Hopefully, this report will answer many of the recent questions and comments that have surfaced from some of my recent articles.
First and foremost, there is no such thing as a ‘Double Standard’ when it comes to victims. A criminal, as well as a victim, can be anyone. The basic description of a criminal is: All Walks of Life. The basic description of a victim is: All Walks of Life.
The age of consent is the age at or above which an idividual is considered to have the legal capacity to consent to sexual relations. Both individuals must be of legal age to give consent. Thus, anyone below the age of consent CANNOT, by law, give consent, and sexual relations involving such persons may be punished by criminal sanctions similar to those for rape or sexual assault by adults of adults. Non-violent sexual contact with anyone under the age of consent may be punished as “statutory rape” or “date rape.” So, let me reiterate this little known fact, a child; male or female, CANNOT consent to any sexual relations with any adults. With that said, any adult; especially a person of authority (i.e.: teachers, religious figures, coaches, counselors, etc.), must RESIST any and all temptations. It does not matter who initiated the relations, in the eyes of the legal system, the adult is the predator and the child/teenager is the victim.
Under Chapter 117, 18 U.S.C. 2422(b); it forbids the use of the United States Postal Service or other interstate or foreign means of communication, such as telephone calls or use of the internet [in all its forms: cell phones, smart phone, palm pilots, videogame systems, IM, text messages] to persuade or entice a minor to be involved in a criminal sexual act. The act has to be illegal under state or federal law to be charged with a crime under 2422(b), and can even be applied to situations where both parties reside within the same state but use an instant messenger program whose servers are located in another state.
Each US state has its own age of consent. Currently state laws set the age of consent at 16, 17 or 18. The most common age is 16.
The following state’s Age of Consent is 16: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia
The following state’s Age of Consent is 17: Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Texas
The followng state’s Age of Consent is 18: Arizona, California, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, North Dakota, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming.
……………………………………….. Age — Of — Consent — Statues ………………………………………
The age of consent in Missouri is 17. Statutory rape and sodomy, RSMo §§ 566.032 and 566.062 involve a child less than 14 years of age. Statutory rape and sodomy in the second degree, RSMo §§ 566.034 and 566.064 involve a child less than 17 years of age and an accused who is 21 years of age or older. The crime of Child molestation in the second degree, RSMo § 566.068 , occurs when a child less than 17 years of age is subject to “sexual contact”.
- Statutory rape, second degree, penalty. 566.034. 1. A person commits the crime of statutory rape in the second degree if being twenty-one years of age or older, he has sexual intercourse with another person who is less than seventeen years of age.
- Statutory sodomy, second degree, penalty. 566.064. 1. A person commits the crime of statutory sodomy in the second degree if being twenty-one years of age or older, he has deviate sexual intercourse with another person who is less than seventeen years of age.
- Child molestation, second degree, penalties. 566.068. 1. A person commits the crime of child molestation in the second degree if he or she subjects another person who is less than seventeen years of age to sexual contact.
The age of consent in Illinois is 17. It is also illegal for a person to commit sexual acts on a person under the age of 18 if he/she has a position of authority or trust over the victim.
- (720 ILCS 5/12-15) Sec. 12-15. Criminal sexual abuse. …(c) The accused commits criminal sexual abuse if he or she commits an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a victim who was at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age and the accused was less than 5 years older than the victim.
- Sec. 12-16. Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse. …(d) The accused commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse if he or she commits an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a victim who was at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age and the accused was at least 5 years older than the victim.
** Note, these laws are not green lights for predators to circumvent minimum age requirements necessary for one to give consent. Thus, when it comes to positions of authority, such as a teacher and a student, then personal values, morals, and ethics come in to play, as well as the fact that this would be an abuse of power and influences. **
Values are the rules by which we make decisions about right and wrong, should and shouldn’t, good and bad. They also tell us which are more or less important, which is useful when we have to trade off meeting one value over another.
Morals have a greater social element to values and tend to have a very broad acceptance. Morals are far more about good and bad than other values. Society as a whole, tends to judge others more strongly on morals than values. A person can be described as immoral, yet there is no word for them, to describe when they do not follow values.
