manipulated by an older, savvier adult than by another 14 year old. There’s a “pick on someone your own size” dynamic here.”

    “The point is, children lack the defenses necessary to stand up the persuasions that can be offered by a savvy adult, as well as (often) the capacity for forethought necessary to realize why they should resist persuasion.”

    So, as you can see, all I’ve really been able to offer to the argument is that it’s, like, all icky and stuff.

  241. Jennifer,

    I didn’t say the guy should be thrown in jail. I’m not familiar enough with the particulars of the case to say what should happen to him. I do think his conduct should be illegal. It would be nice if he had been caught and thrown in jail before he could marry and impregnate his victim, but since that didn’t happen, some punishment short of jail is probably appropriate. It’s a shitty situation all around.

  242. ChicagoTom,

    “Just because the girl was 13 or the man was 21 doesnt mean anyone was exploited/coerced/or taken advantage of.” It doesn’t necessarily mean she was exploited, but it certainly raises the strong possibility.

    “Many female relatives of mine (aunts, grandparents) were minors when they met their husbands who in many cases were quite a bit older (10 years or so), and there wasn’t expoitation involved.” What makes you so certain? To my ears, you sound like the guy saying, “My old man used to beat me with a two by four, and I turned out ok. So there ain’t nothing wrong with the way I discipline my son” as he whacks him with a two by four.

  243. Ron, in THIS case, there is no such problem–the girl in question could be (and eventually was) married legally in a state in the Union. I understand that the “cart was before the horse” here. I’m not arguing what was done HERE was right. My point: now what? All the high and mighty moral blather aside, I am a loss to understand why the will of the state (or this grandstanding pol) should trump here. Let these poor people move on in peace and live their lives already. This was the point of raising Jerry Lee Lewis, Loretta Lynn, etc.–people can move on and up from these types of fuck-ups (getting married at 13 today is a fuck-up, IMO–but then again getting married at 21 is often a fuck-up, too). But not when they are in prison.

    This thread is infested with same “pedophile” hysteria that runs rampant in the MSM (imported from the UK, I think)–which, in itself, should be telling enough. Quit labeling here and just look at the human beings involved. Leave them the fuck alone already–they’ve got enough shit to work on as it is.

  244. The one thing that bothers me about the “we need to let the courts get involved” tack taken by some above is that we are not opening an inquiry into “RE:Whether this girl is safe and this marriage is healthy/ok.” Nebraska is putting her husband on trial for a crime. The elements of the crime will undoubtedly be proven, and “we got married in Kansas” is probably not an affirmative defense. Unless there is one hell of a something-minded jury, he will be convicted and sent to jail for a very long time.
    None of this will examine the girl’s best interests, her safety, her consent, their lives, her mental and physical health previously or going forward. Those who say they feel comfortable getting the courts involved as a safeguard miss what the criminal court’s role in this issue truly is, IMHO.

  245. While we’re all talking about how “creepy” this is, I might mention Will and Ariel Durant. Ariel was 15 when she married Will Durant, who was 13 years older. (She roller-skated to City Hall for the wedding, which almost led the clerk to say no way.) I guess she was exploited, too.

  246. I think the bottom line is that it’s a pretty bad idea for 13 year-olds to have sex with ANYBODY. Yes, some will do it anyway, but Those Who Should Know Better (i.e. people past puberty) should have the decency to refrain from helping 13 year-olds make these mistakes. Doesn’t mean anybody should necessarily go to prison, but I’m not going to get on the high horse of “Dammit, it’s their RIGHT!” If somebody does something stupid then I’m going to say so. You can call something stupid without calling for legal sanctions.

    To get back to my earlier point, I want to know more about her decision to get married. That’s a pretty darn big decision for an immature person to make, and she’s chosen a pretty dubious spouse. Even if one believes that a mature 13 year-old should be able to make these decisions for herself, I would really like to know more about how and why she decided to marry the guy, and what (if any) pressure or input she got from her parents. There’s more to consent than uttering the words “I do.”

    Finally, if she or her parents had any sense the girl would have gone to an adoption agency rather than a wedding chapel.

    So, I’m not convinced that anybody should go to jail, but rather than projecting our high-falutin’ Big Questions onto this case, maybe we should just acknowledge that it’s a mess, that somebody needs to talk some sense into all parties involved, that nobody has made a good decision, and the circumstances surrounding her consent to the marriage contract deserve careful scrutiny. That’s where the state should focus its attention: Nobody can change the fact that the sex happened, but maybe there’s a way to annull this marriage contract that will involve less pain than the inevitable divorce.

  247. Joe: Just want to make sure I understand your position. If Jennifer, Hack, and others say it’s OK for their 13 year old kids to have sex with a 22 year old, you favor laws that would make this illegal? If so, how do you square this with libertarian principles? Aren’t you substituting your judgment (and the state’s) for the parents’?

  248. Camille Paglia somewhere suggests 14 as the age of consent, probably balancing this and that to come up with it.

    One thought is that being stuck with the consequences of your own actions is humanizing, and largely denied to children now; they are not taken seriously as people.

  249. Steve,

    Well, that’s what you should teach your children.

    The issue what is the role of government in all of this? Some dogmatically claim that the role as currently defined is the proper role and they base that conclusion largely on tradition and other like factors, others like myself wonder if that is true.

    joe,

    You’re a real hoot (despite you being an elitist and all).

    “children lack the defenses necessary to stand up the persuasions that can be offered by a savvy adult, as well as (often) the capacity for forethought necessary to realize why they should resist persuasion.”

    Absolutist and undocumented claim about the nature of teenagers.

    “A 13 year old girl cannot give meaningful consent to sex, and is extremely vulnerable to being manipulated by an adult man.”

    Absolutist and undocumented claim about the nature of teenagers.

    “…the conflicts of interest here, the vulnerable position of the kid, and broad social good that having something besides the conscience of the predator to protect the prey…”

    I already eviscerated this remark.

    “If I trade a six year old five shiny pennies for his $20 bill, I’m a dirty thief.”

    Inapposite.

    “Because children lack the maturity and wisdom to give meaningful consent.”

    Absolutist and undocumented claim about the nature of teenagers.

    “…an adult – with his car, his income, his greater experience at playing the scoring game, and his assumed authority – has power over a child…”

    Absolutist and undocumented claim about the nature of teenagers.

    “…a 14 year old can more easily be coerced and manipulated by an older, savvier adult than by another 14 year old. There’s a “pick on someone your own size” dynamic here.”

    Absolutist and undocumented claim about the nature of teenagers.

    “The point is, children lack the defenses necessary to stand up the persuasions that can be offered by a savvy adult, as well as (often) the capacity for forethought necessary to realize why they should resist persuasion.”

    Absolutist and undocumented claim about the nature of teenagers.

