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Under 15 Will Get You 16

by on June 2, 2010

Mom and Dad have gone to sleep and 17-year-old Bobby is making out on the couch with his 15-year-old girlfriend, Susie. First base leads to second and then, around the corner, it’s a home run.

Let’s say Dad can’t sleep so he stumbles downstairs to read the newspaper and finds his little girl naked on the couch. He’s furious. He’s protective. He’s worse than a bear protecting its cubs. He calls the cops. He calls a lawyer. And suddenly, Bobby’s parents are fielding a statutory rape charge that could land an innocent, albeit horny, teenager in jail for 15 years and with a permanent label of sex offender?

I’m not joking.

While we all have opinions about whether kids should be sexually active, here’s the stunning truth: in the state of Michigan, NO ONE under the age of 16 can have sexual contact with anyone, even a boyfriend or girlfriend a grade or two older! It is ILLEGAL.

Classified as Criminal Sexual Conduct, it’s a whopping 15-year felony with a forceable sex-offender registry for up to 25 years if the judge is feeling frisky.

And yes, that’s even in the very real and very common situation that both kids agreed to have sex. No drugs or alcohol involved. No coercion.

Yes I know you might think it’s CRAZY. Remember, every prosecuting attorney’s office has a different policy for prosecuting these types of cases. Some prosecute only when there is a 3-year or greater age difference between the kids (a good reason to bar your 18-year-old from hitting on a comely freshman!).

Some prosecutors are more stringent and prosecute at their whim. Many times it depends on how much the parents push. (Like they didn’t know it was going on anyway!)

The best we can do is educate our kids, and other parents, on the law. You make the laws in your own house regarding underage sex – enforce them.

The purpose of the legal system in a state is to govern its citizens and set standards for behavior. We should all be doing this on a smaller scale in our own families and homes. No second chances, no exceptions.

Talk with your kids and let them know that underage sex, even touching, can have a stiff penalty. And not just being grounded or losing a cell phone for a few weeks. It could mean their life.

Listen to Scott Weinberg’s interview with Judge Lora Weingarden!

— written by Scott Weinberg and Lynne Schreiber

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