What do you think?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Aug 25, 2009 12:13 AM GMT
    A friend of mine (known him since my freshman year, before this all started) was caught in this situation and I want to know what you think.

    He had just turned 17, and had sex with a 13, almost 14 year old (one month away). The younger persons mother caught them and called the cops. The kid said everything was fine, until the cops questioned him. At that point he said that he was raped.

    My friend was then charged as an adult. He was facing 15 years. He was about to enter his Junior year in HS!!!! He ended up taking a deal (The jury selection wasn't turning out to be impartial, and his family was running out of money fast to pay the attorney), that gave him 10 years sex offender probation, the first 2 years to be spent on GPS house arrest. He has to attend sex offender therapy, which I think does more harm to him. He is almost done with is sentence, finally, but even when he is done, still has to register as a sex offender for minimum (depending on what state he goes to) of 10 years. Others are 20.

    This has affected his life tremendously. He has lost huge opportunities, jobs, you name it. Its so hard for him to find someone who is willing to give him a chance because of his record. He isn't a pedophile, he has taken MANY tests to prove this. They all come out saying he is not a risk to society. He is considering leaving the country, but the way some laws are changing, it may still follow him. Canada and some European countries, as it stands, wouldnt even let him in the borders if he tried.

    He remains hopeful and upbeat, though it took him a long time to learn to do so. This ruined him for a long time. I remember times I would look at him and get so mad, that something like this happened, and nearly destroyed who he is. He came back from it though, and he is stronger than ever. But he has said to me that he is scared for his future and what it may hold. No one has a crystal ball, and he knows this, but this whole thing really does scare him. He is so intelligent, and good at whatever he does, but none of it seems to matter when he looks for a job. I have seen him rejected, shunned, everything. His family has suffered, he has lost relationships because of everything he has to deal with.

    There was no real victim, actually it was the younger one that initiated it! He does admit he made a poor choice, but should it cost him so much of his life? He has told me there are several people in his therapy program that are there for the same stupid reason. There are others that DO belong there. I think its sick. America once again, in their zeal to crush something, has taken out innocents in the process.

    I guess what I am looking for is people consensus. What do you think? Is this right?

    Edit: This is a re-post, the earlier string was deleted. (??)
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    Aug 25, 2009 12:23 AM GMT
    Comment! lol I am interested to see how others really do feel.
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    Aug 25, 2009 12:44 AM GMT
    I think it's horrifying in general. I'm not so big on 13/17 year old mix, but given the different rates at which we physically and emotionally mature, it's hard to say if this was icky.

    That said, I find even the deal to be terribly harsh. I'm opposed to Megan's Law and other "sex-offender" legislation primarily because of cases like these. At most this reads as statutory rape (particularly if there's no "Romeo and Juliette" law), with sour groups or parents pushing the kid to claim rape, or the kid claiming it because he doesn't want to come out

    Either way, your friend got a raw deal.
  • creature

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    Aug 25, 2009 12:44 AM GMT
    I'm sorry to hear this, Epiphany.

    I don't think it was right. If we take your friend's word as the truth, to give him the benefit of the doubt, the younger boy was in the wrong, of course, for switching the story and making your friend pay an ultimate price.

    But your friend is still young. There are still a lot of opportunities he can seize. It may be tough for him to get employed, so how about encouraging him to tackle a job where he is self-employed. I don't know what his interests and talents are, but there must be something.

    And not everyone is close-minded. I'm sure he'll find someone who will understand.
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    Aug 25, 2009 12:56 AM GMT
    Christian73 saidI think it's horrifying in general. I'm not so big on 13/17 year old mix, but given the different rates at which we physically and emotionally mature, it's hard to say if this was icky.


    I know what you mean. There was a lot of debate over that. It was right on the borderline (ages). But after all the tests he has done, to prove otherwise (that he isnt a pedophile, and all of the psychologists suggested it should have never left juvenile courts), it still hasnt gained him anything because the other person, the "victim" said that it was rape. There was a law passed (Romeo & Juliet) now that would have changed all of it and given him more of a chance, but he cant contact the victim till he is done to change the designation, but by then, it will be too late. icon_confused.gif He will have served the immediate sentence. Its a tough bind for him.

