Prisons

Update on Oregon's Butt-Grabbing Middle Schoolers

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Score one for the Intertubes. It looks like public attention and online outrage has nudged the case in a more sensible direction:

Based on his experience in similar cases, Berry said it's unlikely the boys, if convicted, would be sentenced for the maximum jail time for each of the counts. "That type of sentence has never been imposed in my county or in any county that I know of for these types of offenses," he said.

Berry said he, too, was inundated with calls and e-mails from readers who complained that charging the boys with 10 counts of sex abuse and harassment was an overreaction, as their parents maintain. Lawyers for the boys say each count could bring a year in confinement and mandatory registration as sex offenders.

Berry said a judge could lift the registration requirement after it was imposed. "These youths can petition the court relatively quickly for relief from that," he said.

The boys' families said they were furious at what appeared to be backpedaling on Berry's part.

"It makes us angry that they can overcharge . . . and make us think this could happen," said Tracie Mashburn, Cory's mother. "Why would they do that and threaten us with that if they're not going to do it?"

"He's just doing damage control," added Joe Cornelison, Ryan's father. "I want to ask Brad Berry, what kind of due process is this?"

Berry's explanation also doesn't explain why he initially charged the boys with felony sex abuse. And if he doesn't think the maximum sentence for these particular charges is appropriate, he shouldn't be bringing them.

The good news is, the worldwide attention to the case over the last two days may help the families' financial burden in fighting the charges.

Negra and Lawrence said the Mashburn and Cornelison families received so many offers of financial assistance that they moved Monday to set up a fund to cover legal expenses. Readers from as far away as Germany also contacted The Oregonian to comment or ask how they could contribute.

[…]

Tony Wood, a photographer in Pennsylvania, e-mailed the newspaper Monday after he read the story online. Wood said he planned to send a check to the fund.

"I would actually send a check to these parents because I am totally blown away by this. It's like something out of colonial times or the crusades," he said. "There are real issues out there, and this is not one of them."

"I am very thankful. I can't believe it," said Joe Cornelison, who is a press operator at the McMinnville newspaper. "It's been really hard. I'm behind on bills and have a hard time sleeping because I'm worried about my son, and his life has really been changed by this."

[…]

"I've just been crying all morning because of the way people are supporting us," said Tracie Mashburn.

Some people objected to my original headline that this kind of horseplay is just part of growing up. Fair enough, though I seem to remember quite a bit of butt-slapping and bra-strap snapping in middle school (not to mention adolescent boys' habit of continually kicking, punching, and flicking one another in the nuts). These incidents resulted in scoldings, detention, or, in the worst cases, suspensions. Never incarceration.

Bringing criminal charges was a gross overreaction, and typical of our tendency to turn to the criminal justice system to solve our problems. That the judge "could" set aside the sex offender registry requirement is beside the point. Either this DA thinks these boys should be forced to register as sex offenders for life, or he doesn't. If he does, he should say as much. If he doesn't, he should never have brought the charges. He shouldn't be permitted to pass the buck to the judge.

That the he initially brought felony charges is in itself reason to vote him out of office.

NEXT: Plastic Bag Panic Grips the Nation

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  1. From the dawn of time, youthful butt grabbing has been deterred by the possibility of up to four beatings.

    1) She slapped you.
    2) Her boyfriend kicked your ass
    3) The principal broke out the paddle
    4) Dad, when you got home, would lay down the law.

    Why mess with the perfection of the system?

  2. JasonL is just a pawn of the man-o-centric maleocracy!

  3. I’m just sayin’. Kids sometimes need to experience an ass whuppin’ to learn the proper lesson. You only put your hand on the burner once. Ass whuppin’s are underrated as methods of social education.

    Sorry, I think my Kentucky came out there …

  4. It’s been a banner year for white boys accused of sexual misconduct.

  5. You does the crime you does the time, period, end of discussion. Everyone allways gets what they deserve.

  6. I sentence Dan T to recall every dumbass thing he ever did while going through puberty and serve an appropriate amount of jail time.

  7. House cretin Dan T weighs in early on this one. Throw the “white” in there too for an extra dose of sanctimony! Obviously their race is shielding these 13 year old rapists from their just desserts in a penal colony. They should be forced to stay awake for days on end and have the complete works of Andrea Dworkin read to them.

  8. I say prosecute ’em all!
    I wonder if there is a statute of limitations on this kinda thing; I’d love to see Dominic Sangiavoni get nailed. I’m suprised I ever made it to puberty considering how many times that kid punched me in the balls in the 5th grade…

  9. Conservatives should be outraged at this because middle school boys who don’t grab asses when they’re young are invariably turned gay by HGTV.