    Like thoreau you make a whole series of conjectures and expect people to swallow them whole. You know what they say, it takes an urban planner four years to get out of college, and another thirty getting over himself. πŸ™‚

  250. I am now ready to render a ruling on the issue. Let the universal “age of consent” be established at 13 years of age. At younger ages, there will be a rebuttable presumption that sex was not consensual. The “child”, her parents, or her guardian will have standing to make a complaint.

    This is mostly arbitrary but informed somewhat by anecdotal evidence about maturity at 13.

  251. Vache: Thank you for solving this for us.

  252. “If Jennifer, Hack, and others say it’s OK for their 13 year old kids to have sex with a 22 year old, you favor laws that would make this illegal?” Yes.

    “If so, how do you square this with libertarian principles? Aren’t you substituting your judgment (and the state’s) for the parents’?” The same I support substituting the state’s judgement for the parents’ when they want to have a faith healer chant “boogie boogie” over their child’s enflamed appendix, instead of taking her to a hospital.

  253. Actually, I’m a liberal. The Hack just has a blunt mind that recoils from even moderaly-fine distinctions.

  254. Oh, now Haklyut has crossed the line. Talking shit about thoreau! That should be grounds for another lifetime ban.

    Since 13-year-olds are children, the presumption of liberty doesn’t always work. Tell us, Hakluyt, why do you think is IS ok for 13-year-olds to have sex?

  255. Joe: OK, move to Vermont and you can vote for Bernie with me.

  256. “My old man used to beat me with a two by four, and I turned out ok. So there ain’t nothing wrong with the way I discipline my son” as he whacks him with a two by four.

    Again, Joe, you’re ignoring the issue of consent. If this girl was FORCED to marry against her will I’d oppose it, but she wasn’t. Just as I doubt anyone consents to being beaten with a two-by-four.

  257. A secondary one is: If you believe that there should be limits what should they be

    The time period (no pun intended) when a person reaches sexual maturity.

    Interestingly enough, Joe and Steve’s entire line of reasoning means that a mentally retarded woman is NEVER legally allowed to have sex.

  258. Joe said :
    “It doesn’t necessarily mean she was exploited, but it certainly raises the strong possibility.”

    No it doesn’t. It raises the QUESTION. Not the “possibility” and definately NOT a “strong possibility”. The “strong possibility” is your own personal feelings about the matter and nothing more.
    There is nothing wrong with you raising the question of “was she exploited” but there is something definately wrong with insisting that, more likely than not, there was exploitation.

    Joe also said: “What makes you so certain? To my ears, you sound like the guy saying, “My old man used to beat me with a two by four,….”

    What makes me so certain? They’re my relatives for God’s sake. They told me about their courtship and how they met. And none of them talked about the exploitation aspect you are so sure must have happened. Also, I sound more like the guy who says : “I was spanked as a child, and it taught me about consequences, so I believe I should be allowed to spank my child without fearing that Child Services comes and take my kid away because they believe that there is a strong possibility that someone who spanks a child will inflict severe damage on a child”

    Let me ask you this Joe, at which point would you accept that there was no exploitation? If the girl says there wasn’t would that be enough in your world? Since she is so young she wouldn’t even know she was being exploited and doesnt have the mental capacity to discern when explitation is taking place? And why is the burden of proof on others to prove there was none instead of on you to justify your belief that exploitation was a strong possibility? Last I checked, the burden of proof is on the accuser not the accused. Do you think its proper to go about throwing accusations of exploitation without even having a shred of evidence to point you in that direction? Just because in your view of how the world SHOULD BE, you believe that exploitation is a strong possibilty doesn’t make it so. And to throw around those types of judgements when there is no evidence to justify your belief is careless

  259. Let me ask you this Joe, at which point would you accept that there was no exploitation?

    When he sees the videotape.

  260. ralphus,

    You just argued my point for me. Thank you. Jail for the 22 year old doesn’t stop you from killing him, jail for YOU stops you from killing him.

  261. (I posted this at 2:50, did not show but it still seams applicable)

    I think most people on this list are having a serious issue, confusing the morality question with the legal question. Just because it may be immoral or moral for a 21 year old to have sex with a 13 year old has little bearing on whether the state should make it automatically illegal.

    As for the moral issue, most discussion on this is just back and forth hypothecial. “13 year olds” are not a class of people to be treated whole. It is just a classification to refer to people that share the same age. But each 13 year old is an individual so the morality question differs in each instance of sex and for each 13 year old. No one can judge the morality of this situation as no one can trully know if her consent was “meaningful.”

    This is separate from the leagl issue of whether statustory rape should be a law or not. Rape (the non-consent regular kind) already makes it illegal for sex with a non-consetning (lack of meaningful consent) person. Thus, there is no reason for a stat rape law.

    If a prosecutor feels that a particualr instance of sex is non-consetning then he should make that case. The age should not be defining factor but may be used as evidence. This will allow each case to be treated on its merits with each victim and alleged perp being treated like individuals. I mean we are libertarians and all.

    To allay fears of rampant sex with minors, prosecutors can simply issue “guidelines” that all sex with those under 14 will be investigated for the potential that the consent was not meaningful with the bounds of the law.

    But removing the burden of proving lack of consent is simply removing the humanity from the situation and treating all individuals as members of a class which is dehumanizing.

    The main purpose of rape law is defending the rights of a “raped” victim. For that reason alone, the issue of meaningful consent being given should always be at issue in a rape trial.

    Stat rape laws, acknowledge that it is impossible to determine the exact age when it is possible to give menaingful consent so they simply treat the subjects (13 year olds) as cows rather than individual humans some of whom can make such meaningful decisions and others that can not. Current standard rape laws are sufficient to handle these issues, but stat rapes help “pro-victim” politians win votes.

  262. The inherent fault of statutory rape laws is that they automatically deem sex to be non-consensual when one of the partners is below a certain age. This age threshold needs to be set low enough to be realistic. Anyone who reaches puberty will develop a sex drive and may want to participate in sexual activities. I suggest the age threshold be set at 12 years old – on a nationwide basis. Anyone above that age can swear out a complaint if they were forced to have sex.

    In the case of our 13 year old gal; she (or her parents if she were intimidated) would have the option to file charges. A reasonable jury would be able to determine if she had given consent on her own free will. I see no reason why sex and marriage between a 13 year old and a 22 year old should become a matter for the state to intervene. And who are we to judge the actions of this couple?

    Side Bar: Is the Mann Act still in effect? Could the Feds end up sticking their nose into this bedroom?

  263. Jennifer, Haklyut, wsdave, others:

    Do you think polygamy should be made legal?

  264. “Last I checked, the burden of proof is on the accuser not the accused.”

    The burden of proof is on the accused when he makes an affirmative defense.

    If you’re caught getting it on with a 13 year old girl when you’re 22, the presumption is that you’re a piece of crap taking advantage of a little girl.

