He Told Me He Was 12, but He Was Lying


Neil H. Rodreick II, a 29-year-old sex offender who on a good day looks maybe 25, somehow fooled officials and students at several Arizona schools into believing he was a 12-year-old boy. He also fooled two men, ages 61 and 43, who were trying to hook up with boys online, even after they met him in person. The three of them lived together, along with a fourth man who knew Rodreick's true age, in a three-bedroom house in El Mirage, "preying in part on one another," as The New York Times puts it. That is, the older men had consensual sex with the younger man. Did they commit a crime because they thought he was 12 years old? If legislators can make possession of simulated child pornography, involving no actual minors, a felony (a law that was overturned on First Amendment grounds), surely they can criminalize sex with a 29-year-old who pretends to be 12.