Childhood Now a Sex Crime


Honestly, the prosecutors who keep bringing ridiculous charges like these need to be disciplined.

The two boys tore down the hall of Patton Middle School after lunch, swatting the bottoms of girls as they ran—what some kids later said was a common form of greeting.

But bottom-slapping is against policy in McMinnville Public Schools. So a teacher's aide sent the gawky seventh-graders to the office, where the vice principal and a police officer stationed at the school soon interrogated them.

After hours of interviews with students the day of the February incident, the officer read the boys their Miranda rights and hauled them off in handcuffs to juvenile jail, where they spent the next five days.

Now, Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, face the prospect of 10 years in juvenile detention and a lifetime on the sex offender registry in a case that poses a fundamental question: When is horseplay a crime?

Bradley Berry, the McMinnville district attorney, said his office "aggressively" pursues sex crimes that involve children. "These cases are devastating to children," he said. "They are life-altering cases."

The hell they are. A butt slap in the seventh grade is going to alter a kid's life forever?

To make matters worse, other students now say that there were as many as 14 other students engaging in butt-slapping. The two accused boys had their own butts slaps. One female student called it "just a handshake we do." The two boys—who had no prior behavioral problems—were brought to their initial hearing in shackles and prison uniforms. Their parents have had to take on debt to pay their legal bills.

The defense has filed prosecutoral misconduct complaints. Good. It's high time the idiots who bring charges like these are held accountable.

Thanks to Brian A. Courts for the tip.