  265. I’m sure this has already been said but there’s a lot of comments to wade through. In short, the guy’s a f*cking pervert who should be jailed for 100 counts of statutory rape. In addition, I propose jailing the girl’s mother who “consented” to this outrage.

    As for the purists who find this to be a “libertarian” issue, I suggest they either pull their heads out of their asses or else acknowledge the fact that public will never subscribe to their way of thinking if it’s going to be so detached from reality.

  266. joe,

    Also note that you are one making up arguments for other people.

    a,

    Yes, polygamy should be legal.

    Crushinator,

    Yes, The Mann Act still exists. Its one of the more racist pieces of legislation passed by the Congress.

  267. I’ve never called for airlines to be nationalized. The only industry I think should be nationalized is health insurance.

    No, Hack, I’m a capitalist – I just happen to be one whose philosophy is capable of encompassing the way the world works in the modern era. An economy built around the private sector, with regulation in the public interest. You know, a liberal.

  268. Wanted to also add in that my grandmother married at 14 to a 21 year old. Married for 60 years, 2 kids, etc.

    Of course we expected more from people way back then.

  269. Ron,

    The first question shouldn’t be “where do we draw the line”, it should be “why do we draw the line”.

    We draw the line so that when a citizen feels there is some kind of wrong commited against him – crossing the line, and in the case of children the line was crossed against the parents – the state will intervene when asked. If no citizen involved in the matter is asking for state help, and all citizens involved in the matter tell the state to bugger off, the state should get the out of the way (and save everybody a whole lot of tax money).

  270. a-

    I have no problems with polygamy. The laws against it are based on religious objections. There ought to be a law against religious-based laws.

    But tell me, what person in their right mind would want more than one spouse? Isn’t a single spouse one-too-many already??? If polygamy is outlawed, shouldn’t monogamy be next?

  271. Crushinator,

    The provisions of the Mann Act were also significantly extended by Supreme Court activism to include acts far outside the boundaries of the language involved in the Act; such extensions include “transport” of women for non-commercial purposes (like “debauchery”), for polygamous relationships, etc.

  272. John Q: So what age do you vote for as the age of consent?

  273. I don’t know John Q, but I’ll bet there are lots of places in this country where a girl marrying or having sex at 13 is more than acceptable.

  274. Joe: “If you’re caught getting it on with a 13 year old girl when you’re 22, the presumption is that you’re a piece of crap taking advantage of a little girl.”

    But should that NECESSARILY be a crime? How is this analogous to the nutjob parents who refuse medical intervention for their children for asinine “religious beliefs?” No one’s arguing that this guy should get citizen-of-the-year award, just that should he HAVE to go to jail?

  275. I’d also be interested to know where everyone is from, both those for and against allowing people as young as 13 to give their consent to sex.

    I would imagine that urban folks are generally more against it than rural.

  276. While dancing around the right/wrong issue, it seems like the real issue got lost. What I’m talking about is does the state have the right define crime on tenuous and arbitrary grounds especially when that definition may break an agreement of reciprocity with another state? Would another state abide by the conviction or grant amnesty since it presumably isn’t a crime there? Assuming the baby hasn’t been born, where is the evidence of a crime? Can Nebraska hold the 14 year old until the baby is born and then forcibly conduct a paternity test? If they get a conviction can it be taken to a Federal court because of the interstate nature of the marriage and what happens then? Can they prove he fucked her in Nebraska and not Kansas, if not, does the state have standing in the case?

    As for what they did, who cares? The law is there to inflict vengance on behalf of past and current victims and prevent future victims. That said, it seems from the little information available in this case, there is agreement, aside from the AG, that there is no victim and minimal risk of future victims. With no vengance to mete out and no one to protect, there is no basis for adjudication. Unfortunately, we have an AG who thinks he can make milage out of this unfortunate situation. Speaking of the AG, what is his real motive? Surely, it’s not just about protecting the public.

  277. Russ D,

    “We draw the line so that when a citizen feels there is some kind of wrong commited against him – crossing the line, and in the case of children the line was crossed against the parents – the state will intervene when asked. If no citizen involved in the matter is asking for state help, and all citizens involved in the matter tell the state to bugger off, the state should get the out of the way (and save everybody a whole lot of tax money).”

    Explain to me how, under this reasoning, a six year old who is beaten by her parents, and doesn’t realize that such treatment is improper, can ever be rescued by the police.

  278. Russ D: Surely you aren’t contending that parents should be able to marry-off their 8 year olds?

  279. Joe,
    If your philosophy is capable of encompassing the way the world works, you can give up on nationalized health any time now.

    a,
    I’m for poly-gimme (poly lots of things, in fact), but only if all parties are aware of each other (whether or not they agree). By that, if you and I are married and I decide to marry someone else too, you would be notified. If you didn’t like it, you could divorce me, but not stop me. All support and Social Security issues (and such) can be worked out be contract.

  280. a,

    I already paraphrased Owen Allred, so polygamy should not be illegal.

  281. I was born and raised a surburban Michigander, Lowdog. I think that people should be judged by their maturity and character, which does not necessarily correlate with their age.

  282. joe,

    Really, you need to take a criminal law course. πŸ™‚

    The burden of proof is on the accused when he makes an affirmative defense.

    There is no affirmative defense here (yet). The burden of proof remains with the state. Note that statutory rape cases are one of the few areas of criminal law (with serious consequences) where a strict liablity standard is maintained. This is one of the more unjust issues with statutory rape law.

  283. “If you’re caught getting it on with a 13 year old girl when you’re 22, the presumption is that you’re a piece of crap taking advantage of a little girl.”

    I’d say so, and I agree in this case with the Nebraska AG, but sometimes cultural circumstances may come into play. Did this girl share with her parents their obvious belief that it was dishonorable to be unmarried and pregnant, and consent to willingly cross state lines for the marriage?

    MARRIAGE UNFAMILIAR,
    MARRIAGE QUITE PECULIAR,
    JAILBAIT CROSSIN’ STATE LINES —
    COMITY TONIGHT!

    Well, this guy should have went past Kansas and kept straight for Saudi Arabia. Muslims get upset when you point out the fact that their prophet married a girl when she was 9, and started screwing her when she was 11 (ewww, wot a creep!!), but in some parts of the uncivilized world this is not an uncommon practice. And of course, we’re all familiar with those arranged marriages in India and other places where children as young as six years old (!!!) are hooked up by their families (double yuck!!!!)

    This situation reminds me of a legal class I took a couple of months back. The attorney who taught the class had a case involving a young couple from Mexico that was living here in the states. He was about 19, she was 14, and apparently where they came from in Mexico it was not uncommon for young couples of this age to be married.

