"Hey, she said she was 18!"
North Texas attorney Richard Gladden is trying to get the statutory rape law repealed. His argument is that if an adult didn't know that the juvenile was under-aged, then it shouldn't be a crime for him to have consensual sex with that juvenile. The stories told by the reporter are very compelling*. Innocent servicemen, preyed upon by sexually-advanced teens with women's bodies who claim to be full adults. Their lives ruined by felony convictions and lifetime sex offender registration.
They showed some pictures of girls with developed figures and their faces blurred out, as evidence that you just can't tell. How were these men --properly the victims themselves-- to know that these little seductresses weren't adults?
Hey, I know that the average age of the onset of puberty has dropped remarkably in the last 100 years or so, but this sounds the same as those morons who whine, "How can you even tell if she wanted it? I mean, I was getting mixed signals from that bus driver..." The fact is, if you're grown up enough to have consensual sex, then you need to be grown up enough to know who you're potentially making a baby with, or trading your next infection with.
If you can't tell that this kid isn't 18, you're not doing any kind of due diligence between your ears.
The funny thing is, I think that we've got too many felonies, and I think that it's pretty dumb that there's no graduation between "illegal, but not a felony," and "wholesale felony."
Just this month, I had to turn down a complainant's case of Sexual Assault Of A Child, which the victim's mother had brought to me. It seems that her kid, at 15, was having sex with an actor who was 18. Sexual Assault, right? Well, Texas Penal Code provides an affirmative defense if the actor is not greater than 3 years older than the victim. In this case, the actor was 2 years and 9 months older than the complainant's kid. Had the kid been 4 months younger, then I would have had a third degree felony case to deal with. Just 100 days one way or the other made the difference between a felony and no crime at all in this state. Can't we graduate it a little bit, like Theft and Criminal Mischief?
What bugs me about this is that, should Counselor Gladden's proposed legal change be made, every dadgummed pedophile with a van, a bag of candy, and a map to the parks and elementary school bus routes in the state is going to claim "Hey, I didn't know! She said she was taking classes at State U when I complimented her tricycle and offered her some Jesus Juice!"
*You've got to laugh at the graphic, though. When they mention that the Marine was arrested with the girl in Yuma, AZ, the screen filled with a map showing the location of Yuma. Not that this had any real bearing on the story. They just thought that you might want to know where Yuma was, apparently.