  10. Either this DA thinks these boys should be forced to register as sex offenders for life, or he doesn’t.

    This is what this case is about. People without resources and connections always get the maximum. The privileged can literally get away with murder. What we see here is the intertubes transforming the former into the later. The DA never does a “what’s appropriate” calculation, it’s always a “Years sentenced per hour worked” calculation.

    The system is really broke in this way. Unfortunately it seems the best we can do is rally against injustice on a case by case basis. Those who can’t get up enough outrage to become webstars will continue to get screwed.

  11. Where is the Grand Jury on this? Doesn’t he need the Gj to pass along the inditement?

  12. “Some people objected to my original headline this kind of horseplay is just part of growing up.”

    And somehow you have to suspect it is precisely the type of people for whom this kind of behavior was not part of growing up that want to see others for whom it is get thrown in jail. This case is probably best understood as Berry’s lament that no one slapped his ass in seventh grade.

  13. I can only hope that there might be enough money left in the ‘fund’ so that after a judge hopefully laughs it out of court there will be money left over to sue the Prosecutor/State and get every penny back that this debacle cost the parents. Maybe not $67Million, but there needs to be some accountibility here.

  14. We can never be too careful in this post 9/11 environment.

  15. It seems as if the intertubes have become, on occasion, a modern version of the Puritans’ stocks [that thing you stick your head and hands through, so the passersby may mock you and your crimes]. Ridicule and opprobrium heaped on District Attorneys is always beneficial to the cause of justice.

  16. Now even childhood hijinx have become illegal.

  17. Let us hope this DA finds himself out of a job.

  18. I missed out on the roller coaster ride this thread spawned last time around (dam it) so I’m posting early this time.

    Never mind, I think Jason L has got it pegged.

    Although I knew some of the junior high school antics I engaged in with respect to the girls could get me in hot water there was no way on God’s green earth that those antics would have resulted in incarceration.

    I doubt that even a suspension would have been in the cards. Might have got marched off to the office with my arm twisted up behind my back by the gym coach….

  19. nudged?

    Barely.

    Charges should be dismissed and those boys should spend a couple of weeks sitting in the school office after school.

    I think the DA is on drugs. Sent him an email and told him so.

  20. Charges should be dismissed and those boys should spend a couple of weeks sitting in the school office after school.

    They still belong on the registry to protect girls.

  21. Juanita – sarcasm? or are you truly a complete nut job?

  22. Yes put them on “the registry!” Sounds like the “index” that the Catholic Church would put books and movies on. Those evil raping and molesting 7th graders! Everyone allways (sic) gets what they deserve after all, right?

  23. I think I saw Dan T and Juanita together in this Grant Wood painting in front of a barn somewhere.

  24. Oh Juanitroll, you’re so cute. No go back under your bridge… nobody here misses you when you’re gone.

    ‘cept maybe Dan T.

  25. I’d like to come up with a neat little snarky comment about this incident, but there’s simply nothing funny to be said about it. If they set up the legal fund, I’ll contribute.

    WTF are we becoming???

  26. Must be a fine line between “Just doing my job” and prosecutorial discretion. Too many Nifongs and Berrys out there who can’t figure it out.

  27. WTF are we becoming?

    We’ve already become it.

    This is simply the logical outcome of four decades of pushing the idea that everything sexual is rape. That didn’t come from the religious right it came from the progressive left and has been hammered on incessantly by those with the power to make this happen.

    Couple that with the idea that establishing meaningful behavior standards and discipline within public schools violates the kiddo’s civil rights and you have slowly evolved into a culture where the easy answer is to call the cops and have the offenders arrested.

    No muss, no fuss, and best of al, no ACLU suits because the Pork read the little pervs their rights before they were hooked up and hauled off from one prison to another.

    BIG PLUS: The girls parents cannot sue the school for permitting sexual harassment because the administration immediately had the little predators incarcerated. I think that’s called CYA.

    Be very careful what you wish for because you just might get some bastardized version of it that you don’t recognize.

  28. Where is the Grand Jury on this? Doesn’t he need the Gj to pass along the inditement?

    The grand jury only hears from the prosecution, so they could have heard anything.

  29. Graboids?

  30. I’m just glad that the “kissy girls” at my grade school — feared by any second-grade boy for their habit of chasing boys and trying to kiss them — didn’t get charged with sex offenses. It would have made school a lot less safe … for them; for us, too.

  31. They still belong on the registry to protect girls.

    Being put on the registry means a lifetime punishment. A lifetime of ostracism and privacy invasion. Never getting a good job, having move anytime a school or park opens near you, having neighbors picket in front of your home, etc.

    If we’re so concerned about protecting girls that we would dole out lifetime punishments for normal adolescent pranksterism, then maybe it’s time we locked up the girls instead, to protect them from the horrors of life.

  32. f we’re so concerned about protecting girls that we would dole out lifetime punishments for normal adolescent pranksterism

    This behaviour is offensive, it is illegal and must be punished.

