Free-Range Kids

Bill Would Cap Jail Time for 18-Year-Olds Who Have Consensual Sex with Other Teens at 'Just' 5 Years

No sex offender registry for Romeo and Juliet


Kurhan / Dreamstime

It is a measure of how insane our sex offender laws have become, to announce that this proposed bill in Montana is a relief. Senate Bill 26 would prevent 18-year-olds who have consensual sex with other teens under the age of consent (younger than 16, but at least age 14) from needing to register as sex offenders. It would also cap the time they can possibly serve in prison at just five years.

My heart actually aches as I write that. "Just" five years? For consensual sex with a fellow teenager?

And yet, a giant kudos to the bill's sponsor, Montana State Sen. Sue Malek, a Democrat, for even daring to propose a modification to our draconian laws. She is brave and compassionate. She also seems to have her head screwed on right: she is capable of understanding the outrageous cruelty of the current law, which allows 18-year-olds who have consensual sex to sit in jail for more than five years, and also to register as sex offenders.

KPAX reports that:

SB 26 would not make it legal for an 18-year-old to have sexual contact with a person under the age of consent.

But if it was determined that no force was used and the offender is not a risk to the public, an 18-year-old offender could be exempted from registering as a sex offender, according to SB 26.

"[This applies if] the court finds that the alleged conduct was consensual as indicated by words or overt actions indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact," the bill reads.

The bill would also cap the maximum penalty at five years imprisonment for such an offender.

If public registration of sex offenders truly exists to keep kids' safe (this is highly debatable), treating teens who have consensual sex with other teens like sex offenders isn't doing the trick. Sex between teens is as normal as Romeo and Juliet. As normal as my great-grandparents (my great-grandma married at 15). As normal as human history.

So good luck on January 5, Montana, when the vote comes up. You have a chance to show the world that you understand young people and do not want to crush them for being normal.

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  1. “[This applies if] the court finds that the alleged conduct was consensual”

    Does this mean the jury isn’t involved in deciding if it was consensual?

    1. I would think that a fact which makes the difference between a “mere” prison sentence a prison sentence plus a lifetime scarlet letter, is a fact which a jury should decide.

      But maybe the constitution has stopped being relevant for these registries.

      1. a “mere” prison sentence *and* a prison sentence plus a lifetime scarlet letter

      2. “But maybe the constitution has stopped being relevant for these registries”


      3. But maybe the constitution has stopped being relevant for these registries.

        I see you’re familiar with SCOTUS jurisprudence on the matter.

  2. When people thought that the Dark Ages were over, they were wrong. The Dark Age of Humanity is still alive and doing great.

    1. The Puritans do love their stocks and dungeon’s.

      1. You should be put in the public stocks for that apostrophe.

        1. Spell check added it. I can’t keep up with fixing all the mistakes it makes. Phone spell checker sucks. But we’re supposed to have self driving cars any day now.

          1. Lol. That’s the best defense against self driving cars I’ve ever heard. Then again, have you read the grammer by thoose that poste on theyre facebook alot thay dont even likes the punctuated I says bring on da selfdrivin cars

      2. Given the choice between years in prison or days in the stocks I’ll take the latter.

        1. Between jumping off the roof and using specifically-designed equipment to let me descend safely, I’ll take the ladder.

          1. *glance askance*

  3. OT: Fox News reporting Carrie Fisher has passed away.

      1. 2016 had to take a few more scalps on the way out just as a fuck you.

        1. Shush, we still have 4 more days left!

          1. I bet that fucker is saving something big for NYE. Terrorist attack, maybe.

    1. This is a juvenile sex story, not fictional incest story.

    2. I’m going to go out on a limb and guess it was the copious amount of drugs she did when younger. I still fail to see why I should actually care.

      1. Don’t you see, somebody famous died. It could be somebody you’ve never met and didn’t have a direct connection to, but you’re supposed to care!

        1. Ah, another dislike: death.

          1. Also: the caring of others.

              1. UnCivilServant only wears beige clothing. It is known.

              2. I thought you actually knew her in person and got to grab her mom’s breast?

          2. When UCS is walking somewhere and “Staying Alive” is playing, he will see to it that his stride does NOT match the tempo of the song. It’s unseemly to do so.

            1. UCS has never smiled. Not even at a baby. Not even when he WAS a baby.

  4. But if you refuse to feed the sex offender registry, it could lose its power.

    1. I say we just put everyone on there, just to be safe.

  5. When I was a teen, back in the 70s, I along with probably half of my friends would have been in prison. Now lets take that back another 50 years or so. Close to 100% of the population of the world would have been in prison and on a lifetime blacklist from society.

    The enlightenment is over, folks. There are only dark days ahead, filled with tyranny and oppression. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

    1. Other than that, Hyperion, how was the play?

      1. There was no libertarian moment.

        1. Whoa! Spoiler alert!

          1. “And nothing else happened.”

            Do you even conclusion, broh?