    I also oppose many of the laws because they are knee-jerk assumptions to how to handle the problem of pedophilia, and they are not real solutions.(IE buffer zones from schools, 2500 feet and such. Like thats gunna stop a real predator from seeking out another victim?) Its a touchy subject, because there arent many options and its not anything people want to have to deal with too much. I cant imagine what it like to be caught in it, but to have seen someone else go through it, its not pretty. Maybe things will get better in the future. In the meantime, its his reality and he has to deal with it. icon_confused.gif
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    Aug 25, 2009 1:05 AM GMT
    creature saidI'm sorry to hear this, Epiphany.

    I don't think it was right. If we take your friend's word as the truth, to give him the benefit of the doubt, the younger boy was in the wrong, of course, for switching the story and making your friend pay an ultimate price.

    But your friend is still young. There are still a lot of opportunities he can seize. It may be tough for him to get employed, so how about encouraging him to tackle a job where he is self-employed. I don't know what his interests and talents are, but there must be something.

    And not everyone is close-minded. I'm sure he'll find someone who will understand.


    Thats definitely one of the many things he has going for him. He always gets up after being knocked down. He is interested in being self employed, but isnt sure about what to do as far as that goes. or funding. lol Any ideas?
  • HndsmKansan

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    Aug 25, 2009 1:16 AM GMT
    Its pathetic.. its horrible. He's a kid who got carried away with perhaps not enough parential supervision. I remember when I was 17....our hormones were screaming for the first time......

    My understanding is, these laws were changed dramatically under the Bush administration (especially involving porn online). It would have been different if he was 20 and having sex with a 15 or 16 year old... but here it was two kids..... it should scare the CRAP out of the idea of exploration if your a teenage kid.

    Sorry to hear your friend is having such a time. It will mar him for life.
    I just hope in the next 10 years he can work through it, still get a college education and go on with life.

    icon_mad.gif
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    Aug 25, 2009 1:28 AM GMT
    HndsmKansan saidIts pathetic.. its horrible. He's a kid who got carried away with perhaps not enough parential supervision. I remember when I was 17....our hormones were screaming for the first time......

    My understanding is, these laws were changed dramatically under the Bush administration (especially involving porn online). It would have been different if he was 20 and having sex with a 15 or 16 year old... but here it was two kids..... it should scare the CRAP out of the idea of exploration if your a teenage kid.

    Sorry to hear your friend is having such a time. It will mar him for life.
    I just hope in the next 10 years he can work through it, still get a college education and go on with life.

    icon_mad.gif


    I hope that for him too.
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    Aug 25, 2009 2:40 AM GMT

    My lance, messing with a 13 year old in his mother's house....I guess I was just a prude at 17. I'm channeling my self at 17 and all I can think is, "no way , man." Anyway, kudos to your friend for rising beyond a bad situation.

    I think we all have something that happened in our teen years that could have potentially been as long lasting. Like attempted murder on an older douchebag brother....a friend of mine icon_wink.gif. The charges weren't pressed because my friend was a good liar and said he wasn't aiming for his brother's head when he threw that saucer. He was and can't believe he missed and only hit the bastard in the shoulder.

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    Aug 25, 2009 5:16 AM GMT
    Ugh...we're as helpless as you are.

    OK, to be constructive, this has to be dealt with legislatively. I suggest talking to your state representative and senator(s) about creating clearer guidelines for juvenile prosecutions.

    Unpopular to say the least, this legislation will need lots of statistics, must be bipartisan, appeal to moneyed interests and concerned parents groups to get rolling.

    The move has been so thorough toward heavy-handed retributive sanctions, and repealing that will be a tough sell. Just watch Bill O'Reilly's broadcast, and you'll know why.
  • EricLA

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    Aug 25, 2009 5:20 AM GMT
    I'm sorry for your friend, but let's face it, it's not a cut-or-dry issue any way you look at it. Even if a 13 knows what he wants, and I believe some do, he was not an agent of consent. Especially messing around with a guy that significantly older than he was.

