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Proper punishment for sex offenders

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 thenelli01
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Two topics:

1) is it moral to have a sex offender list where it puts their name, address, picture, etc. online? If it is moral - what is the correct definition for sex offender? i.e. should it include those who do not commit a violent crime such as look at child pornography? What about those who are charged w public indecency - streaking, peeing in public,? Age related such as 20 year old w 16 year old?

2) is Chris Hanson's show where he exposes sexual predators on national tv moral? For those of you who aren't familiar - he pretends to be a young girl in a chat room, invites them over the house, sets them up and has them arrested. Should the producers be considerate of the families of the predators? Is it fair?

Edited by Matt Giannelli
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Two topics:

1) is it moral to have a sex offender list where it puts their name, address, picture, etc. online? If it is moral - what is the correct definition for sex offender? i.e. should it include those who do not commit a violent crime such as look at child pornography? What about those who are charged w public indecency - streaking, peeing in public,? Age related such as 20 year old w 16 year old?

I have a few issues:

Purchasing, trading or in any way using child pornography makes one an accomplice to the crime (which is a violent act). Also, "age difference" should be irrelevant. If it's rape for a 60 yo. to have sex with a 16 yo., then it's also rape for a 20 yo. to do it. And, as far as public urination, streaking, etc. I think the notion that people arrested for that kind of stuff have the same status as sexual predators is a myth.

But I agree that some US sex laws are irrational.

In Japan, for instance, federal laws only classify sex with a minor under 13 as rape. Consensual sex with anyone between 13 and 18 is still illegal, but it is not classified as rape, instead it is handled on a local level (as are all less serious crimes) and punished with a maximum of two years. That is definitely a more reasonable approach.

2) is Chris Hanson's show where he exposes sexual predators on national tv moral? For those of you who aren't familiar - he pretends to be a young girl in a chat room, invites them over the house, sets them up and has them arrested. Should the producers be considerate of the families of the predators? Is it fair?

The thing about the truth: it's always fair, and saying the truth is always an act of justice. If all this show did was to accurately portray the events, as they happened, then it was both moral and fair.

However, it is my understanding that they were also helping law enforcement, not just exposing people's actions to viewers. In that case, what they did is only moral if the laws they were helping to enforce are moral. I don't know enough about the specifics to say. -

Edited by Nicky
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I have a few issues:

Purchasing, trading or in any way using child pornography makes one an accomplice to the crime (which is a violent act). Also, "age difference" should be irrelevant. If it's rape for a 60 yo. to have sex with a 16 yo., then it's also rape for a 20 yo. to do it. And, as far as public urination, streaking, etc. I think the notion that people arrested for that kind of stuff have the same status as sexual predators is a myth.

But I agree that some US sex laws are irrational.

In Japan, for instance, federal laws only classify sex with a minor under 13 as rape. Consensual sex with anyone between 13 and 18 is still illegal, but it is not classified as rape, instead it is handled on a local level (as are all less serious crimes) and punished with a maximum of two years. That is definitely a more reasonable approach.

The thing about the truth: it's always fair, and saying the truth is always an act of justice. If all this show did was to accurately portray the events, as they happened, then it was both moral and fair.

However, it is my understanding that they were also helping law enforcement, not just exposing people's actions to viewers. In that case, what they did is only moral if the laws they were helping to enforce are moral. I don't know enough about the specifics to say. -

So is creating profiles online of sex offenders moral?

Am I an accomplice, thus participating in a violent act, if I watch an assault video on YouTube and send it to my friend?

And is saying the truth *always* an act of justice? What if I promised I wouldn't tell something that my friend told me, and did anyways.

Edited by Matt Giannelli
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So is creating profiles online of sex offenders moral?

Yes, it is.

Am I an accomplice, thus participating in a violent act, if I watch an assault video on YouTube and send it to my friend?

No, because assault video making is not an industry aimed at filling a demand you are creating. Child porn is. You're not causing the assault by watching the videos, but child porn clients are causing the sexual abuse of children.

And is saying the truth *always* an act of justice?

Yes.

What if I promised I wouldn't tell something that my friend told me, and did anyways.

Then you would be lying to your friend.

Edited by Nicky
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Also, "age difference" should be irrelevant. If it's rape for a 60 yo. to have sex with a 16 yo., then it's also rape for a 20 yo. to do it.

I don't know. Take this scenario: 18 yr old dating a 17 yr old -> parents catch them in the act -> 18 yr old is charged with statutory rape -> 18 yr old is listed as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

18 yr old has to register as a sex offender online, tell his landlord and employer he's a sex offender, move if he's within X feet of a church or school or bus stop, fill out paperwork with local cops, never step foot in a church again even if he's religious, stay far away from playgrounds, avoid kids in all situations, etc- all the while being labeled a sex offender, the same classification as a kiddie rapist. Is that just?

