Contributing to Delinquency of A Minor
masinter at nova.edu
Wed Apr 23 09:40:41 PDT 2008
I was struck by the claim below that at least 20% of boys and 25% of girls
were sexually abused as children. Those are astonishing numbers. What is
their source? What is the definition of child sexual abuse? Large numbers
of adolescents have and will continue to have sexual relationships with
each other; are they committing reciprocal sexual abuse because they are
both technically children?
Michael R. Masinter 3305 College Avenue
Professor of Law Fort Lauderdale, FL 33314
Nova Southeastern University (954) 262-6151 (voice)
Shepard Broad Law Center (954) 262-3835 (fax)
masinter at nova.edu Chair, ACLU of Florida Legal Panel
On Wed, 23 Apr 2008 Hamilton02 at aol.com wrote:
> They are culturally relative, no question. But that does not mean that the
> correct answer is not reached in any particular jurisdiction. I sincerely
> hope you are not suggesting that sexual assault of a child is acceptable simply
> because the culture accepts it.
> The United States is on the verge of a civil rights movement for children,
> evidenced by states increasing the age of consent upwards (so that they are
> less capable of being manipulated into sexual relationships a la FLDS) and the
> slow increase in the statutes of limitations on child sex abuse. Child sexual
> abuse is an epidemic, with at least 20% of boys and 25% of girls sexually
> abused (most in the home, like the FLDS). It is a promising sign that Texas
> has acted in the interest of the children first and foremost.
> "Cultural characteristics" is no defense to the abuse of children's civil
> rights in the FLDS. We in the academic profession typically look exclusively
> at the rights of the adults in these situations, but the children's bodily
> integrity is threatened everyday the Texas (AZ and UT and Canada) authorities
> fail to take action. The question is not simply whether the adult's religious
> beliefs are being burdened but rather a balance between whatever interest the
> adults have weighed against the interests of the children (represented in
> part by the child protective services system). As a matter of fact, it is no
> different than leaving them in a child prostitution ring, except for the fact
> they claim their sexual assault is motivated by religious belief.
> Visiting Professor of Public Affairs
> Princeton University
> In a message dated 4/23/2008 1:11:50 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
> rs at robertsheridan.com writes:
> The principle is defined, in California, at least, according to a number of
> benchmarks, for example: The age of consent is 18. If a male over 18 (or
> even younger...see Michael M. v. SC) engages in sexual relations with a minor
> female, he' s liable under the stat rape statute, Penal C. Sec. 261.5.
> Further distinctions increase the blame, and the punishment, for unlawful sexual
> relations, as it's called, in stepwise fashion according to whether the
> female is under 16, 15, and 14, and worse still if the male is more than five
> years older than the female. Much worse if force is used. What might you call
> such a principle? A ratcheting up or down one? A sliding scale of relative
> values, meaning blameworthiness? Such determinations are about as culturally
> relative as one might imagine.
> Communities whose marriage and courting practices vary from the dominant
> legal norm are at risk, of course. Among the Roma (Gypsy) for example, whose
> culture derives from northern India a millenium ago, child marriage has been
> traditional. Should this prove intolerable in a particular case, it is not
> unheard of for the female or her relatives to claim child sexual abuse, rightly
> or wrongly. Police detectives and others in such situations need an
> awareness of the cultural characteristics they're dealing with when evaluating the
> bona fides of such claims.
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