    But, even if the 13 year old consented to the sex, your friend would very likely have been looking at many of the same charges, including registering as a sex offender. It might not have been rape, but it was statutory rape.

    Your friend should have been playing around with someone closer to his age. And he furthermore exhibited poor judgment by messing around with the kid in the kid's home, just begging to be caught.

    It's an unfortunate situation. Your friend should have given more thought to the possible consequences of his actions.
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    Aug 25, 2009 5:42 AM GMT
    mickeytopogigio saidUgh...we're as helpless as you are.

    OK, to be constructive, this has to be dealt with legislatively. I suggest talking to your state representative and senator(s) about creating clearer guidelines for juvenile prosecutions.

    Unpopular to say the least, this legislation will need lots of statistics, must be bipartisan, appeal to moneyed interests and concerned parents groups to get rolling.

    The move has been so thorough toward heavy-handed retributive sanctions, and repealing that will be a tough sell. Just watch Bill O'Reilly's broadcast, and you'll know why.


    Florida has passed said laws, however at this point its waiting for the "victim" to change his tune. It may never happen, and my friend has said he isnt sure if he wants to bring it all back up again. He wants to, but financially he is looking at 30,000+ dollars to make the attempt to get the truth, and get the courts to overturn the original sentence. Its sick really.
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    Aug 25, 2009 5:48 AM GMT
    EricLA saidI'm sorry for your friend, but let's face it, it's not a cut-or-dry issue any way you look at it. Even if a 13 knows what he wants, and I believe some do, he was not an agent of consent. Especially messing around with a guy that significantly older than he was.

    But, even if the 13 year old consented to the sex, your friend would very likely have been looking at many of the same charges, including registering as a sex offender. It might not have been rape, but it was statutory rape.

    Your friend should have been playing around with someone closer to his age. And he furthermore exhibited poor judgment by messing around with the kid in the kid's home, just begging to be caught.

    It's an unfortunate situation. Your friend should have given more thought to the possible consequences of his actions.



    As far as knowing the consequences, I dont think he ever thought 30 years of his life would be at stake. (Actually I think he said as much.) All you ever hear of in HS was over 18 is an issue. not the consent laws.

    Ignorance of the law isnt an excuse, but we are dealing with young teens here. If he is able to make such determinations, he should also be allowed to drink, smoke and gamble and enjoy all the other advantages of being an adult.

    You should have been a state prosecutor =P lol
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    Aug 25, 2009 6:24 AM GMT
    I recall a recent issue of the Economist lamblasted the US' laws on this matter. They have been the target of easy manipulation by politicians looking for easy wins in election platforms.

    FROM THE ECONOMIST: Aug 6th 2009

    "IT IS an oft-told story, but it does not get any less horrific on repetition. Fifteen years ago, a paedophile enticed seven-year-old Megan Kanka into his home in New Jersey by offering to show her a puppy. He then raped her, killed her and dumped her body in a nearby park. The murderer, who had recently moved into the house across the street from his victim, had twice before been convicted of sexually assaulting a child. Yet Megan’s parents had no idea of this. Had they known he was a sex offender, they would have told their daughter to stay away from him.

    In their grief, the parents started a petition, demanding that families should be told if a sexual predator moves nearby. Hundreds of thousands signed it. In no time at all, lawmakers in New Jersey granted their wish. And before long, “Megan’s laws” had spread to every American state.

    America’s sex-offender laws are the strictest of any rich democracy. Convicted rapists and child-molesters are given long prison sentences. When released, they are put on sex-offender registries. In most states this means that their names, photographs and addresses are published online, so that fearful parents can check whether a child-molester lives nearby. Under the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, another law named after a murdered child, all states will soon be obliged to make their sex-offender registries public. Such rules are extremely popular. Most parents will support any law that promises to keep their children safe. Other countries are following America’s example, either importing Megan’s laws or increasing penalties: after two little girls were murdered by a school caretaker, Britain has imposed multiple conditions on who can visit schools.