In Japan, for instance, federal laws only classify sex with a minor under 13 as rape. Consensual sex with anyone between 13 and 18 is still illegal, but it is not classified as rape, instead it is handled on a local level (as are all less serious crimes) and punished with a maximum of two years. That is definitely a more reasonable approach.

At 13 you're just hitting puberty, and still in middle school if you live in the US. 16 seems much more reasonable to me.. but the whole question of 'when are you mature enough to be able to consent?' is something I don't have an answer to. Still, I would say the age difference between participants is important. If the 'rapist' is 60 and has 'consensual sex' with his 13 year old piano student, it's obvious that the 13 year old wasn't mature enough to make that decision and was persuaded to do it. But if both participants are 16, [without knowing any other context], it seems more harmless.

Edited by mdegges
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There should be no penalty under law whatsoever against a young, even very young, person who desires to engage in any sexual activity with any other person who also desires it, no matter the age difference. I think the standard should be desire.

For child porn in particular involving pre-pubescents (pre-desire), the penalty should depend on the activity/non-activity. Simple photographs should not hold the same penalty as a violent sexual act.

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There should be no penalty under law whatsoever against a young, even very young, person who desires to engage in any sexual activity with any other person who also desires it, no matter the age difference. I think the standard should be desire.
What do you mean by "very young" though?

Forget 18; and forget sex. Generally, the principle of law is that there are some early years of life -- from birth to some point -- where a human is too young to give informed consent to a host of things. Do you agree with that in principle? If so, do you object to drawing the line at 18? Or, do you object to having sex as one such act where informed consent may not be presumed? Or some combination?

Edited by softwareNerd
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I don't know. Take this scenario: 18 yr old dating a 17 yr old -> parents catch them in the act -> 18 yr old is charged with statutory rape -> 18 yr old is listed as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

18 yr old has to register as a sex offender online, tell his landlord and employer he's a sex offender, move if he's within X feet of a church or school or bus stop, fill out paperwork with local cops, never step foot in a church again even if he's religious, stay far away from playgrounds, avoid kids in all situations, etc- all the while being labeled a sex offender, the same classification as a kiddie rapist. Is that just?

No, it's not. But not because the guy is 18. A 17 yo. who consented to having sex with someone is either the victim of a sexual assault or she isn't. The age of the "attacker" is irrelevant.

At 13 you're just hitting puberty, and still in middle school if you live in the US. 16 seems much more reasonable to me.. but the whole question of 'when are you mature enough to be able to consent?' is something I don't have an answer to. Still, I would say the age difference between participants is important. If the 'rapist' is 60 and has 'consensual sex' with his 13 year old piano student, it's obvious that the 13 year old wasn't mature enough to make that decision and was persuaded to do it. But if both participants are 16, [without knowing any other context], it seems more harmless.

Your scenario isn't an argument in favor of age difference being considered. A valid scenario would be taking the same exact 13 yo. who was, in your scenario, incapable of consenting to sex with the 60 yo. piano teacher, and having her have sex with an 18 y.

Then, would it be logical to say that the same exact 13 yo. suddenly became more mature because of her partner's age? Obviously not. The 18yo and the 60yo should face the same exact consequences for their wrong action.

Saying that the 18yo shouldn't be treated the same way a rapist or a child predator is, is in fact also an argument for the 60yo not being treated that way.

P.S. I never suggested that having consensual sex with a 13-15 yo. should be legal, only that it shouldn't be classified as sexual assault. A sexual assault presupposes that the victim is forced into sex, against their will. That is indeed true for a child, no matter if he/she agreed to it or not (children don't have any understanding of the implications of consenting to sex, therefor they can't make such a choice).

But it's not true for a teenager. It still is a violation of rights to take advantage of a teenager's immaturity in this way (just as it would be to take advantage of it in other ways, like having them sign a contract without their parents' approval, confess to a crime, etc.) but it does not fit the essential characteristics of a sexual assault to do so. While their understanding of what they're doing is not that of an adult, they do have a level of understanding. If they say yes, that is a meaningful yes, dismissing it and equating it with a "no" would be irrational.

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A 17 yo. who consented to having sex with someone is either the victim of a sexual assault or she isn't.

I see your point and agree, but that's not how it is in most states. A 17 yo isn't legally old enough to consent, so she is seen the victim of statutory rape (whether or not she was actually raped). It's my understanding that her parents can press charges against the 'initiator' whether he's underage or over 18, because they didn't consent to their daughter having sex- and parents speak for minors. But I'll have to look into that to verify it's correct.