    They moved here to the US, got into a fight, the young man unfortunately and stupidly took a swing at his wife. The cops got involved, and the young man was brought in for domestic violence. When they found out that his wife was “under age” (even though they were legally married in their country and had birthed a child), the young man was to be charged with pedophilia and a whole bunch of charges.

    The attorney basically saved the family and got the young man off by calling immigration in on his own clients in order for them to be deported, since the Feds’jurisdiction superceded the state’s.

    Also, do the bloggers here that support polygamy also support polyandry? If you support the former and not the latter, why not?

  284. “Explain to me how, under this reasoning, a six year old who is beaten by her parents, and doesn’t realize that such treatment is improper, can ever be rescued by the police.”

    How the fuck can you compare a six year old with a thirteen year old? There’s light years of difference.

    Your lack of rationality is only surpassed by your paternalistic, infantilizing attitudes towards youth.

  285. –“Last I checked, the burden of proof is on the accuser not the accused.”

    –“The burden of proof is on the accused when he makes an affirmative defense.”

    The burden of proof is ALWAYS on the accuser. The burden to prove an affirmative defense is on the accused but it does not shift the burden of GUILT, that remains on the Accuser.

    In stat cases there is no mens rea element so there is no real burden on the prosecutor other than to show that he performed an act, (which the pregnancy covers). So the Accuser has automatically met the burden.

    The accused may go free if they can prove a defense, and there aren’t many that are accepted in stat rape. Her consent is irrelevant and so is the knowledge of her age (I though she was 18 crap). his only remaining affirm defenses would be insannity.

  286. Eddy: Well, you stole my thunder. I was waiting for John Q to pick an age of consent around 18 and then see what he thinks about Kansas.

  287. Note that I did use the word generally.

    But I agree with you whole-heartedly, andy.

    I knew this girl when I was growing up who was a total sex-pot at, like, 12. She was the total aggressor and started having sex at 13. At the time, I thought it was strange, but then I matured more slowly than some (shit, some people still say I’m immature). But looking back, that girl knew exactly what she was doing.

  288. Note that age of consent laws in the U.S. range from age 15 to age 18, and the variance in age difference ranges too (four to eight years in some states, no distinction made in others). If this really were the air tight issue joe claims that it is then we wouldn’t have such a welter of differing state laws on the matter.

  289. I still want to know why Joe and Steve don’t want mentally retarded women having sex.

  290. Lowdog,

    Does that mean it would have been ok for a 21-year-old to fuck her?

  291. Icon,
    Good on her, I say.

  292. “Does that mean it would have been ok for a 21-year-old to fuck her?”

    Not to speak for Lowdog, but just because it might not be ok doesn’t mean that the guy should go to jail.

  293. greg,

    Don’t expect joe to actually understand things like burden shifting, etc. πŸ™‚

    Born Again Iconoclast,

    The term polygamy by its very definition includes polyandry. πŸ™‚ You are probably thinking of polygyny (one husband, more than one wife).

  294. Hakluyt,Crushinator:

    Thanks for being consistent.

    Jennifer, what about you? You think a muslim/mormon woman can consent to marry a married man? Or is that where you draw the line?

    Crushinator:

    But tell me, what person in their right mind would want more than one spouse? Isn’t a single spouse one-too-many already???

    I hear you. Me personally I can’t handle more than one spouse even if I wanted to. But some people dig that.

  295. Hakluyt, Thanks, it’s been almost twenty years since I took anthropolgy.

    Oh the pain and humiliation of alzheimers …

  296. My conclusion on the matter, after reading this obscenely large number of posts is…

    *drumroll*

    We are way to damn preoccupied with sex. From the people I know personally, I can draw a range of starting ages for sexual activity from 13 to 25(!). And guess what? All of them turned out fine. I knew girls that got pregnant in high school. But I also know people in their twenties that got pregnant/got others pregnant accidentally. And guess what? They’re all fine, too.

    Certainly sexual activity can be injurous. I don’t doubt that there are risks from STD’s, and pregnancy can complicate your life. But I lose people I know every few years to car accidents, and yet we still give licenses to 15 and 16 year olds, and younger in some states.

    For those who are concerned about your daughters, the boys that they date are much more dangerous in the front seat than in the back. And yet, you don’t argue for a legal solution to this much more real problem.

    Sex has risks, but we need to keep them in persepctive. Among the dangers facing young adults today, sexual activity is one of the most overemphasized… and one of the least important.

  297. wsdave,

    Probably an argument for another thread. However, since we’re here, the point is not that I can’t kill him because he is in jail. The point is that I probably won’t try because the state has exacted my vengeance for me. Now I may not agree with the extent of the punishment, but should I attempt to exact my own vengeance there will be a price. Thus the incentive not to. Another example, if a shop owner rips me off I can take him to court as opposed to burning his store down and selling his children into bondage.

    Didn’t think I was raising to divisive a point here. I assumed that the mitigation of vengeance was a commonly held rationale behind the rule of law. If not, I’m curious. What do you think the role of the law is? What am I missing?

  298. Born Again Iconoclast,

    …apparently where they came from in Mexico it was not uncommon for young couples of this age to be married.

    That’s just the barbarism of primitive people according to joe. Its gotta be stamped out by the enlightened urban planners like joe (who for some reason have a similar streak as those involved in the eugenics movement in the late 19th and early 20th century). First its Kelo being just too damn stupid to understand her case, and now its this.

  299. Steve – I can’t say without knowing the specifics, but I’m on Hak/Jennifer’s side in this one. I don’t see any reason why not, off the top of my head.

    I knew another girl when I was 14 who was dating my neighbour, who was 18 (she was also 14). I thought she was gorgeous, and totally wanted to date her, but I wasn’t mature enough for her.

    I grew up pretty fuckin’ rural. Where I’m from, you let people decide for themselves what they want to do, and you especially don’t let the government tell you who you can associate with, or fuck.

    I’m also all for (as in, I don’t have a problem with it) polygamy, if everyone’s consenting, yada, yada, yada…

  300. Haklyut, greg,

    I was using the concept of “affirmative defense” in a dicussion of the moral implications of the act, not its legal status. I was responding to a comment that asserted that the burden is on those of us who consider sex with young minors wrong to prove why. The whole world is not criminal law, you know. Most of it is urban planning. πŸ™‚

    andy, your inability to follow logic is surpassed only by lack of mature emotion. Inhale. Exhale. Read the goddamn post I was responding to. Ommmmmm…..

    TPG, mentally retarded people have low intelligence, which is not the same thing as maturity, experience, or self-knowledge. A mentally retarded 25 year old is not a 13 year old. She’s an adult with a low IQ, and that’s very different. FWIW, I don’t think really intelligent 13 year olds should be treated as legal adults, either.

  301. I have no intention of defending the 22 y/o in question. If a 22 y/o guy started hanging around my daughter, I’d start having some serious heart-to-heart discussions with him. (Up to and including showing off John Browning’s view of perfection.)