    Which makes it all the more important to ask whether America’s approach is the right one. In fact its sex-offender laws have grown self-defeatingly harsh (see article). They have been driven by a ratchet effect. Individual American politicians have great latitude to propose new laws. Stricter curbs on paedophiles win votes. And to sound severe, such curbs must be stronger than the laws in place, which in turn were proposed by politicians who wished to appear tough themselves. Few politicians dare to vote against such laws, because if they do, the attack ads practically write themselves.
    A whole Wyoming of offenders

    In all, 674,000 Americans are on sex-offender registries—more than the population of Vermont, North Dakota or Wyoming. The number keeps growing partly because in several states registration is for life and partly because registries are not confined to the sort of murderer who ensnared Megan Kanka. According to Human Rights Watch, at least five states require registration for people who visit prostitutes, 29 require it for consensual sex between young teenagers and 32 require it for indecent exposure. Some prosecutors are now stretching the definition of “distributing child pornography” to include teens who text half-naked photos of themselves to their friends.

    How dangerous are the people on the registries? A state review of one sample in Georgia found that two-thirds of them posed little risk. For example, Janet Allison was found guilty of being “party to the crime of child molestation” because she let her 15-year-old daughter have sex with a boyfriend. The young couple later married. But Ms Allison will spend the rest of her life publicly branded as a sex offender.

    Several other countries have sex-offender registries, but these are typically held by the police and are hard to view. In America it takes only seconds to find out about a sex offender: some states have a “click to print” icon on their websites so that concerned citizens can put up posters with the offender’s mugshot on trees near his home. Small wonder most sex offenders report being harassed. A few have been murdered. Many are fired because someone at work has Googled them.

    Registration is often just the start. Sometimes sex offenders are barred from living near places where children congregate. In Georgia no sex offender may live or work within 1,000 feet (300 metres) of a school, church, park, skating rink or swimming pool. In Miami an exclusion zone of 2,500 feet has helped create a camp of homeless offenders under a bridge.
    Make the punishment fit the crime

    There are three main arguments for reform. First, it is unfair to impose harsh penalties for small offences. Perhaps a third of American teenagers have sex before they are legally allowed to, and a staggering number have shared revealing photographs with each other. This is unwise, but hardly a reason for the law to ruin their lives. Second, America’s sex laws often punish not only the offender, but also his family. If a man who once slept with his 15-year-old girlfriend is barred for ever from taking his own children to a playground, those children suffer.

    Third, harsh laws often do little to protect the innocent. The police complain that having so many petty sex offenders on registries makes it hard to keep track of the truly dangerous ones. Cash that might be spent on treating sex offenders—which sometimes works—is spent on huge indiscriminate registries. Public registers drive serious offenders underground, which makes them harder to track and more likely to reoffend. And registers give parents a false sense of security: most sex offenders are never even reported, let alone convicted.

    It would not be hard to redesign America’s sex laws. Instead of lumping all sex offenders together on the same list for life, states should assess each person individually and include only real threats. Instead of posting everything on the internet, names could be held by the police, who would share them only with those, such as a school, who need to know. Laws that bar sex offenders from living in so many places should be repealed, because there is no evidence that they protect anyone: a predator can always travel. The money that a repeal saves could help pay for monitoring compulsive molesters more intrusively—through ankle bracelets and the like.

    In America it may take years to unpick this. However practical and just the case for reform, it must overcome political cowardice, the tabloid media and parents’ understandable fears. Other countries, though, have no excuse for committing the same error. Sensible sex laws are better than vengeful ones.
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    Aug 25, 2009 7:15 AM GMT
    17 is smart enough to know not to mess around with a 13 year old. Your friend knew or should have reasonably known what he was in for.

    Yes, we all mature at different rates, but 13? Sorry Charlie no sale, thats an obvious gamble and if you take it and lost, then you lost.

    Prohibiting a 17 year old from drinking, gambling, smoking etc, is meant as a protection to the individual by deterring bad habits that can be harmful to the individual. However barring people from having sex with a 13 year old is meant to protect the 13 year old from being preyed upon. As a deterrent its purpose is to make adults think twice before having sex with a kid. Its viewed as deterring an act one would do to another which is a completely different animal from smoking and gambling laws which are meant to protect the individual from his own actions.

