Chat With a Sex Offender

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

Over at Reddit.

This seems like a good topic for a Sunday discussion. He was 20, and had consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl.

I’d guess most (but perhaps not all) readers of this site would agree that lifelong sex offender status for this guy is absurd. Assuming he’s telling his entire history, he’s hardly a predator. Still, 20-15 seems to at least to stretch the bounds of the Romeo-Juliet scenario. And I’d imagine if I were the father of a 15-year-old girl, and learned she’d just had sex with a 20-year-old man, I’d probably feel like my daughter had been taken advantage of.

So should this be a crime? If so, what should the punishment be? If not, what sorts of age cutoffs would you apply, and where?


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83 Responses to “Chat With a Sex Offender”

  1. #1 |  SamK | 

    It’s not a popular sentiment, but…

    Sex should not be illegal. Ever. Force, intentional pain, etc? Sure. Sex? Fuckin’ please. WTB societal mores that are not enforced by men with guns.

  2. #2 |  Jesse | 

    I think there needs to be some activity which should be proscribed. As we’ve seen in some cases of adults charged with abuse, children can be manipulated to make false accusations. It stands to reason that children, especially those that previously suffered abuse, are more susceptible to manipulation or acting out. It’s possible for a deviant adult to manipulate a troubled 9-year old into otherwise “consensual” sex, but I don’t think many readers of this site would approve of that behavior.

    That said, I don’t think of a 15 year old as a child anymore. I’m thinking perhaps 10 or younger. The line falls somewhere inbetween I think. I concur that if a particular person chould be charged as an adult for a crime, they should be considered an adult capable of making their own decisions and dealing with the consequences.

  3. #3 |  John C. Randolph | 

    I’m a strong believer in the “no harm, no foul” principle. If the girl doesn’t want to press charges, I think the state should leave the guy alone.

    -jcr

  4. #4 |  homeboy | 

    @ #43, Mattocracy

    I once read a study published by a researcher at one of the campuses of the University of Nebraska on the topic of “Frontier Brides.” According to this research, the average age of a bride on the American frontier was less than 17, and in some areas it was less than 15. The truth is, we are a nation that was built by a bunch of teen-fuckers. Poe was hardly the only man of his age to take a 14-year old bride. It is truly comical to hear people today pretending that teenage girls are somehow incapable of consenting to full and fulfilling sexual relations, and that their willing consorts must be dubbed criminals.

  5. #5 |  Chris Rhodes | 

    I wonder how many of the conservatives who support statutory rape laws would also denounce Joseph, the father (step-father?) of Jesus, since Mary was probably only 14 when they got hitched.

    That would make for some hilarious sketch comedy, actually.

  6. #6 |  marta | 

    this is so tricky, laws about sex. obviously, we have to have them. people, especially (but not exclusively) women and sexual minorities, are vulnerable to all sorts of exploitation and violence with sex as the medium. i feel very strongly that the law should protect people from sexual violence and exploitation.

    on the other hand, i feel equally strongly that everyone should have the legal right to express their sexuality however the hell they want, as long as it is consensual (i.e. doesn’t involve exploitation or violence against somone else). i believe strongly that sexual acts themselves do not have any moral content, it’s all about the relationship of the people involved. i also believe that human beings become sexually mature at all sorts of ages, some of them startlingly young.

    the tricky part of course, is deciding on a mechanism for determining “consent.” just because someone says “yes,” doesn’t mean he or she has actually consented, or even has the capacity to consent. on the whole i’m not a big fan of strict liabiity where sex is involved, and while i understand all the dangers of leaving these determinations to judges and juries (because they are often biased against the class of people that victims often belong to), it strikes me that creating de facto criminals where no actual crime has taken place is also a problem.

    so i don’t know. maybe some sort of strict liability that draws clear lines, but with the possibility of exceptions where individual cases are determined on their facts, and then some sort of process by which the rights of victims are closely guarded against bias?

    of course, that sounds like a libertarian nightmare, doesn’it it? ;-)