    Since the marriage is valid in Kansas, a line HAS been drawn, for those insist on line drawing. This is just testing full faith and credit. Since Mass. has legal gay marriages — but most other places ban them — I’d say full faith and credit is pretty much dead anyway.

    I see an MSNBC poll on the matter has 57% believing that the couple should be left alone. I guess we’ll find out how a jury feels about it soon enough.

  302. First the guy who likes to accuse me of making up arguments for people tells me I want to nationalize the airlines, then he tells me I based my position on Kelo on what I thought was Ms. Kelo’s own private interest.

    That’s funny.

  303. Surely you aren’t contending that parents should be able to marry-off their 8 year olds

    Did I write such a thing?

    If you could logically conclude that from my statement, fine. Such a practice isn’t common elsewhere on the globe, nor is it terribly common throughout history. So it’s kind of a silly point to make.

    But again, why should that be any business of the state’s?

    My personal feeling is pedophilia is wrong. But why spend so much effort talkng about it when a) we already agree, and b) it isn’t all that common. The more common and equally disgusting coercion of children – compulsory education, forced labor, military conscription – is almost always a government venture.

  304. Why? And don’t give me Big Guy in the sky told me so answers.

    Hakluyt-

    Don’t worry, I won’t be giving you any religious answers. And I should preface all of this by saying that I am not suggesting my opinions on sex should be enforced by law. I’m just saying that some things are a bad idea, and in a free society one can say that something is a bad idea.

    In a nutshell, sexual experimentation involves 3 risks. Adults face the same risks, but they are better equipped to handle them.

    1) Pregnancy (if not done properly)
    2) Disease (if not done properly)
    3) Emotional

    Don’t worry, I’ll get to the most controversial reason in a second. But on the first two reasons, I don’t have a lot of confidence in 13 year-olds to exercise good judgement and use precautions properly. This girl obviously didn’t. (One might speculate on whether she would have been more assertive about birth control if the guy had been younger and she had been in a stronger position in the relationship, but that’s admittedly speculation.)

    OK, about emotional repercussions: Most people get their heart ripped out and handed to them when they start dating. It’s inevitable. It’s part of life. We learn from it, and we get used to it. But all of these things get even more complicated when there’s sex involved (and even more complicated still if somebody gets a disease and/or pregnancy). There’s nothing wrong with sex between consenting and mature people, and even adults get hurt in relationships, but I subscribe to the novel view that it’s better to not rush in and try to experience everything that adults experience when you’re only 13. It’s better to get some emotional maturity and experience in life. How much? I dunno. More than a 13 year-old has. And I realize that’s an ambiguous statement, but I’m not calling for a law. “I known it when I see it!” may not be a good basis for law, but it’s a damn good basis for living and giving advice.

    Do I want to legislate this? Hell no! Do I want to scare kids into thinking that sex will scar them for life? Hell no!

    But I will urge my kids to get a little more emotional maturity, and a little more experience under their belts, before they add that element to their relationships. Is that really so strange of a notion, that sex is better if everybody involved has a little emotional maturity? That relationships are complicated enough when kissing is the most that’s at stake? That maybe they’ll be happier if they move gradually with these explorations rather than jumping in head first at the age of 13?

    Finally, I want to say this loud and clear: If I have a 13 year-old daughter and she gets pregnant, she WILL NOT get married and keep the baby! I don’t care if we have to get on a plane and go to some other state or foreign country where the adoption laws are different, but no 13 year-old daughter of mine will be keeping a baby!

  305. A-
    I don’t think the government should have anything to do with marriages at all, but so long as it sticks its nose in where it doesn’t belong then it should grant marriage licenses to ANYBODFY who wants them, straight gay or polygamous. I know that in Mormon fundamentalist communities polygamy has led in many cases to basically child sexual abuse (by which I mean 13-year-olds who did NOT consent), but I think a lot of those problems stem from the illegality of it–same way I’m more likely to get burned buying bad pot than bad booze, because in the former case I have no legal protection.

  306. Oh, on age differences:

    I met my wife when I was 22 and she was…well, older than 22 (I’m not dumb enough to give away our age difference). I was starting grad school, she had returned to school and was in the middle of her program. We were in similar places in life. We were mature people.

    The maturity difference between 13 and 22 is a lot bigger than the maturity difference between 22 and…well, older than 22.

  307. More accurately, I’m not dumb enough to announce her age to the world. She wouldn’t like that.

  308. I don’t know what to think. On the one hand, I don’t think the State has any real business in the sexual relationships of two people, but on the other hand, I don’t want to send the message that a rapist* can escape prosecution by convincing the victim’s parents to consent to marriage. That strikes me as the sort of situation that our society has spent the past five or so centuries distancing itself from.

    *Not saying that the present situation is anything like this, but if this were allowed I can easily see it becoming justification for future cases just like that one.

  309. Joe: “andy, your inability to follow logic is surpassed only by lack of mature emotion. Inhale. Exhale. Read the goddamn post I was responding to. Ommmmmm…..”

    I did, you pompous [expletive deleted]. You were implying that a six year old and a thirteen year old have equal inabilities to know when they’re being exploited/abused. While some 13 year olds are dumber than bricks, not all are. BTW, why don’t you try responding to my other points?

  310. ralphus,

    Law are enacted to control behaviour (most often that “society” doesn’t like). The punishments associated with a law are what makes people follow it. People do drugs because the joy is worth the risk. MANY less people commit murder for the same reason.

    Do you think that if murder had no punishment, there wouldn’t be more of them regardless of whether it was “against the law” or not.

    As for mitigating vengance, if someone killed my wife and child because they chose to drive drunk, nothing short of their death is gonna do it. They made the choice and must be held responsible for their actions. Sorry, 2 years of defered jail and losing their license for 3 years ain’t gonna do it.

  311. “People do drugs because the joy is worth the risk. MANY less people commit murder for the same reason.”

    That is making a pretty big leap. Many less people commit murder because its wrong not because of the punishment. Many more poeple do drugs than commit murder because it is perfectly moral thing to do in most cases. Jail as deterence is generraly not effective at reducing crime because most criminals do not anticpate being caught, and the ones that dont mind being ccaught or expect to be caught dont care how extensive the punshment is.

  312. joe,

    I was using the concept of “affirmative defense” in a dicussion of the moral implications of the act, not its legal status.

    Right (said with a Bill Cosby accent). Sure you were. πŸ™‚

    joe, you specifically denigrated the IJ, and acted like they were playing Kelo for a dupe, a stupid and ignorant dupe that is (I doubt you’d have the courage to say this Kelo’s face though). That is both a judgment concerning the IJ and Kelo as well. Its also an illustration of the elitism that you go for. BTW, I’ve reiterated this point enough times for you to look foolish in your “playing dumb” routine.

    thoreau,

    This girl obviously didn’t.