    The legislative intent of predator laws were not meant to protect the pedophile. Being a pedophile is not a crime, acting on it is. When a pedophile acts on his or her urges, the victim is not the pedophile, its the kid.

    Also, Having sex with a 13 year old is not an "adult benefit" so I'm not sure where you are coming from with your argument in terms of "adult benefits" or whatever.

    Viewing a 17 year old as an adult becomes acceptable since they are considered to be involved in "adult activities" and the gravity of the crime, having sex with a 13 year old, is heavy. Also, its an obvious no no and 17 is an age when you should really know better. I think it was a fair judgment.

    This is like people who do unmarketable majors in college and then complain about their 50k loans in a way as if they didn't know they wouldn't be able to pay them back. As if they actually thought writing poems would pay their bills. Your friend knew or should have reasonably known what he was in for.
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    Aug 25, 2009 8:10 AM GMT
    owl975 said

    Prohibiting a 17 year old from drinking, gambling, smoking etc, is meant as a protection to the individual by deterring bad habits that can be harmful to the individual. However barring people from having sex with a 13 year old is meant to protect the 13 year old from being preyed upon.


    At the expense of what? It's basically giving free rein to instigators. 13 year old kids aren't exactly innocent little angels. This is why borderline 'pedophilia' cases are so difficult to defend. Because everyone gives in to hysteria. No one cares for the truth or the actual damage done, all that matters is the perceived heinousness of the crime.

    A 17 year old should have better judgment, but 17 year olds are hardly adults. I don't even think maturity can actually be pinned down to an age cutoff (18/21). We all mature at different rates. At 17 I knew I was very much a kid. A very horny kid, but a kid. With decisions guided more by immediate results rather than long term ones. (Also applicable for college loans)

    Not to mention memory reinforcement CAN change testimonies, and lies over a period of time of constantly being reinforced can become implanted as false ones.

    The kid has already changed his testimony to being raped. Doubtlessly at the urging of his family and the wish to avoid the stigma. With enough effort from his parents and himself, he'll believe it himself. In 10 years time, he'll probably look back on this incident with tears, telling everyone how awful it was, how degrading, and how sinful, how he was a 'survivor'. Even if the original situation was very very different. Not to mention his parents will probably blame his being gay at being 'molested' now. And society accepts this panic reaction, it's supposed to be okay in the interests of protecting the rest.

    A 3 to 4 year gap between two boys. And one of them gets branded for life.

    Modern day witch hunts.
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    Aug 25, 2009 10:54 AM GMT
    The article in the Economist hits the nail on the head. There seem to be no limits in the Dirty Harry competition to hysterically protect the children from the hazards of life. Ironically, every day that passes parents and society pay less actual attention to children. In compensation the appearance of protecting children careens out of control.

    I am sorry to say that there appears to be no cause whatsoever for optimism in the case of your friend. What credit can be given that people will come to their senses?

    It seems to me that this promises to get much worse before it gets better. The liberal party in our nation cannot even manage the most obvious reform in the face of certain economic catastrophe. The conservative party sees the appearance of being tough-on-crime as a means to power. Both parties treat harsh legislation as an arms race of manliness.

    When future J.D.s, like our friend Owl, consider the study of poetry akin to theft of service, does anyone really see an end to this spiral of incivility?

    Where will this stop? Perhaps it stops when the last free American finally puts himself in a super-max prison and tosses the keys out the window.

    Laws that allow children to be tried as adults really ought to be the center of any campaign to fight for common sense. An adult is enfranchised to vote while a child is not. Trying a child by adult criteria automatically results in the judgement of persons who are disenfranchised and without any recourse or remedy.

    If your friend had been tried as a minor the outcome may have been different, more equitable, and more appropriate.

    The only hope I see is getting to a place where there is a basic understanding that children are children and adults are adults. We are far from that place now.
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    Aug 25, 2009 10:59 AM GMT
    Sedative, you hit the nail spot on icon_smile.gif

    HndsmKansan, sorry to disagree with you. a 20 year-old hooking up with a 15-16 y.o is not that different. within that age range they're not far from each other in terms of development (not just physically, but emotionally).

