FRANKFORT, KY – An eighth grade boy and his seventh grade girlfriend engaged in voluntary sex at her house in Kentucky. After it was discovered, the boy was arrested and prosecuted. The girl walked free.
State Assistant Attorney General Gregory Fuchs said the boy initiated acts that were “within the parameters of the crime.” The boy pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors for having sex with his girlfriend, as well as exchanging nude photos with her. He will be required to register as a sex offender.
The attorney for the boy, John Wampler, argued that voluntary sex between children should not be prosecuted as criminal. The boy was apparently too young to consent to sex, with the minimum age of consent in Kentucky set at 16, but he was prosecuted anyway.
“This case matters to any parent who has a teenage child, or will have a teenage child,” B.H.’s lawyer, assistant public advocate John Wampler, said in an interview. “The simple fact is that unfortunately, many young teens under 16 are having sex with each other and engaging in sexting.
“If the Commonwealth’s position is held to be correct, then approximately one third of all teenagers, according to recent statistics, could be charged with a felony sex offense,” Wampler said. “That should strike fear in the hearts of every parent who has bought their child a smartphone.”
Recalling the infamous example of U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, Wampler argues that prosecuting B.H. for sexting — while adults would go unpunished for the same conduct — is also unfair. “While the former congressman’s sexting did unquestionable damage to his political career (and presumably, to his marriage as well), he did not find himself in jail over his actions.”
Neither Wampler nor the youth law centers say that underage youths like B.H. and C.W. should have “carte blanche to engage in gratuitous sex without culpability,” as Wampler put it.
Instead, the lawyers say both could have been referred as status offenders for counseling and ordered to take classes on sexual boundaries and appropriate interactions with their peers.19 comments