A valid scenario would be taking the same exact 13 yo. who was, in your scenario, incapable of consenting to sex with the 60 yo. piano teacher, and having her have sex with an 18 y.

...

But it's not true for a teenager. It still is a violation of rights to take advantage of a teenager's immaturity in this way (just as it would be to take advantage of it in other ways, like having them sign a contract without their parents' approval, confess to a crime, etc.) but it does not fit the essential characteristics of a sexual assault to do so. While their understanding of what they're doing is not that of an adult, they do have a level of understanding. If they say yes, that is a meaningful yes, dismissing it and equating it with a "no" would be irrational.

This hypothetical girl really gets around. But seriously- do you think two years in jail is proper punishment for having consensual sex with a teen, whether the initiator is underage, 18, or 60?

I think 13 is too young to consent, just based on memories of myself and my friends at 13. As an adult you should equate a 'yes' from a 13 yo, however meaningful, with a 'hell no.' They might have a small level of understanding about sex, but certainly not enough to give consent.

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What do you mean by "very young" though?

Forget 18; and forget sex. Generally, the principle of law is that there are some early years of life -- from birth to some point -- where a human is too young to give informed consent to a host of things. Do you agree with that in principle? If so, do you object to drawing the line at 18? Or, do you object to having sex as one such act where informed consent may not be presumed? Or some combination?

Good questions, and here are my tentative answers.

In general, I think it is a good idea to have parents or some such figure deciding certain things for children before they are honestly too young to figure it out for themselves, enough to at minimum survive in the present world on their own. I think it is also good to have laws that make sure the parents stick to their end of this "bargain." It gets muddy in the teen years, where some aged 13 could go on their own just fine where others couldn't at 17. I do think 18 is too old for the law to draw the line -- 17 or 16 (15?) might be a better age to let parents off the hook and hold the teens responsible for themselves. Personally, I could have supported myself completely at age 15, and probably would have been better off for it.

However, I think these laws are more for the parents than for the children/teens. The teens are the ones making the real decisions and setting and re-setting the boundaries on the rapidly changing road to self-sufficiency. It doesn't matter what a parent wants or how they demand their children behave, once a teen can decide for himself, he will decide for himself irrespective of others' wishes.

That said, sex is just another part of life where the teen is calling the shots. If the desire is there and consent is given, what is the objection? If you're 20 or 40, like anything you keep in mind the person you're dealing with. A 13-year-old might have a lot of second-guessing about sex, so be prepared to call everything off. A 26-year-old is also at a different maturity level than a 40-year-old, and he may or may not have the desire and give consent all the same.

I dislike putting sex in this whole separate category. Why is this done? As far as I can tell, it's just a cultural thing based in bad religious ideas toward sex that haven't yet been purged from civilization.

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This hypothetical girl really gets around. But seriously- do you think two years in jail is proper punishment for having consensual sex with a teen, whether the initiator is underage, 18, or 60?

Japan's legal environment is a real life example that I mentioned. I don't necessarily think it's perfect, just better than some of the other ones.

I'm not sure at exactly what age should the line be drawn (as far as statutory rape), but it should be somewhere between 13 and 15. Anything both below and above that is irrational. If I had to stick with a number, it would be 14.

As for the two year penalty, again, that's just one example. In Hong Kong, sex with someone under the age of 13 is life in prison, sex with someone between 13 and 16 is 5 years in prison. That is probably better than Japan's system.

As an adult you should equate a 'yes' from a 13 yo, however meaningful, with a 'hell no.'

Are you being figurative or literal? I agree that an adult should not have sex with a 13yo (or anyone under 18), if that's all you mean. But, taken literally, your statement is clearly self contradictory. A meaningful yes is not a no.

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Are you being figurative or literal? I agree that an adult should not have sex with a 13yo (or anyone under 18), if that's all you mean. But, taken literally, your statement is clearly self contradictory. A meaningful yes is not a no.

Legally and literally, it is a no. 13 yo's are not old enough to give consent. Even if the 13 yo did say 'yes' and had sex with an adult, the adult is solely responsible and will be charged with statutory rape.

If we assume that the adult is being rational, then even if a 13 yo begs him to have sex with her, the adult should say no- given the full context of the situation. It would be irrational to do otherwise.

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...even if a 13 yo begs him to have sex with her, the adult should say no- given the full context of the situation. It would be irrational to do otherwise.

Do you mean this literally or generally? There are some children 13 and younger who could consent to having sex without being delusional and without being worse off for it.
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Do you mean this literally or generally?

I meant that if you're an adult, under current laws (in the US, Japan, and Hong Kong as Nicky mentioned), it would be irrational to have sex with a 13 year old- for purely selfish reasons. The consequences are severe: being listed as a sex offender for the rest of your life, going to jail for a number of years, potentially becoming a mother or father, passing (or getting) an STD, not to mention potentially damaging the child involved, etc. Unless any these options appeal to you, it would be irrational to do it.