You can have professional ethics, but you seldom hear about professional morals. Ethics tend to be branded into a formal system or set of rules which are explicitly adopted by a group of people or social norm. Ethics are thus internally defined and adopted, whilst morals tend to be externally imposed on other people. If you accuse someone of being unethical, it is equivalent of calling them unprofessional and may well be taken as a significant insult and perceived more personally than if you called them immoral.
Social norms on the other hand, are the behavioral expectations and cues within a society or group. This sociological term has been defined as the rules that a group uses for appropriate and inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors. These rules may be explicit or implicit. Failure to follow the rules can result in severe punishments, including exclusion from the group
According to the Association of American Educators:
This Code of Ethics for Educators was developed by the distinguished AAE Advisory Board and by the Executive Committee of AAE. It contains 4-basic principles relating to the rights of students and educators.
- PRINCIPLE I: Ethical Conduct toward Students
- PRINCIPLE II: Ethical Conduct toward Practices and Performance
- PRINCIPLE III: Ethical Conduct toward Professional Colleagues
- PRINCIPLE IV: Ethical Conduct toward Parents and Community
PRINCIPLE I: Ethical Conduct toward Students
The professional educator accepts personal responsibility for teaching students character qualities that will help them evaluate the consequences of and accept the responsibility for their actions and choices. We strongly affirm parents as the primary moral educators of their children. The professional educator, accepts his or her position, as a person of public trust:
- The professional educator deals considerately and justly with each student, and seeks to resolve problems, including discipline, according to law and school policy.
- The professional educator does not intentionally expose the student to disparagement.
- The professional educator makes a constructive effort to protect the student from conditions detrimental to learning, health, or safety.
- The professional educator endeavors to present facts without distortion, bias, or personal prejudice.
** This is not limited to QUID PRO QUO; which refers to ‘what for what’ or ‘something for something.’ This form of harassment, at the education levelm occurs when academic decisions or expectations such as grades, recommendations, assistance with school work, etc., are based on a student’s submission to or rejection of sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other behavior of a sexual nature.
PRINCIPLE II: Ethical Conduct toward Practices and Performance
The professional educator assumes responsibility and accountability for his or her performance and continually strives to demonstrate competence. The professional educator endeavors to maintain the dignity of the profession by respecting and obeying the law, and by demonstrating personal integrity.
- The professional educator applies for, accepts, or assigns a position or a responsibility on the basis of professional qualifications, and adheres to the terms of a contract or appointment.
- The professional educator maintains sound mental health, physical stamina, and social prudence necessary to perform the duties of any professional assignment.
- The professional educator complies with written local school policies and applicable laws and regulations that are not in conflict with this code of ethics.
- The professional educator does not intentionally misrepresent official policies of the school or educational organizations, and clearly distinguishes those views from his or her own personal opinions.
- The professional educator does not use institutional or professional privileges for personal or partisan advantage.
PRINCIPLE III: Ethical Conduct toward Professional Colleagues
The professional educator, in exemplifying ethical relations with colleagues, accords just and equitable treatment to all members of the profession. The professional educator does not interfere with a colleague’s freedom of choice, and works to eliminate coercion that forces educators to support actions and ideologies that violate individual professional integrity
PRINCIPLE IV: Ethical Conduct toward Parents and Community
The professional educator pledges to protect public sovereignty over public education and private control of private education. The professional educator recognizes that quality education is the common goal of the public, boards of education, and educators, and that a cooperative effort is essential among these groups to attain that goal.
- The professional educator makes concerted efforts to communicate to parents all information that should be revealed in the interest of the student. [With that said, it is never in the student’s best interest to tempt fate with unrealistic romances between educator and student].
- The professional educator endeavors to understand and respect the values and traditions of the diverse cultures represented in the community and in his or her classroom.
- The professional educator manifests a positive and active role WITHIN A NON-SEXUAL CAPACITY in school/community relations.