    2. I have.long argued that boomers are the worst most of all because of the way they’ve criminalize all the shit they got away with back in the day

      1. Don’t you see, it was different in their case. Kids these days just aren’t able to handle the freedom.

        (sarc aside, even if true, it’s a result of the actions and failings of the same people doing the criminalizing)

    3. When, exactly, did the hysteria over sex and sexuality reach this fever pitch? Attitudes over sex were infantile when I was a young guy and for a while it looked like we were headed in a more liberal/rational direction, but somehow the pendulum did an about face and swung way over toward the puritanical.

  6. I think the “X year spread” laws are the correct way to go on this. Pick an AoC and then say if the ages of the two consenting parties are within 4 years of each other…all is well.

    1. I might go with 5. I’ve seen fully developed 13 year old girls that look 21 and 18 year old boys are no more mature. At least no more than a slap on the wrist ie the punishment a cop might get for slamming a handcuffed kids head through a plate glass window.

      1. Five would be fine. I was just thinking that a senior and freshman are four years apart…ish. I have no problem with a senior banging a freshman.

        1. I would hope a senior and freshman would be 3 years apart.

          1. Math in public. But, depending on how the school system works cutoff dates, they can be up to 4.

  7. Well, the problem with “consensual” is that you have to be old and wise enough to give informed consent, in other words, fully understand what it is you’re agreeing to. Reading enough of what goes on at colleges here on this site, I’d have to guess the age of consent ought to be about 30.

    1. Unless abortion. Then a girl under 18 can get one without her parents permission?

    2. If a teen is old enough to be charged as an adult for committing rape, then the teen is old enough to give informed consent to having sex.

  8. Re: the picture, it’s nice to see that even a kid with Down’s can find love.

        1. Well, I came.

  9. as indicated by words or overt actions indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact

    Does that include words or actions occurring after the contact?

  10. And Thomas Sowell is hanging up his pen??? WTF is going on around here, 2016?

    1. He is 86…I don’t blame him.

      1. Eh, they have drugs to fix that now.

  11. Inbreeding really does make you retarded, doesn’t it?

    Prince Charles, remember Muhammed!

    Umm, why, you jug eared doofus?

    1. His mommy is probably going to have some words with him. Elizabeth is apparently still pretty fiercely religious.

      1. From the looks of it, she shouldn’t have been sleeping with her first cousin.

        1. Philip’s a Glucksburg, not a Windsor.

          Prince Charles isn’t a product of inbreeding, he’s a product of being Prince Charles. There’s a reason most people want him to die before Elizabeth.

          1. I wanted to make a joke about the “Merry Wives of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha” but the family tree hurt my head.

          2. Philip’s a Glucksburg

            How dare you other the illustrious House of Mountbatten!

    2. There’s a reason royalty came to be called Blue Bloods … a strong thread of Hemophilia running through the intertwined lines of European royalty.

    3. All families have the occasional black sheep. Or in this case it could be the curse of “English Royalty Named Charles.”

  12. Jesus. Criminalizing being a high school senior. I’m old enough to remember when dating Freshmen through Juniors was one of the perks of being a senior.

    1. The good old days. I remember skipping school in high school, getting some fool to buy us some beer and weed and walking around town. The punishment was that they would call your parents and the next thing you know, your friend would say ‘Oh shit, that’s your old lady, she saw us!’, and then would take off running, leaving you at the mercy of your angry mum. I suspect today that would be a swat team after you and you’d end up beaten, in jail, and with a criminal record.

      1. I did so many things in high school that would, from what I’ve read, result in expulsion and jail time now. And I was, overall, a pretty good kid. I’m just dumbfounded that things have gotten so insane. What happened to peoples’ common sense?

        1. Stop using common sense. It is no longer a valid phrase as the left has consumed it like so many others. How about pragmatic leniency?

  13. My heart actually aches as I write that. “Just” five years?

    Don’t confuse me for defending the way criminal law works, but it should be common knowledge that the “Up to” parts of criminal sentences are the extreme limits of what prosecutions ever actually go for, and that the vast vast majority of cases tend to deliver sentences at half to 1/3 of the legal-limit.

    e.g. see the recent ‘outrage’ over the sentencing of Brock Turner, whose fingerbanging of an unconscious girl *could* have netted him – what – “up to 20 years”?, but actually resulted in a sentence of 6-months plus probation or whatever.

    What is so @#(*$@# stupid about these upper limit things is that the news media *love* to tout them in stories, and create the impression of far greater penalties for any given headline-crime. because it sells. “X person is always facing “up to” Y # of years.”, where Y is some “oooh, wow” awful #.

    Also – and still not defending the law – it actually makes sense that you might have a high-upper-range for that occasional crime which has multiple aggravating circumstances. someone will say, “well there are other laws to cover those aggravating things” – yes, but they’re not always prosecutable.

    Obviously the result of this stuff is that douchebag prosecutors exploit this leeway and go for the max penalties in cases not where its “deserved”, but simply where they can get away with it. But it *does* have a rationale.

    1. There are 2 major issues here.

      1. The outlawing of more and more victimless normal human behavior.

      2. These unconstitutional lists and regulations which make people partial citizens for life.

      This is the sure path to tyranny. And a majority of brainless Americans are fully behind it.