There are some children 13 and younger who could consent to having sex without being delusional and without being worse off for it.

I can't say a lot on this due to lack of knowledge, but I'm sure a lot of child psychologists can and have. I've read that girls become 'sexually interested' much later than boys. So in general, I can't imagine why a young girl would want to have sex with anyone, unless she's pressured into it. If she is pressured into it, there's actually a name for that- child sexual abuse. Psychologically, this can really screw you up big time. Generally, having sex at a young age (when you're emotionally unstable, not ready to deal with the potential consequences of your actions, etc.) can really mess you up. Isn't this why age of consent laws were created? To protect children from being taken advantage of, emotionally and physically?

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  • 1 month later...

1.) If one considers that the government is a necessary 'evil', then you shouldn't allow it to make moral decisions, instead think of how said actions harm others.

The reason for AoC and Statutory Rape laws stem from when a young girl's virtue was something that was sold via dowry when she came of age to marry. The law was originally written to pressure the man into wedding the now deflowered daughter.

While it may be wrong for a 25yo to have sex with a 13yo, its also wrong in many ways for a 60yo to have sex with an 18yo. But also note, the law currently expects that at 18 you fully understand sex and are capable of making informed decisions, i.e. it expects that you have broken the law at some point before then (or in some states, had an exemption via Romeo & Juliet laws). If one wanted to push for a clear law that dealt with the harm, in a fair manner one could then try the following:

1.) Sex with a minor that is pre-menarche (or pre-puebescant) would be a violent sex crime. And the perpetrator a Sex Offender.

2.) Sex with a person who has not undergone sexual education, would be Statutory Rape, considering that they in theory cannot give informed consent.

3.) Incest with a minor would be considered a violent sex crime, this is the usual case when you find adults that can't function because their father or uncle raped them.

4.) Sex with a person that is a subordinate, a student, or in some way dependent upon you should be considered Statutory Rape, since they are unable to give unpressured consent.

5.) All other cases of sex with a minor should be considered something like 'Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor'. Since if the kid knows about sex, consents to it, isn't your daughter or a student, then its mostly like getting a kid to smoke a cigarette, risky possibly harmful behavior, but not in the same degree as raping an 8yo.

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I can't "Like" bloodycelt's post for some reason. I can like all the other posts, but his doesn't have a button. Any ideas why?

Do you guys see a like button under his post?

Legally and literally, it is a no.

A meaningful yes literally means no. That's what you're telling me?

Edited by Nicky
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To get back to OPs second question, I think Hansons show was wrong in the sense that they gave an impression of these people being a danger to society - when in reality it was basically just sad individuals with no social abilities and obviously sexually frustrated - now in the real world its very unlikely that any of these guys would convince a fiveteen year old girl to meet them for sex (or any girl for that matter), so when the option is presented there just about desperate enough to jump on board, probably not because there pedophiles but because they havent had sex for like the last ten years (or ever).

Does that make it right? Off course not. But for them to be a threat there would have to be a real chance that fiveteen year old girls actively contact old guys on chatroom trying to get laid - which I have a hard time thinking ever happens.

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There should be no penalty under law whatsoever against a young, even very young, person who desires to engage in any sexual activity with any other person who also desires it, no matter the age difference. I think the standard should be desire.

Desire can never be proven objectively to third parties, which is what is necessary in a courtroom. Desire can never work as a legal standard. Chronological age at least has the advantage that it can be proven, and that is an essential requirement for a legal standard.

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That's exactly right.. when the person saying 'yes' to any type of sexual act is a minor, and the person 'asking' is an adult.

Are you saying that a 19 yo in Japan has no idea what he's saying, and a 19 yo. in France knows exactly what he's saying, because one's a minor the other an adult?

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I phrased it that way because the 'age of consent' in America is almost always the same as the 'age of majority.' So when I say that a minor can't legally give consent, I mean that in regards to the US only. In Japan the 'age of majority' (20) is not the same as the 'age of consent' (13-18).

To reiterate:

If we assume that the adult is being rational, then even if a 13 yo begs him to have sex with her, the adult should say no- given the full context of the situation. It would be irrational to do otherwise.

...under current laws (in the US, Japan, and Hong Kong as Nicky mentioned), it would be irrational to have sex with a 13 year old- for purely selfish reasons. The consequences are severe: being listed as a sex offender for the rest of your life, going to jail for a number of years, potentially becoming a mother or father, passing (or getting) an STD, not to mention potentially damaging the child involved, etc. Unless any these options appeal to you, it would be irrational to do it.

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