Now, as to the comments made by ‘those people’ who sound as if they may be teachers, or simply older adults who have become fixated on younger adults, or ‘children’ as I like to refer to them as; NO, they are not developing faster or appear more mature than when ‘those people’ were their age. Legally, anyone who believes that children can sexually entice a person of authority such as teachers, needs to take a sabbatical from their life and likely seek counseling. The fact remains, that regardless whether a student has a crush on a teacher or attempts to take it to the next level by flirting or engaging in elicit activities; the buck stops there … with regards to the teacher! The very moment that the teacher gives into the temptation, is the moment that they become a sexual predator and the child becomes the victim – even, if the child is the one who made initial contact. If you are a teacher, who has a student that you believe is flirting with you,or engaging in appropriate behavior, then I suggest that you speak to the school principle or an administrator, and/or Human Resources, so that there is a record of the activity. The next step is where the role of the teacher and student come into play: TEACH. Teach the student that this type of behavior is unacceptable. I recommend that you have another teacher/principle there as a witness during the conversation. But, at no time, should a teacher give into temptation because this is morally unacceptable by society’s standards.
- Sexual Assault – a term defining offenses in which an adult touches a minor for the purpose of sexual gratification; for example, rape (including sodomy), and sexual penetration with an object. Most U.S. states include, in their definitions of sexual assault, any penetrative contact of a Minor’s body, however slight, if the contact is performed for the purpose of sexual gratification.
- Sexual Exploitation – a term defining offenses in which an adult victimizes a minor for advancement, sexual gratification, or profit; for example, prostituting a child, and creating or trafficking in child pornography.
- Sexual Grooming – defines the social conduct of a potential child sex offender who seeks to make a minor more accepting of their advances, for example in an online chat room.
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure of the genitals to a child, displaying pornography to a child, actual sexual contact against a child, physical contact with the child’s genitals, viewing of the child’s genitalia without physical contact, or using a child to produce child pornography, which is not limited to Sexting. Anyone who takes advantage of a person’s inability to consent has commited at the very least a sexual assault under appicable law. When children are involved, they do not have the ability to consent to anyone, anytime, and anywhere that involves sexual relations with adults. In other words, if a child has to ask their parent’s permission to go to the mall, the movies, join a school sport, sign a permission form for a school event, stay over at a friend’s house, or even to consent to a medical procedure for the well-being of their child; then what makes someone think that this same child would not need their parent’s permission to engage in something that could ultimately change the child’s natural development? If you have to ask…..
Parents, for the most part, do not wish for their children to grow up too fast, because they want them to be kids first; but when someone else comes along and attempts to influence a detour in life, the child may find out later that they wished they stayed on the path that their parents had chosen for them. Generally speaking, parents want their children to grow up healthy with long term goals in their future, but with a sexual predator – yes, a person of authority who takes advantage of someone who they have power over, they are indeed a sexual predator; then chances are that the child represents a short term goal for the predator. What happens when the child ages, and they continue to bask in the glory of a what they believe to be a romantic relationship? The typical profile of a pedophile suggests that they will likely turn their backs on the child after a coupe of years because too them, the child is now too old; even tough, they are still a child in the eyes of the law. The predator will soon become fixated on another child, and their last ‘relationship’ will be nothing but a means to an end, leaving many child-victims in their path.
Child sexual abuse can result in both short-term and long-term harm, including psychopathology in later life. Psychological, emotional, physical, and social effects include depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, eating disorders, poor self-esteem, dissociative and anxiety disorders; general psychological distress problems; and behavior problems that may include substance abuse, self-destructive behavior, animal cruelty, crime in adulthood and suicide. Long term negative effects on development leading to repeated or additional victimization in adulthood are also associated with child sexual abuse.
So, while I welcome everyone’s opinions; however, if you are an individual who believes that children (grades K-12) are old enough to give consent to sexual relations and/or are able to seduce adults, then I would strongly recommend that you choose your words carefully when stating comments on any online blog or advice column, so that you do not find yourself as a personal of interest with Law Enforcement. The bottom line is that someonewe needs to be a voice for those who cannot fight for themselves, which in this case, are the children.