    Obey the law and you would be OK. I am sure any woman would want these boys identified and registered.

  33. “It’s been a banner year for white boys accused of sexual misconduct”

    Haha, it sure has. DanT it is a damn shame these Duke boys didn’t go to jail for a crime they didn’t commit. It would have been even better if they would have fled from the law and started their own A-team.

  34. Seriously? How did we ever become so pussified as a nation that no one can stand up for themselves?

    You cannot punish someone for being offensive. You can punish someone for infringing on your rights.

  35. Obey the law and you would be OK. I am sure any woman would want these boys identified and registered.

    Hell yeah, let’s brand ’em right on the forehead.

  36. “This behaviour is offensive, it is illegal and must be punished.

    Obey the law and you would be OK. I am sure any woman would want these boys identified and registered.”

    Does this mean that a fist fight in the school will land some in jail for ten years for assault and battery? Will taking a classmate’s pencil land someone in juvenile for petty larceny?
    The notion that a slap in the butt, which even the so-called victims indicated was something they themselves did, is tantamount to sexual assault is mind-bendingly ludicrous. People that actually advocate these types of punishments go beyond mere mental retardation into previously uncharted realms of stupidity.

    P.S. in my previous post, the word these should actually be those.

  37. Hell yeah, let’s brand ’em right on the forehead.

    Nah, a serial number on the forearm will do.

  38. DanT it is a damn shame these Duke boys didn’t go to jail for a crime they didn’t commit.

    It is a shame. When any man does this, it affects all women, and all men are liable.

  39. As one of those who criticized the headline yesterday, I can confirm that while I didn’t actually grab any butts or breasts, I did do so in my heart and thus am just as guilty according to Jesus.

    Anyhow, I think JasonL is on to something in the first post. Below a certain level of severity, bad behavior in schools can be punished only by detention and finger-wagging. Once you cross that line, you’re talking about jail time.

    Not a good system, considering that kids are pre-programmed to push the limits of what they can get away with. When they meet only minimal resistance, they’ll push further, until they cross the line and wind up in the legal system.

  40. Let’s see here. If you put adolescent girls and boys together, there will probably be horseplay and acting out by a lot of the boys.

    Since that is now construed as sexual assault, I think that the appropriate thing, for the safety of all ‘the children’, would be to segregate schools by sex.

    But that only solves the problem in the schools, and we still have that sort of thing going on in malls, parks, and suchlike places. So it’d probably be best if we make sure that all females are escorted by a mature male relative when they are in public, ‘ya think?

    And just to keep temptation even further away, we’d best put them in burquas, too, so the boys can’t see their bodies and get ideas!

    There we go. Problem solved!!

    [/sarcasm]

  41. I would wonder if Juanita knows anything about Christian morals and Judeo-Christian law. Mercy should be the first thing considered. WWJD? I think punishing kids, too young to qualify for majority (18yo?)is merciless!! Who decides when they are old enough to suffer a life-long punishment? They do not deserve to spend a life branded by some people who just have no forgiving nature in their hearts. “God is love”!?! Seems like “Judge not lest you be judged?” sort of stuff! “I am a sinless Christian so I can judge everybody else?!?!” Think again! I think there might be some issues that need to be discussed with a councilor(by Juanita) She seems to be a very injured person. This is, all, just from one, of many, of the world’s hypocrits–ME!

    Then, worst of all, there are, allegedly, many other kids who have reportedly crossed the line with the butt slapping. Where are they? If we are going to mete out justice, lets do it for everybody! Were not the girls also involved with this? If so, how would Juanita feel about their prosecution? Is it hate for BOYS that have assaulted her in this way that puts the salt in the wound?

  42. I’m a female and I certainly don’t support putting these boys on a “registry”. They are 12 and 13 years old, for crying out loud, and you want to ruin their entire lives for this? I hope you aren’t raising sons, if so.

    This prosecutor should, in my opinion, be sanctioned by the State Bar for this prosecution. He has to prove “sexual contact” under the Oregon statutes which is defined as:

    “(6) “Sexual contact” means any touching of the sexual or other intimate parts of a person or causing such person to touch the sexual or other intimate parts of the actor for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of either party.

    I’ve read the police reports and see absolutely NO evidence there of the hi-lighted portions. The evidence I saw showed that the boys thought it was funny–not sexual.

    When I was in 6th grade, the boys started this game of roving the playground all hanging on to jump ropes which they used to wrap around clusters of girls to trap us. We’d all scream “stop” while enjoying every moment of it. They popped the straps of our newly acquired bras. Boys like to tease girls.

    These boys aren’t old enough to even know what to do with a girl’s breast. A poke in the breast or a pop on the butt is hardly “sexual contact” as defined in the statutes.

    Perhaps this is why the defense attorney has filed a complaint against the DA. He has filed a charge without the requisite elements.