  7. #7 |  Jay | 

    Strange how much things have changed rather drastically in the past 100 years or so. I would recommend reading the below link — hey, it’s Wikipedia, so it *must be* true. :)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Age_of_consent#History_and_social_attitudes

    As for my opinion and my wife’s, we believe 15 is definitely old enough to have sex with adults of any age. We don’t agree with the law’s definition of “age of consent” (although neither of us would be remotely interested in anyone under 20, nor are we willing to break the law … we’re in our 40s, by the way) or how sex offenders are punished for life in circumstances such as these. It was not rape. It wasn’t even close to rape. That guy has been punished enough for breaking the law. His record should be expunged so he can get on and be a productive member of society…

  8. #8 |  Jim Collins | 

    homeboy,
    Read “Little House on the Prairie” sometime. He was 17, she was 15.

  9. #9 |  MassHole | 

    This is such a tricky thing because there is really no way to make a law that can work for every situation. I think a lot of romeo/juliet prosecutions are due to angry parents that use the state to get even since they can’t kick ass without going to jail themselves or use it to cover up their poor parenting. On the flip side, a 15 year old can be talked into doing a lot of things by a 20 year old they are infatuated with. So even if it’s consensual sex, it may not be the fruit of a healthy relationship due to the difference in mental/emotional maturity.

    Either way, no one should be hosed for life over consensual sex. Bad personal decisions are part of life. Dan Savage made a good point about dating people much younger than you: Leave them better than you found them.

  10. #10 |  SamK | 

    Honestly, I don’t think we ‘obviously need to have laws’ about sex. It’s sex. It’s not murder. If a sexual limit is to be proscribed make it pre-pubescent to preclude physical damage, possibly allow for punishment where established authority or other coercion is used.

    Seriously, what’s the problem with sex? It’s about as natural a bodily function as we have. They can’t consent? Jesus I got tired of that sort of treatment as a child. I remember it. It’s the one thing I really remember about childhood, being treated like I couldn’t make a fucking decision. Grow up? Oh, so the middle aged fuckers could pretend I was “just young” and couldn’t make a decision? How about middle age now that I’ve hit it? Old men still say I’m “young enough to act out” when I do something they disagree with. No, children don’t have the knowledge and experience of their elders. Yes, they’re hardwired to do as they’re told. No, I don’t think sex is harmful. Think about that for a minute. It’s sex. It’s just about as basic a biological function as exists. It’s right up there with eating for god’s sake.

    Just as an exercise, let’s throw out consent as an issue and physical damage…because the only certain trump card people seem to have is psychological damage. The wiki page on abuse is covered in it and it’s the fallback everyone seems to use (assuming you can get past “it’s just *wrong* derp!”). It’s suggested that a friggin huge percentage of us are abused. Look at those percentages…up to 25%? Are you kidding me? That means that sexual abuse is practically a founding principal of the country and is certainly a key component in the sociological foundation of our culture. Yet we function. If said sex is so damaging then sexual abuse is the ONLY thing that we need to conquer to make ‘murica strong again! Seriously. From 1/8 to 1/4 of our entire nation whose entire life is completely destroyed! If we reclaim that fraction we could do anything!…or it’s bullshit. It’s sex. Teaching children not to fondle themselves, and translating that into fondling adults can be a real bitch sometimes, especially with ‘special needs’ kids. They don’t get it and they don’t care…it feels good and makes people happy.

    I know, jackoffs everywhere have tried to prove it wrong in studies, and claimed to do so, but I’m still of the very firm belief that what fucks up kids and depresses them is being used by their parents, being unloved, being forgotten, being sidelined and put down, being beaten and having their sense of self suppressed so their parents can do whatever the fuck they like and keep the kid out of their way….and that the people who are likely to fuck their kids are the people who treat them like shit. It’s not the sex, it’s being treated like a tool without humanity. It’s being without love and care. Being exposed to sex early in this country is a hindrance because of the strict social mores surrounding it, and the likely collapse of the early learning structure where basic discipline fails.