    Why obviously? Maybe she wanted to get pregnant.

    …but I subscribe to the novel view that it’s better to not rush in and try to experience everything that adults experience when you’re only 13.

    The problem with this of course is that you are making an artificial and culturally-bound distinction between being a “teenager” an and “adult.” Until you can get past you are just spinning about in a Godelian box. πŸ™‚

  313. Has anyone yet come up with a good reason why regular rape laws are insufficient for prosecuting sex with younger types? I still dont see why a jury or judge couldn’t possibly decide when a person, regardless of age, has given meaningful consent or not.

  314. Jennifer,

    You are absolutely right. Why should the state be involved in marriage at all? It seems to me that the only purpose is to recognize a pooling of resources. Why couldn’t this be performed as a business protocol? The people involved could simply file a DBA or Articles of Incorporation. Divorce would lose its social stigma – it would become a matter of dissolving a financial entity.

    I still haven’t worked out the issues of parental rights, definition of family, and child rearing legal responsibilities. Maybe Rick Santorum could furnish some advice (if he hasn’t already commissioned a hit squad to get me).

  315. greg,
    “That is making a pretty big leap. Many less people commit murder because its wrong not because of the punishment. Many more poeple do drugs than commit murder because it is perfectly moral thing to do in most cases”

    I’ll ask the same of you. If murder is wrong, and people don’t do it because of that, then would taking the punishment away make the rate go up, down, or have no effect?

  316. Taking that idea further (and bringing it back on topic), if there were no stat rape laws, would more 13s be having sex with 22s?

  317. “The problem with this of course is that you are making an artificial and culturally-bound distinction between being a “teenager” an and “adult.””

    There’s some in here who would argue that precisely because of this cultural distinction that it becomes a real, substantial one, and we should therefore treat teens more like kids than adults.

    Couldn’t the same argument be made for black people? “Oh, niggers are too dumb/lazy/barbaric for their own good. Granted, it’s the fault of the cultural circumstances of slavery, but still, we shouldn’t give them the rights of white men.”

    Maybe I’m making a false analogy, but am I?

  318. To start with stat rape laws probably have about zero effect on the amount of sex between 21 and 13 year olds. No one gives a shit about gov regs when making decisions on sex. That includes 21 year old male sex decisions.

    As for murder well it is difficult to say in a box. If the question is “If murder was made legal TODAY, would the murder rate go up tomorrow?” the answer is yes.

    But that is a false question, because it assumes the present condition that it has been illegal under common law for hundereds of years. The real question is if common law never outlawed murder in the first place would murder be more common now, and I think the answer is no.

    Murder rate is culturally driven (mostly) and has little to do with deterence effects FROM THE LAW. In the absence of OFFICIAL punishment for murder I am sure most people will defend themselves from murders (even group and hunt them for protection) even if the law made no mention of it being a crime.

    Secondly, most people do not consult the law before committing crime nor do they look to it for moral guidance. I personnally dont kill people because it is wrong. That is how most poeple including yourself I image feel about it. Removing the penalty for murder will not change this. I may temporarily let murderous people think they could go without punishment, but that would not last. If there is no law against murder then their certainnly would be now law against startin up a posse to hunt and kill murders. They would now that.

  319. wsdave,

    I’m not taliking about deterring crime. I?m talking about deterring vengance. If we as a society determine the punishment to fit the crime then individuals are less likely to take the law into their own hands. Am I wrong?

  320. Greg, are you drunk or is English not your first language? πŸ˜‰

  321. Ralphus,
    How is vengance any less a crime (depending on how it’s carried out) than the original crime?

    “If we as a society determine the punishment to fit the crime then individuals are less likely to take the law into their own hands. Am I wrong?”

    Only if the the penalty FITS the crime. As I expressed, it rarely does. Thus the wronged party can extract their own revenge or, if they fear the punishment (most often the case), just live with it (though NOT be satisfied with the outcome).

    If a drunk killed your family, would probation be punishment enough? How about a few years? It happens all the time, because the punishment doesn’t fit the crime.

  322. Russ D: OK, I get it–you are saying we don’t need a law for something that is not a problem. That begs the issue of whether parents are allowing their 10 year olds to have sex (I have seen at least anecdotal evidence of this). Humor me, and assume that stuff like that happens–should it be legal, in your view?

  323. I am not drunk… yet. Give me two hours on that. That being said, I am also working on two separate patent applications while I am writing these comments. I don’t know if you read patent speak often, but it can do strange things to one’s ability to put coherent thoughts out in writing.

  324. andy,

    It’s a totally false analogy. The reason it’s wrong to generalize about people based on race is because, apart from physical appearance, people’s difference aren’t race-based. Age, on the other hand, is a real difference. Kids aren’t adults, and shouldn’t be treated as adults. I do think we infantalize older teenagers, but 13 is very much a kid.

  325. greg,
    “most people do not consult the law before committing crime nor do they look to it for moral guidance”

    That’s my point. The LAW doesn’t stop people from criminal behaviour, nor does someone else’s punishment stop them from vengance. Their OWN punishment (most people have a pretty good idea that murder leads to jail)stops them, so instead they cry on national TV and demand that a new law (that STILL has no teeth) by passed to protect the children.

    What we need is punishments that fit the crime in the first place, so people will feel that justice has been done (or vengance served).

  326. greg,
    Good luck with those, by the way.

  327. Why obviously? Maybe she wanted to get pregnant.

    If that’s the case then I stand by my statement that she obviously didn’t use good judgement. Deciding to get pregnant at the age of 13 is not a good idea. Economic considerations alone justify my assertion.

    The problem with this of course is that you are making an artificial and culturally-bound distinction between being a “teenager” an and “adult.” Until you can get past you are just spinning about in a Godelian box. πŸ™‚

    Fine, how about “person barely into puberty” vs. “person past puberty with a little dating experience under his/her belt”?

  328. greg,

    So you’re saying that of all of human behavior, only the decision to commit a crime is not influenced by incentives? What if you paid everyone to commit murder– would there be more of it then? Of course there would. And if you remove the punishment, the same thing would happen.

  329. Ron,

    Did I adequately answer your query?

  330. wsdave,

    You’re missing the point. I’m talking about the purpose of law, not whether a particular law or punishment is just or appropriate. The ideal is that you create a system where grievances can be redressed by impartial arbiters rather than the individual or a mob that are likely to exact a toll greater than the offence. If a man steals a horse he owes you a horse, not his life. This definition probably applies more to civil than criminal matters, but it still applies. I am not arguing however that mitigating vengeance is the only reason for laws. Just one good one. I’m no legal scholar, but I’m sure most would agree with this general definition of one of the purposes of laws. If any are present I would love to stand corrected. I’m always willing to learn.

  331. 300+ posts and no mention of Iraq, evolution, Kelo, or Gary Gunnels’ true identity.