      1. yes, but neither of those things have to do with my point about the headline sentencing limits.

        i disgree with the law entirely; but my point was that the reaction to the # of years as ‘still too high’ is misleading. lots of low-level crimes that typically result in sentences of ‘a few months’ still have multi-year upper limits.

        1. The purpose of those crazy sentences is to force people into a plea bargain. Even if they are innocent. When even the lesser charges entail years in prison, people are often faced with a choice between pleading guilty to a felony and taking a light sentence, or being convicted of a lesser charge and being having a harsher sentence.

          1. The purpose of those crazy sentences is to force people into a plea bargain.

            Good point.

            of course, they’ll still use the rationale i described when actually passing the law. at least that’s how they sell it to the public – and no one ever squawks because “tuff on crime” sells extremely well with both sides of the political aisle.

  14. I OTed the wrong comments:

    Robby Soave ?@robbysoave 2h2 hours ago

    Academics (at private *and* public colleges) should have enjoy more free speech than just about anybody else

    What a cuck !

    1. Um, why? No one should have any more or less freedom of speech than anyone else. Saying “Only our chosen few can say the truly outrageous things” is antithetical to basic principles.

      1. should have enjoy

        Even if we take out “have” to make the sentence grammatical, it still makes no sense. Quantifying free speech is as stupid as saying someone’s half pregnant. Either you can express your opinions without fear of government censorship or sanction or you can’t.

        1. Quantifying free speech is as stupid as saying someone’s half pregnant.

          It is Robby…

          1. That’s why they sent him to Washington.

    2. No one should have any more or less freedom of speech than anyone else.

      Obviously. Robby’s ability to pull a retarded, erroneous angle from an otherwise simple-point is his hallmark.

    3. I simply assumed he meant that of all places, college should be the *last* place that had a policy of restricted speech. What’s the deal of always reading him in the worst possible connotation of what he says?

      1. LEAVE ROBBY ALONE!!!!

  15. The key is not to warn the kids about the laws. Just raise your kids in a progressive, caring home and say, “Trust your heart, it will light the way.”

    1. And for god’s sakes don’t let them look at the bible – that’s what caused this whole mess in the first place!

      1. +1 even a stopped clock is right twice a day

  16. Robby Soave Verified account

    Lose your job for telling a bad Twitter joke? Who wants to live in that world?

    He’ll remember to say “free speech has consequences” when it isn’t someone who enjoys the special guaranteed employment rights of government, media or academia.

  17. Sex and age are treated in such a confusing way these days. It’s as if popular culture counters the publicly lax attitude on depictions of sex with strict legal limits on the practice of it, in ways that disproportionately affect men/boys. Skin is fine but nipple is wrong because nudity equals sex and sex is sacred but common on the radio and television. Does Europe have the same issues, or is this an American thing?

    I was talking with my pastor about all the “virgin” references in the Christmas story, and he said the Greek word really just means young girl, and that the emphasis was on the Miracle, not “purity”. All those parents concerned about their princesses would be better off teaching agency and showing forgiveness than teaching victimhood and showing wrath.

    1. It seems societal trends operating in opposite directions react to each other by pushing harder, resulting in a very uneven & unpredictable world. I forgot who Alan Watts credited with the observ’n that we make sex “goodbad”.

  18. First off let’s be clear. This is a law solely to punish young men. Second if they pass it I’d love to see a test case where the offender demands to be put to death.

  19. ” 18-year-olds who have consensual sex with other teens under the age of consent”

    By (legal) definition – if they are having sex with a teen BELOW the age of consent – it’s not consensual sex.

    That’s not a normative statement (I’m not saying I agree or disagree with any particular AOC law), it’s a statement of fact – by definition.

    I expect this shit from Huffpo. Just lol..

    In my state, (unless there is a power relationship of one over the other – or a teacher is involved), a 90 yr old can schtup a 16 yr old and that’s consensual (the 16 yr old can consent).

    But not a 15 yr and 364 day old.

    the 14 and 15 yr olds CAN consent to sex but only to people within so many months of their age (it’s different at 14 vs 15).

    I call this the “prom law”. Senior with Freshman? RAPE

    Sophomore with Freshman? GOOD time

    arbitrary ? sure

    these laws ruin lives . but every nation on earth I am aware of sets age of consent laws. it’s an attempt to set a universal standard to a thing that’s hardly universal (when an invididual is old to enough to consent).

    no easy solution

  20. Government should not criminalize consensual encounters between two humans who are sexually mature.

    I know NJ laws are pretty good. If under 16 then the older partner can be within 4 years of age. Unless the younger is under, I think, 14. So a 14 and 18 year old is legal (it might be a three year difference I forgot). A 16 year old is free to bang whoever they want unless it is a teacher or police officer or blood relative.

    Honestly, no matter how much it upsets prudish people, if a younger and older person want to bang, and they both are at least in the teens, then the only way for it to be illegal would be if aggression or fraud were used. The parents would also be able to forbid contact with their minor child as they can do already.

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