December 11, 2006
Kids and sex part two: a thirteen-year-old in Utah
I’m not even sure what to say about this one, except that you’d think getting pregnant at 13 would be punishment enough…
Utah Supreme Court justices acknowledged Tuesday that they were struggling to wrap their minds around the concept that a 13-year-old Ogden girl could be both an offender and a victim for the same act – in this case, having consensual sex with her 12-year-old boyfriend.The girl was put in this odd position because she was found guilty of violating a state law that prohibits sex with someone under age 14. She also was the victim in the case against her boyfriend, who was found guilty of the same violation by engaging in sexual activity with her. …
The comments came in oral arguments on a motion asking the high court to overturn the finding of delinquency – the legal term in juvenile court for a conviction – against Z.C., who became pregnant after she and her boyfriend engaged in sex in October 2003.
State authorities filed delinquency petitions in July 2004, alleging that each had committed sexual abuse of a child, a second-degree felony if committed by an
The girl appealed the petition, saying her constitutional right to be treated equally under the law had been violated.
Her motion noted that for juveniles who are 16 and 17, having sex with others in their own age group does not qualify as a crime. Juveniles who are 14 or 15 and have sex with peers can be charged with unlawful conduct with a minor, but the law provides for mitigation when the age difference is less than four years, making the offense a misdemeanor.
For adolescents under 14, though, there are no exceptions or mitigation and they are never considered capable of consenting to sex. …
Randall Richards, the girl’s attorney, argued that prosecuting children under a law meant to protect them is illogical.
Okay, I do have a couple of other thoughts: first, the idea of being thirteen and having sex with a twelve-year-old gives me the heebie-jeebies (and yes, that’s the technical term, thankyouverymuch). I know some of my peers and even friends were having sex that young, but… eew. Second, I wonder what kind of sex education these children received, if any? Finally, what possible purpose can prosecuting these children–adolescents now, I suppose–serve? It’s not going to prevent other adolescents from having sex with one another. I doubt it’s going to prevent Z.C. from having sex with an adolescent again, because, as I mentioned before, if anything were going to do that, it would be the fact that she got pregnant at 13. I agree whole-heartedly with Richards’s Spock-like statement: this makes no sense.