    It’s sex. It’s not theft, it’s not murder, it’s not any damned thing but sex. You can crush someone mentally and emotionally a thousand different ways, but if you use sex to do it it’s a crime. I know men and women who were sexually active from the age of six up. Some of them are fucked up over it. The best example I have is a girl who was fucked up because her stepfather was raping her repeatedly for six years and threatening to kill her. Bad shit right? Why is she still happy she was ‘pleasing’ her uncle as a pre-teen? She actually hooked up with him in her twenties for about six months and they’re still great friends…but the man who threatened to kill her scares the hell out of her. She’s a biologist with a nice life and a nice man in it doing damned well…yet when we talk about what’s ‘wrong’ with her, it’s the sex. Not the evil imposed on her, not the actual removal of her autonomy, consent, happiness and love, it’s the sex. The man she’s good friends with would be in jail right next to the motherfucker that drowned her cat to show her how she’d die. That, friends and neighbors, is a pretty fucked up way to treat anything, much less the simplest way we interface as human beings.

    Yadda yadda early pregnancy, blah blah STDs. I’ll refrain from further cluttering the discussion.

  11. #11 |  Rune | 

    In my part of the world, age of consent is 15, so in this scenario nobody is guilty of anything. Anecdotally, my mother was 14 and my father 18 when they started dating. This year they have been married for 36 years. I don’t know when they started having sex though, I guess I never thought to ask, but in any case, if I am not mistaken, making out and kissing would make you equally as much a sex offender as intercourse.

    So, from personal experience such a relationship can be healthy.

  12. #12 |  FridayNext | 

    A lot of people have made a lot of good points and I agree that this person, or damn few if any people, should be branded for life with a place on a sex offender registry especially if that “criminal” is hoodwinked or legitimately believes to have informed consent especially especially when the ages are only a few years. I also think it is fundamentally unfair and wrong to have so many different age cut offs for so many different activities. If I can fight for my country or be tried as an adult, I should be able to have a GSD damned beer or have sex when and with whom I want.

    There have been a lot of good thoughts and suggestions on this thread and quality discussion. However, I think it would be improved greatly if we include consideration of the fact, supported by overwhelming scientific evidence, that adolescent brains are not the same as adult brains and that physical difference manifests in huge differences in behavior and reasoning. As so many have pointed out 15 year olds are physically and sexually mature and active. But that doesn’t mean they have developed the capacity to appreciate the consequences of their actions. (To adapt a rather crass adage from my own youth, just because there is grass on the field, doesn’t mean they know how to play ball)

    15 years worth of longitudinal studies of teen brains show that the area of the brain that is responsible for instinctual behaviors, amygdala develops quite early while the frontal cortex, the area that helps us reason and think through consequences develops much later, often as late as the early 20’s. This means teens are more likely to act on impulse, misread or misinterpret social cues and emotions and engage in dangerous or risky behavior. (The automotive industry is well aware of this. It’s why insuring a teen driver is so expensive and few companies rent to anyone under 25.) The disparities in neural development create a perfect storm for a manipulative adult to engineer consent, pretty much the same way adults can manipulate false accusations of molestation and abuse.

    (as an interesting aside, the description of adolescent behavior trends match up pretty good with the type of person you need charging an armed redoubt of enemy soldiers which is why you can join the military as young as 17. I have no argument for those who maintain that the varying age thresholds for adulthood is set to serve the state’s interests. Absolutely.)

    The fact is consent from a 15 year old is not the same as consent from a 25 year old. Some good anecdotes here from people with good experience with early sex with an adult, but allow me to balance. A 15 yo classmate of mine in high school was already engaged to a man in his 20’s when she was a freshman in high school. From all outward signs she had consented to the sexual relationship and impending nuptials and her parents certainly consented. Long story short they got married upon her graduation and she promptly became an alcoholic and tried to kill her self a couple of times. At 15 she had no idea what she wanted separate from what the significant adults in her life wanted for her. To pretend she gave consent in the same sense we normally conceive of the concept in terms of mature adult behavior is ridiculous.