    At the most, for those girls who did not consent, this is simple assault. I’d like to ask that DA if he files charges against every schoolkid who hits another–without causing physical harm–with simple assault or any other crime.

  43. “When I was in 6th grade, the boys started this game of roving the playground all hanging on to jump ropes which they used to wrap around clusters of girls to trap us. We’d all scream “stop” while enjoying every moment of it. They popped the straps of our newly acquired bras. Boys like to tease girls.”

    I’ll be in my bunk.

  44. Note to the uninitiated: Juanita is a troll alias of one of the regular posters here. Arguing with her has been found to cause death by exhaustion in several studies.

  45. Anyone who says “all men are liable” is no friend of either reason or Reason.

    The biggest reason we need the Equal Rights Amendment is to overturn female-supremacist excesses such as the proof-by-accusation law mistitled the “Violence Against Women Act”.

  46. Coming soon to a headline near you:

    “Grade schoolers face felony drug charges; ‘dot-dot-cootie shots’ violate Zero Tolerance rule”

  47. The evidence I saw showed that the boys thought it was funny–not sexual.

    Absolutely. Jerri points out an issue I had meant to discuss on the thread yesterday but didn’t get a chance to address. There was simply NO sexual contact by any reasonable definition of that term – and certainly not by the statutory definition Jerri posted. In the context of “sex abuse” we all know what sexual contact means and what types of behavior this law was meant to address. This current situation is so absurdly far removed from the type of behavior intended to be covered by sex abuse statutes, and the relevant statutory definition, that the prosecutor should face nothing less than disbarment for his actions. Someone who has demonstrated such utter incompetence with respect to interpreting and understanding what is, after all, a rather simple statute, has no business with any more responsibility in the county courthouse than scrubbing toilets. And honestly, that is an insult to the janitorial staff who I trust would do a much better job understanding this case than the current embarrassment of a DA.

  48. Seems like you can’t kick over a rock these days without finding one of these corrupt prosecutors who delight in maximizing penalty for minimal or no injury.

    This prosecutor should resign. Yesterday.

  49. Interesting that the definition of “sexual contact” explicitly contemplates cases wherein the “victim” would be gratified.

  50. Robert: that’s presumably a general definition of sexual contact, used for more than just the specific crime that these boys were charged with. I strongly suspect that the “gratifying the sexual desire of either party” language is intended to catch prostitution-type stuff.

  51. There’s no playing grab-ass or fighting in the building. You got a grudge against another man, you fight him Saturday afternoon. Any man playing grab-ass or fighting in the building spends a night in the box.

  52. I just love livin’ in a Police State…

  53. “It is a shame. When any man does this, it affects all women, and all men are liable.”

    Yes, let’s put all of mankind in prison for life. That should make Juanita happy.

  54. Remember while we are protecting and reclassifying “Girls” it is “girls” that are responsible of 60% of spousal abuse!

    I’ve not even begun to factor the abuse men take from a legal system that really thinks “girls” can do no harm!

    Did ya hear Nancy Grace calling a dog breeding stand a “Rape Stand” the other day?

  55. Ok so I had this dream early this morning. I was in vegas with my buddy and we were walking on the street, in front of us, a very attractive middle aged woman. So he dared me to grab her ass, so I did. Needless to say that she started bringing hell down on us and then she pulled out her phone and called the cops, they took us in and said that it’s a felony and we’re going to prison, both of us even tho my friend didn’t touch anything. ANyway we begged and begged because both of us are in a certain medical program, and you can’t have any felonies on your record otherwise you can not complete the program and get your license to work. We begged the cops to reconsider but no good. When I woke up and realized it was a dream I was so greatful, but I was curious about the actual laws regarding this kind of butt-grabbing incident. I was shocked to find this link and read the article. First off Juanita and Dan T, I really hope both of you die a miserable slow cancerous death. Ok now that that’s said…Oh my god are we in a society of SS feminists who trace their roots back to the reich? Seriously grabbing an ass out of curiousity what it feels like, should get these 2 teenagers this kind of sentence, yet mister MIchael (RIP) Jackson gets to stay in nevereverland? It is outrageous that something like this could ever happen. A line needs to be drawn, because the system is failing. I thought women demanded equal rights, but the way I see it they have superior rights. Nothing against women but that’s just the way it is and that’s why things like these happen, and that’s why in a divorce the guy always gets screwed. I really am not surprised nobody wants to get married anymore, I wouldn’t either if I would know that I could lose everything I ever worked for just because one day the woman wakes up and feels victimized. Get over yourself, toughen up be happy you’re alive and live in a country that to some extent still enjoys some freedoms. Be happy you have a nice ass that teenagers want to grab, take it as a compliment and if not then dish out a few with ur purse and I am sure the teenagers will get the message.

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