    Wow, apparently age of consent laws are another favorite topic.

  332. Steve –

    “So you’re saying that of all of human behavior, only the decision to commit a crime is not influenced by incentives? What if you paid everyone to commit murder– would there be more of it then? Of course there would. And if you remove the punishment, the same thing would happen.”

    No – I was saying that most influential incentive not to commit crime is living with yourself and your conscience.

    I was not trying to say that if you paid people to kill, or removed all punishment, it would not effect murder. Paying to kill will increase murder, but only marginally. However, most poeple will not kill even if you pay them. Hell, in war some people can’t kill even when they are threatened. (See cool scene in Saving Private Ryan).

    Also, removing Government punishment for murder will increase murder marginally as well, but most poeple will not start murdering up the joint just cause they can. Secondly, I was trying to make a separate point about removing GOVERNMENT punishment, not all punishment.

    I have to go drink beers now (to justify my poor typing, spelling and and grammar).

  333. ralphus,

    “I am not arguing however that mitigating vengeance is the only reason for laws. Just one good one”

    I do see your point, I just think it’s wrong. Assuming that punishment for a crime mitgates vengance assumes that people believe that the punishment FITS the crime. If you took a random sample of people and a random sample of crimes and asked them, I bet they’d say that it’s jsut not the case. The drunk driving I mentioned earlier. Drug crimes. Car theft. Rape. Reckless endangerment.

    I’ll bet that on average, nobody holds their revenge because they feel the punishment fit the crime, but because they are afraid of their OWN punishment if they take revenge.

  334. affect murder not effect murder

  335. Haklyut: “Did I adequately answer your query?”

    Probably, somewhere in the depths of the thread. Too many different strands of argument to follow. Interesting exchange with Joe. I still don’t know what age he thinks is the right age for consent. 35?

  336. greg,

    Your post leads me to question how far a person will go and still be able live with themselves. I can think of a half dozen people that would be gone without a minutes loss of my sleep, but maybe I’m the exception.

  337. wsdave,

    It doesn’t matter if they think the punishment is appropriate or not. The result of having a system of laws that redress grievances is that even if you don’t agree with the outcome you can’t take action on your own without running afoul of those laws yourself. You can choose if the cost is worth it to you and you may decide it is. But most will not. Therefore they have been deterred from seeking vengeance.

  338. thoreau,

    Economic considerations alone justify my assertion.

    That likely depends on the sort of cultural, familial, etc. issues are at play.

    Fine, how about “person barely into puberty” vs. “person past puberty with a little dating experience under his/her belt”?

    Well, the latter term could apply to a 15 year old.

  339. Ron,

    My answer was basically: I don’t know. I don’t know what a proper age of consent law is and I seriously doubt there is much data right now to come to a proper conclusion on the matter.

  340. 300+ posts and no mention of Iraq, evolution, Kelo, or Gary Gunnels’ true identity.

    Speaking of which, at this point I have reason to believe Gary i’s watching over our shoulder. Glad you couldn’t stay away, it’s just not the same without you. πŸ™‚

  341. alphus,
    Yes, but they weren’t detered by the original punishment, which was ralphus’ argument.

  342. That should be is not i’s. Sorry. Too many threads, only so much finger typing stamina.

  343. Just out of curiosity: how is the prosecutor going to get a conviction if the “victim” refuses to testify? Are they going to throw her in jail for contempt?

  344. Actually I am aplhus. Sorry about the typo.

    That people are deterred from seeking vengeance by the original punishment alnoe was never my argument. The original punishment and the threat of repercussions should one take the law into one’s own hands work together to deter vengeance. Someone has wronged me and they are punished by the courts. I have received some level of satisfaction and if I haven’t the consequences will be too great for me to seek my own vengeance. I said the law mitigates revenge. I never said it alleviates it.

  345. <offtopic>
    greg,

    If those are software or business method patents, I hope they fail! Otherwise, good luck.

    </offtopic>

  346. back… drinking… polymers

  347. The Hack,

    “joe, you specifically denigrated the IJ, and acted like they were playing Kelo for a dupe, a stupid and ignorant dupe that is (I doubt you’d have the courage to say this Kelo’s face though).” Is everyone who doesn’t know the law as well as their lawyer a “stupid, ignorant dupe?” The question answers itself – of course not. The law is a difficult, complicated, detailed subject, like plumbing, and it does not reflect poorly on a non-professional to say that she does not understand the law as well as her attornies. Otherwise, why would there even be attornies? Your effort to turn this obvious observation into a judgement call on Ms. Kelo is transparent and pathetic.

    ” That is both a judgment concerning the IJ and Kelo as well.” It most certainly is a judgement on the IJ (do you think they ever actually sat her down and told her that there might be Equal Protection or Due Process arguments to be made? HELL NO!), but it is not a judgement on Ms. Kelo.

  348. Ron,

    “Interesting exchange with Joe. I still don’t know what age he thinks is the right age for consent. 35?”

    Late teens. 16, 17, 18 – not 13.

    I also think laws that distinguish based on the adult’s age are appropriate. An 18 year old tagging a 15 or 14 year old is quite different from a 30 year old doing the same thing. Again, the operative concept here is “pick on someone your own size.”

  349. Hakluyt-

    I agree with your point about a 15 year-old.

    I still don’t see how, in modern America, it is a good idea for a 13 year-old to have a kid, given the economic and social circumstances. Did it work once upon a time? Sure. Can it work today? Probably in rare circumstances. Is it to be recommended? Hell no!

    And before anybody jumps all over me: Have I suggested legislation? Hell no. All I’ve done is criticize things that some people do. In a free society with no laws governing these things, criticism would still be permissible.

  350. Seamus- A DNA test of the child who is the product of the union should be sufficient, unless the defense plans to argue that the 13-year-old was impregnated by artificial insemination.

  351. Joe: Since I now understand you are on the liberal side of the spectrum, let me ask you this: on what basis would you deny full faith and credit to Kansas law on marriage while allowing it to Massachussets for, say, gay marriage? I realize the actual facts here may not raise the issue, but your position clearly does.

  352. Wow, over 356 posts on this subject. Does anyone know what the record is?

    As much as I loath it, I think joe wins this thread pretty easily.

    Obviously this is a fine-line issue that has us at each other’s throats. That’s why I think libertarians should focus much more on clear-cut subjects, like the fucking drug war, or corporate immenent domain (sp?)

  353. Mr. Nice Guy-

    There you go with that common sense. Don’t you know there are principles at stake?

  354. Sorry, t. You’re right.

    Okay, you pro-14-year-old-marriage people AREN’T THINKING ABOUT THE CHILDREN!!

  355. At least the gubmint’s consistent: presented
    with a non-ideal situation, they made it worse.

  356. Ron,

    Are you asking about parents selling their kids (or renting them out) or something else?

