Crime

Parents Sue D.A. for Charging Their 6-Year-Old Son With a Felony After He Played Doctor With a 5-Year-Old Girl

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Last week the parents of a Wisconsin boy sued Grant County District Attorney Lisa Riniker for charging their son with first-degree sexual assault, a Class B felony, after he played "butt doctor" with a 5-year-old girl. He was 6 at the time. When the boy's lawyer tried to have the charge dismissed, Riniker replied: "The legislature could have put an age restriction in the statute if it wanted to. The legislature did no such thing."

According to the complaint (PDF), the girl is "the daughter of a well-known political figure in Grant County," and her brother, who is the same age, also was involved in playing doctor but was not charged. In addition to Riniker, the lawsuit names as defendants retired Grant County Sheriff's Sgt. James Kopp and Jan Moravits, an investigator with Grant County Social Services "whose regional supervisor…is the political figure's wife's sister-in-law"—i.e., the aunt of the alleged victim.

Although the boy, now 7, is too young to be prosecuted or named in a juvenile delinquency petitition, Madison.com reports, county officials are using the felony charge to force his parents into accepting "protection or services" for him. The lawsuit says that once he turns 18, he will be listed as a sex offender.

I noted a similar case in my July Reason story on sex offender laws.

[Thanks to Kevin Bankert for the tip.]