    How this translates into exact policy I cannot say at the moment. It is open to debate and there are lots of good ideas here. Certainly, from a legal stand point, youth should be allowed to develop together and allowed to experiment with each other naturally. That underage teens can engage in consensual sexual activity with each other and find themselves in trouble with the law is absurd. Even a 20 year old having consensual sex with a 15 yo could be tolerated. But at some point we should expect the adults in our society to not exploit the immaturity and underdevelopment of minors for their own needs and desires. Whether that line is 16, 18, 21, 25 or 30 (we can call it Logan’s Law) is negotiable as is the mechanisms and procedures for making exceptions and mitigating punishment, which there can certainly be. But there should be a line if only so adults can stay on the right side of it BEFORE take take their pants off and not at trial.

  13. #13 |  Highway | 

    FridayNext, the same argument that teenager’s brains are still developing and that they cannot fully comprehend the full consequences of their actions can be used against both the idea that their sexual relations should be allowed *and* that their accusations against sex partners should always be taken this seriously.

    Does a 15-year old girl who breaks up with someone and then accuses him of a strict liability violation like statutory rape really understand the consequences of that? That that guy’s life is now going to be a hell of dealing with the law, of being run out of towns and homes because of proximity restrictions, of being branded with a label as bad as the scarlet letter? I doubt it. She understands that she’s upset because her jerk boyfriend left and she’s gonna make him pay.

    I think what the real problem is is that the stakes are too high. All over our society, we’ve made the stakes too high. Zero Tolerance, Three Strikes, Getting Tough, all of these just make sure that people are over-punished.

  14. #14 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Looking at complex issues thru the lens of a law is a bad idea, but that’s what the state does…and the law usually has no actual basis on reality.

    Just Another War…

  15. #15 |  Aaron | 

    Nancy Lebovitz: Here’s one I ran across a few years ago:

    http://www.virginia.edu/uvatoday/newsRelease.php?id=3288

    Nov. 12, 2007 — A new study by University of Virginia clinical psychologists has found that teens who have sex at an early age may be less inclined to exhibit delinquent behavior in early adulthood than their peers who waited until they were older to have sex. The study also suggests that early sex may play a role in helping these teens develop better social relationships in early adulthood.

  16. #16 |  cc | 

    I have a very good friend who’s son was married to a 15 year old girl, he was 19. They were having sex before they were married. The father, when he found out filed charges on the young man. The state of tx indicted him after they were married. She became pregnant and they were married. He was given probation. He had completed, I think 3 years of probation. He and his wife have 2 children. His probation was revoked after he took his family over to his moms for a dinner. You see, his 16 year old sister was there. The sister is under the age of 18, that was a violation of his probation. He is prohibited from having contact with anyone under the age of 18. He was sentenced to 18 years in prison. While incarcerated the guards have informed other inmates that this young man (now 23) is a sex offender. He has been assaulted, threatened, had personal items stolen. His 19 year old wife and his 2 children are devastated and heartbroken. When will this stop.
    I know at the age of 15 I was fully aware of what I was doing when it came to sexual acitivity. I could have put a couple of boys behind bars. Men, beware, in TX it only takes an accusation and it does not have to be the truth. Thank you for addressing this issue

  17. #17 |  Katie A. | 

    I’d also like to offer a female perspective.

    I became sexually active when I was 15 years old (with my boyfriend who was 14), and had had several partners by the time I was 18, including two men in their twenties. Like one of the commenters above, I was also often perceived as older than I was, and never got carded.

    Nearly every woman I know has a “that guy”: the guy who was 22-28 when she was 15-17 and they hooked up. And they all have the same perspective on it now: it was possibly creepy and inappropriate, but it was not abuse and certainly not rape. I don’t regret any of my teenage sexual encounters, but when I was in my mid-twenties and one of my male peers would ask about bedding a teenage girl he was interested in, my flat response was always “don’t be that guy.” The worst-case scenario there (as outlined in numerous comments on this thread) is just too terrible, and far too common.

    I think teenagers (male and female) think they are a lot more mature then they really are (remember how you thought you knew everything when you were 16? and then it turned out you didn’t?), but they are certainly more mature than children. I think teens are capable of making choices about their own sex lives and dealing with the consequences of those decisions. Unfortunately, the law doesn’t agree with me.

