March 12, 2004, on this blog: Statutory
I am not suggesting that the crime of which the teens in the second story are accused is not brutal and horrifying. And I certainly am not suggesting that the coach’s alleged behavior in the first story is defensible. I’m simply pointing out that here we have two adjacent stories in the paper that offer precisely contradictory notions of the meaning of adulthood and childhood.
There is no way to reconcile the views of these two stories. If one finds the coach’s behavior unjustified, then one cannot approve of the prosecutor’s behavior. Their logic is precisely the same.
I have never understood the basis for the magical assertion that allows prosecutors routinely to pretend that some children are not children and therefore to “try them as adults.”
What would happen if one of these tough-talking statutory rapist prosecutors decided it was time to “get tough” on underage drinking. It’s no use threatening these teenage tipplers with juvenile detention, he would say, that’s too “soft.” We need to “get serious” and try them as adults. But of course trying them as adults, in that case, would mean they were no longer guilty of underage drinking.