  357. Ron,

    I’m not an expert on the Full Faith and Credit clause, but as I understand it, there is a “public policy” exemption, and disparate marriage laws are the classic example of such a policy.

    I don’t think other states, or the federal government, are compelled to recognize Massachusetts’ gay marriages. I think they should, but we can’t make them.

  358. MNG,

    If it makes you feel any better, most of the libertarians who have commented have posted a single statement of their disgust and dropped off the thread.

  359. Joe: Well, legal technicalities aside, I guess my question is this–is there a general principle (that is not specific to the issues involved) that you would apply that would allow Nebraska to ignore the Kansas marriage but would require them to recognize the Massachussets one?

  360. Russ D: Let’s keep the example simple–say, the parents allow an 18 year old to have sex with their 8 year old daughter.

  361. Ron,

    If it’s against someone’s will, it’s against the law. If it is not against someone’s will, how can you prove that it still is?

    The other poster had it right: presented with a non-ideal situation, the government made it worse.

  362. Does anyone have a problem with this:

    The Nebraska AG informs the 22-year old guy that they won’t be pressing charges but if the girl changes her mind at any time before reaching the “age without parental consent” that he can be tried under the state’s law.

    That to means sounds completely reasonable protection for the girl while at the same time reigning in overzealous prosecutions.

  363. “Seamus- A DNA test of the child who is the product of the union should be sufficient, unless the defense plans to argue that the 13-year-old was impregnated by artificial insemination.”

    That would only establish that the father knocked up the mother; it would establish that he did so in Nebraska. Unless they could introduce evidence showing beyond a reasonable doubt that the parents hadn’t left the state during the time window in which the child could have been conceived, I’d think the prosecution would be SOL.

  364. Ron,

    I don’t think Nebraska should be required to recognize Massachusetts’ marriages.

  365. …that is, if Nebraska has gone on record as opposing those marriages on policy grounds and if those policies are, themselves, Constitutionally sound.

  366. Russ D: Let me say again, I am not arguing with you, just trying to clarify your position. If the parents and the 8 year old consent, this is OK with you, or not?

  367. Joe: OK, now I understand your position. At least you are willing to commit to a position. You won this round, in my view, if only because no one came up with a coherent alternative.

    Regarding Kansas, as a native of that state, I predict their marriage laws will be changed very soon to raise the marriage age to the age of consent, which I believe is 16. Here is a very interesting link–note the 7/2000 e-mail about a quarter of the way down. http://www.ageofconsent.com/kansas.htm

  368. Joe: Oh, and the discussion of Kansas common-law marriage right below it (12!!!!!)

  369. Leftovers from a more barbaric era. Blech.

  370. Joe: Is “blech” different than “icky”?

  371. Ron,

    You’re just trying to get me to tell you where I draw the line that the state can assume custody of the child from bad parents. I honestly don’t think that legal line of creepiness should be drawn. My philosophy is to err on the side of liberty rather than err on the side of caution.

    I have a freind that works with abused children and adults who were abused children. I’d defer to what he tells me when I discuss the issue with him – drawing the line is sometimes part of the problem because the abuse and neglect in foster homes and orphanges is sometimes worse than the abuse the were removed from.

  372. Seamus- Since they weren’t married when the conception happened, it would still be a crime no matter where the deed was done. It would just be a matter of getting them before a Grand Jury to testify as to where it did happen, and then getting a prosecutor there to file charges so that Nebraska could extradite the guy. I really wouldn’t envy this guy’s lawyer; the chances of an acquittal are far too dependent on the equivalent lightning striking in the same place multiple times.

  373. Russ D: Hmmmm, I wasn’t trying to be that nefarious. The issue at hand is whether a person can be prosecuted for having sex with an 8 year old if the parents consent. At this point, it appears that your answer is “yes and no”.

  374. Actually, on further reflection, it must be “no”.

  375. I don’t really have anything to add to the discussion. It’s such a complicated issue because of the marriage thing thrown in. I just wanted to be part of this ginormous thread. BTW, just when I was getting used to floorhumper, now I gotta deal with Judge Napolitano’s ugly mug, too? Jeez…

  376. “It would just be a matter of getting them before a Grand Jury to testify as to where it did happen, and then getting a prosecutor there to file charges so that Nebraska could extradite the guy.”

    But as I asked initially, what if they refuse to testify. The father has a fifth amendment right to refuse, and what is the prosecutor going to do if the mother refuses? Have her (the putative victim) jailed for contempt?

  377. 1. There is not enough information to rationally have a strong opinion. So we can see some of the issues, but this is a very very relative belief issue. If you think otherwise, you are not well read in history.

    2. There justifiable concerns to question of sending her now husband to jail. What is best for the young women and her possible future child?

    3. I am also aware this man could well be very bad, controlling, abusive guy, immature, compulsive, low IQ or worse. I can not know that from anything I have read. There are several clear issues here; that he was outside social norms for America in 2005.

    4. I agree, what is the young women like? Let a judge and psychologist really look into the situation. Then they can play King Solomon. Someone has to now.

    5. It is equally possible that the female was trhe initiator of the initial relationship. Some women are mature and aggressively going at life even at that early an age. Presuming her to be some frail innocent is just not the only possible profile. I get some of you want to see women that way, but they are found in many, many styles and personalities. Some want a man, because all kinds of cultural structure is there telling her she should. Some want access to the power and freedom they see an adult life gives, and are willing to take on responsibility. Others are looking to escape and use the guy to there own ends. And a million other possibilities. Many that do not require her to be presumed used by the man. That is so radical feminist.

    6. There are liberty issues here. Ther State vs The individuals personal life. Good grief, the Kansas law represents very common beliefs of 100 years ago when most states allowed young marriage.

    7. Remember, in old world Jewish law you were and adult at 13, you could take a wife, start a business, own a home, be a father or mother. Most of the modern delaying of adult life came from unions trying to keep out young competition. In those days 2/3 would be dead by age 30-35. They were not anywhere near as well educated or informed. (Yes, I am against working 6 year olds in factories. But real work apprenticeships for 10 year olds helped them to understand life as a responsible person who contributed to family and community. Now we have gangs where kids try to find it themselves without elders.)

    8. It is very strange that the state should say your body is mature, but we won’ t let you use it. Granted, it entails huge responsibility, and we no longer as a culture raise our kids with an expectation that they will get the keys to the car and their life at age 13. But I am certain that if we did, they could. Because the human species has several thousand years experience doing exactly that.

    9. I will leave some things to God to sort out, and this is one of them.

    I do not need to have an opinion based on incomplete information.

    Peace be with all of you, and I prey that some mature, wise judge will sort this out, guided by divine Wisdom. I leave it in His hands.

    This does not mean I do not care. It means that I believe our system of law can find the best outcome for all, the man, woman and the possible future child.

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