    As a mother of three boys, you can bet I’m going to teach them to be VERY careful about the age of anyone they hook up with, and to know about the possible lifelong consequences of shagging the wrong underage partner.

  18. #18 |  Jim | 

    In the early 1900’s my mother’s parents were married. She was 14, he was 20. They had 11 children. Their descedents now number in the hundreds, myself included. I guess given the standards of our sexually-enlightened modern age today, Grampa should have been tossed in prison instead.

  19. #19 |  JOR | 

    Of course teenagers are less mature than adults (other things equal) but I’m not sure I see why it follows from this that them having sex with older people is necessarily creepy or exploitative. For one thing, immature people (i.e. other teenagers) will be at least as abusive or emotionally manipulative as more mature people. And they’ll be less stable and responsible. So if inexperienced, naive teens are going to be having sex with anyone, you’d think you’d want them having sex with older, more stable and responsible, less manipulative and abusive people. Which is to say, older people.

  20. #20 |  fwb | 

    This is a cultural more and is limited in its geographical distribution.

    Mohammed took a 6 yr old as his wife, consumating the marriage when she turned 9.

    My gggggf at 21 married his 14 yr old sweetheart.

    Spend a little time checking out your family history and I guarantee there will be plenty marriages/relationships like this.

    In a number of cultures, much older men take younger wives because young men don’t have the wherewithall to provide well for the offspring. There are numerous reports from research studies about this on the net.

    Just like the left, the right has those who want to tell everyone how to live. There always have been that kind and there always will be.

  21. #21 |  Leon Wolfeson | 

    Under UK law, the strict liability offences are for 12 and under, or if one person is has a duty of care to the other.

    In any other case, factors like the girl’s emotional maturity, if she lied about her age and so on can all be taken into account. And two fifteen year old people going at it? Not in the public interest to prosecute.

  22. #22 |  supercat | 

    #26 | homeboy | “How is it any better to allow people to do violence to others in a demonstration of their own emotional infirmities than it is to charge people and place them on a sex offender registry?”

    The supposed purpose of these laws is to protect children. I would suggest that the job of protecting children is in many cases far better left to parents than to governments. Indeed, I would suggest that while the vast majority of parents, despite their imperfections, fundamentally want to act in the best interest of their children, governments have their own interests which are often antithetical to those of the people they supposedly serve.

  23. #23 |  Mark Z. | 

    #1: Dad should get a free pass for kicking this dude’s ass and that should be the end of it.

    And in the far more common case where the guy is her dad? Do we tell him to go kick his own ass?

    If we’re going to embrace ass-whuppin’ as a punishment (which may not be a bad thing–it’s less stupid and cruel than any of the punishments we actually have), the judge should man up and beat the guy himself.

  24. #24 |  homeboy | 

    @ #72, Supercat

    That is a different discussion entirely. You are addressing the protection of children; Stephen was proposing an allowance that would permit someone to do grievous violence to another for no other purpose than to satiate frustrations created by his own emotional infirmities. The similarity is approximately the same as that between apples and orange-colored Volkswagens.

  25. #25 |  homeboy | 

    @ #59, MassHole

    “So even if it’s consensual sex, it may not be the fruit of a healthy relationship due to the difference in mental/emotional maturity.”

    MassHole, the vast majority of consensual sex, at any age, is not the fruit of a healthy relationship, and arises from a relationship marked by substantial differences in the mental/emotional maturity of the participants.

  26. #26 |  Doug | 

    I propose the 1/2 your age + 7 years standard become the legal rule. Run through some scenarios in your head and apply it. Uncanny isn’t it?

    Downside? Gold digging becomes impossible. Hugh Hefner is s*it out of luck. 80yrs old? 47 and older only, sir.

  27. #27 |  Tarnell Brown | 

    Honestly, this is a difficult question to answer. The truth of the matter is this is a case of culturally mandated moral relativism (which is why I believe in truth and evil, not necessarily morals). In our culture, consensual sex between one perceived as an adult and one perceived as a child is wrong. In other cultures, the fifteen year old would legally be an adult, and this standard would not apply.