    For that reason, in my country, the legal age of sexual conscent is 15, so here it would be perfectly ok for a 20 y.o to date and have sex with a 15 y.o
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    Aug 25, 2009 12:23 PM GMT

    The others who referred to the recent editorial and article in The Economicst are right on. Your friend showed less than good judgment - a specialty of most 17 year olds. The price he is paying in terms of reputational damage and prospects for his education and career possibilities are monstrously out of proportion to his crime. In fact, in many states, his actions would not have constituted a crime since so-called "Romeo and Juliet" laws in many cases call for much more lenient consideration of underage sex when the parties ages are no more than four years apart.

    A very sad case.
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    Aug 25, 2009 3:56 PM GMT
    owl975 said17 is smart enough to know not to mess around with a 13 year old. Your friend knew or should have reasonably known what he was in for.

    Yes, we all mature at different rates, but 13? Sorry Charlie no sale, thats an obvious gamble and if you take it and lost, then you lost.

    Prohibiting a 17 year old from drinking, gambling, smoking etc, is meant as a protection to the individual by deterring bad habits that can be harmful to the individual. However barring people from having sex with a 13 year old is meant to protect the 13 year old from being preyed upon. As a deterrent its purpose is to make adults think twice before having sex with a kid. Its viewed as deterring an act one would do to another which is a completely different animal from smoking and gambling laws which are meant to protect the individual from his own actions.

    The legislative intent of predator laws were not meant to protect the pedophile. Being a pedophile is not a crime, acting on it is. When a pedophile acts on his or her urges, the victim is not the pedophile, its the kid.

    Also, Having sex with a 13 year old is not an "adult benefit" so I'm not sure where you are coming from with your argument in terms of "adult benefits" or whatever.

    Viewing a 17 year old as an adult becomes acceptable since they are considered to be involved in "adult activities" and the gravity of the crime, having sex with a 13 year old, is heavy. Also, its an obvious no no and 17 is an age when you should really know better. I think it was a fair judgment.

    This is like people who do unmarketable majors in college and then complain about their 50k loans in a way as if they didn't know they wouldn't be able to pay them back. As if they actually thought writing poems would pay their bills. Your friend knew or should have reasonably known what he was in for.



    Did you read anything above? There is no pedophilic urges, nor urges to young teens. He has taken almost every test out there to prove this, including more invasive ones. Numerous psychologists back him up on this. Combine that with no other offenses or anything you could call a lapse. I feel confident to say this is not a case of discovered pedophelia, but a teen who made a stupid and uninformed choice. This shouldn't cost him 20 -30 or more years of his life.

    My reference to him being charged as an 18 year old and how I likened it to voting ( I meant this, not drinking), smoking and gambling is something I stand by. You dont consider an 16/17 year old a kid too? They are legally known as a minor! How can you say he is responsible enough to know what an adult should know if he isnt yet an adult? He had just finished his sophomore year, not senior. If sex is considered an adult activity, then why is it o.k. for a minor to participate in sex?

    Im not saying nothing should have been done, he made a bad choice, even though the other minor wanted to have sexual contact. What I am saying is that he should not have been treated like a adult and a pedophile. This case, and cases like it should have remained a juvenile matter.

    The states need to take the time to sort who is dangerous, and who is not. There are many ways to determine it. They need to put that in practice.

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    Aug 25, 2009 4:08 PM GMT
    EricLA saidI'm sorry for your friend, but let's face it, it's not a cut-or-dry issue any way you look at it. Even if a 13 knows what he wants, and I believe some do, he was not an agent of consent. Especially messing around with a guy that significantly older than he was.

    But, even if the 13 year old consented to the sex, your friend would very likely have been looking at many of the same charges, including registering as a sex offender. It might not have been rape, but it was statutory rape.

    Your friend should have been playing around with someone closer to his age. And he furthermore exhibited poor judgment by messing around with the kid in the kid's home, just begging to be caught.

    It's an unfortunate situation. Your friend should have given more thought to the possible consequences of his actions.



    agreed! Even though there was consent he should have shown better judgment. But again my biggest arguments are him being charged as an adult, and as a result, the time he has to put into this and the impact it has.