    Of course, part of the problem inherent in this situation is that we as a society value the years that our children have to be children. A generally prosperous society, we do not face the types of hardships here that spur other cultures to abbreviate the childhoods of their offspring. As such, in many cases, our children are in, fact, children, emotionally and mentally.

    Personally, I would not wish for my fifteen year old daughter to engage in sex with someone’s fifteen year old son, let alone a twenty year old man. I would be angry beyond reason, and jail might be the only means of protection the law could afford that man from my wroth. I personally do not see the attraction that a twenty year old man in thos particular society can have to a teenaged girl.

    That being said, should he be branded with a scarlet letter for life? Probably not. God , should you choose to believe in Him (I do), requires penance for our transgressions whether or not there is repentance, but once repentance is given, forgiveness is granted, and beyond whatever penance He imposes, the act is no longer an issue with Him. Man, especially Americans, claim the penal system is rehabilitative and not punitive, yet fails to provide the sort of clean slate that true rehabilitation mandates.

    Ultimately, it is the role of government to impose order, and protect its citizens from threats internal and abroad, not to legislate morality. Only when acts of moral failure are threats to the fabric of society are they the province of government and its powers to impose judgment and penalty (theft, murder, rape, contract abrogation). Somewhere in that statement lies the answer to the question; it just depends on whether or not you believe that such actions are a danger to the order and efficacy of society.

  28. #28 |  MassHole | 

    homeboy says:

    “the vast majority of consensual sex, at any age, is not the fruit of a healthy relationship, and arises from a relationship marked by substantial differences in the mental/emotional maturity of the participants.”

    Maybe in your world. In my world of adults 30 years of age and older, that’s not the case. I think you need to chill on the armchair sex research or show some stats that back up your case.

  29. #29 |  MPH | 

    The following is my (possibly inaccurate) recollection from an article I read on the subject.

    The age of consent laws were created as a result of industrialization and the changes it made on our society. It used to be that a man was under his wife’s supervision all day. If he worked his fields, his wife merely had to look out the window to see what he was up to. If he had a cottage industry, he worked out of his workshop in, below, or behind his house, where again, the wife merely had to look out the window to see what he was up to. Kind of hard to start up a relationship with the hot 15 year old down the street under these conditions.

    Then came factories, and once he started working away from home, some men would run off with that pretty teen aged woman he saw regularly at the after work watering hole (in some cases she was a prostitute, in some cases not), leaving the first wife and kids to flap in the breeze (recall, this was a time where a 1 day train ride combined with an 8 hour walk would allow you to disappear completely from your current life). Older women, wives in particular, decided that they didn’t want to compete sexually with young women, so they lobbied their representatives to create these age of consent laws to discourage such behavior from men.

    So this change in our society, combined with the puritan ethic of “sex is bad because it feels good” (recall this is the country where the shakers felt this so firmly that they so thoroughly avoided sex that they died out though lack of progeny), over-hyping of the issue (it’s an epidemic), and politicians who wanted to look like they were doing something about it, resulted in these laws being created.

    As to my own opinion, if she can breed, she’s an adult. If her parents say “she doesn’t understand the consequences”, then I’d say to them “YOU FAILED AS PARENTS!” (and yes, I would yell). Parents’ primary responsibility is preparing their children for adulthood. That includes understanding the consequences of having sex.

    The real problem now is that these laws have been in force for so long, and people have been sold the lie that children aren’t adults until they’re 18, we now have to fight to make people understand that once a person is through puberty they are an adult, and adults WANT to breed. Too often the attitude is “she’s only 15, she shouldn’t even be thinking about sex” when “she” finished puberty at 13 and has been trying to get laid for 2 years.

    We need to accept reality, and change the laws, education system, and society’s attitudes to reflect it. But that’s an uphill fight, and we’ll still be facing that puritanical ethic hundreds of years after the Puritans as a defined group have died off.

  30. #30 |  Technomad | 

    I think that in a lot of this sort of cases, it isn’t the girl who’s complaining so much as Daddy Dearest, who found out that his precious princess was having *ohnoes* sex, didn’t like the guy, and went berserk.

    My own theory is that in a lot of these cases, Daddy Dearest wishes he could be where Boyfriend was (or where he thinks Boyfriend was), but, instead of admitting it to himself, thinks it’s wrong to even think such things, and covers it up with denial and outrage. Kind of like how a lot of the most fervid anti-gay people turn out to be deeply closeted themselves, or how the most ferocious whore-persecutors often turn out to be paying somebody for sex…usually in circumstances that make a brothel look like Disneyland.

    Of course, the Victorian cult of childhood innocence, combined with our modern habit of extending childhood far beyond what nature ever intended, also screws things up badly. My own take would be that if someone’s old enough to be thrown into adult court for a crime, they’re old enough to have sex, end-of-sentence.

  31. #31 |  supercat | 

    #74 | homeboy | “Stephen was proposing an allowance that would permit someone to do grievous violence to another for no other purpose than to satiate frustrations created by his own emotional infirmities.”

    Where did Stephen say anything about the father’s emotional infirmities?

    I would expect that most girls’ fathers would be very happy to have their daughter marry a man who was honest, trustworthy, and reliable, but would have a strong desire to protect their girls from men who lack such qualities. Indeed, I would aver that a good father should have such desires. Fathers won’t always be perfect in judging the quality of the boys or men their daughters see, but I would expect that most fathers of 15-year-olds have considerably more wisdom than those 15-year-olds, and are far more strongly committed to protecting their daughters’ interests than are any state officials.

    While I wouldn’t go so far as to suggest that a girl’s father should have the right to kill someone who had consensual relations with his daughter, I would suggest that granting fathers some latitude in dealing with those who would take undue advantage of their children would in most cases be more effective than statutory-rape laws in protecting the children of good parents, while being less damaging than those laws to men who would seek to be productive members of society.

  32. #32 |  homeboy | 

    @ #81, Supercat

    “Where did Stephen say anything about the father’s emotional infirmities?”

    It implicitly suffuses his post @ #1.

    “I would expect that most girls’ fathers would be very happy to have their daughter marry a man who was honest, trustworthy, and reliable, but would have a strong desire to protect their girls from men who lack such qualities.”

    So?

    “Fathers won’t always be perfect in judging the quality of the boys or men their daughters see…”

    Quite right; in this repressive, perversely skewed, guilt-ridden culture, they generally have little capacity to render a judgment of any value relative to their daughters’ sexuality.

    “I would expect that most fathers of 15-year-olds have considerably more wisdom than those 15-year-olds, and are far more strongly committed to protecting their daughters’ interests than are any state officials.”

    I imagine, at some point, we are going to return to the issue of an emotional invalid doing violence to one of two participants in wholly consensual sex acts.

    “I would suggest that granting fathers some latitude in dealing with those who would take undue advantage of their children…”

    Undue advantage?!!! How did that get infused into the discussion? And why should latitude ever be given for someone to beat another as an expression of his malignant, subjective sentiments? If a father is so emotionally infirm that he cannot come to terms with his daughter’s free embrace of her sexuality, why should that provide him with a mandate to do violence upon another?

  33. #33 |  JOR | 

    Might I also suggest that a beating that has no legal restraint on it quite possibly can be worse than a prison sentence. If there is no legal restraint on some teenaged girl’s father beating up her sex partners, then he can quite easily beat them to death, or maim them for life. I dunno, maybe the idea is to end up with something like the ancient Israelite rule where a man that kills his slave outright is to be punished in some (unspecified) way, but a man who beats his slave fatally, but the slave lingers for a few days before he dies of his injuries, suffers no penalties. And of course, legal non-restraint on Angry Dad implies an equal legal restraint on his intended victim: what happens if the boyfriend defends himself (to whatever degree of success)? Does he go to jail? What if he (quite understandably) kills Angry Dad in self-defense?