The Criminalization of Teen Sex
Derek “The Fallen One” Logue
August 29, 2008, Update March 18, 2010

In Iowa, a sixteen-year-old boy meets another teen and they date and have sex; turns out the girl was only 13, and
the teen finds himself on a sex offender registry [1]. In Oregon, two thirteen year old boys faced 10 years and life on
the sex offender registry for participating in “slap butt day,” a common form of horseplay at the school; the district
had prosecuted other children for sexual harassment in similar cases [2]. In Florida, two teens were convicted of
child porn for taking racy pictures of themselves [3]. The Utah Supreme Court recently ruled on a case in which a
13 year old girl was charged as both victim of a sex crime and a perpetrator for having consensual sex with her 12-
year-old boyfriend [4]. These cases are merely the tip of the ice burg in a society obsessed with punishing sex
offenders.
The criminalization of teenage sexual behavior has become a disturbing trend in our predator panicked society. We
are simultaneously obsessed with sex and horrified by sex; our laws reflect this panic. For example, we allow 12-
year-olds to obtain birth control and abortions, but they cannot consent to sex [5]. Criminalizing teen sex is part of
the “look tough on crime” stance which is popular in today’s society, yet few people are educating the public about
the real possibility of teens landing on sex offender registries for irresponsible sexual behavior [6]. Legislators in
Georgia failed to pass a bill mandating schools teach the legal consequences of teen sex, though it later passed a
“watered-down” version of the bill [7]. This mentality has led to disastrous consequences, destroying the lives of
many teenagers by placing them on sex offender registries for life!
The possibility of teens landing on the registry is very real, as teens are having sex without knowledge of the
consequences. The Center for Disease Control found in one biannual survey of ninth to twelfth graders that 45.3%
of teen girls and 48% of teen boys have had sex. Furthermore, 4.2% of females and 10.4% of males had sex before
age 13, and 11.2% of females and 17.5% of males had four or more sex partners [8]. A 2002 National Survey of
Family Growth found that of the teens age 15 to 19 who have never had sexual intercourse, 24% of males and 22%
of females engaged in oral sex [9]. In short, more than half of teens have experienced sexual contact of some kind.
This does not even include actions such as taking naughty photos, butt slapping, or even some innocent actions
misinterpreted as sexually motivated conduct.
If you think your child is immune, think again. Children as young as pre-school students have faced severe
penalties for “inappropriate sexual behaviors.” The Virginia Department of Education reported in 2007, 255
elementary students were suspended for offensive sexual touching; the Maryland Department of Education
reported 166 elementary students were suspended for sexual harassment. These suspensions add a permanent
mark on the child’s school records [10]. The AP recently noted from 1993 to 2004, adult sex crimes decreased by
56% but juvenile crimes increased 40% by the same period [11]. However, what percentage of these cases involves
forcible rape or child molestation as opposed to consensual sexual activity with peers?
In our quest to prevent sexual violence, we are willing to place marks of infamy on children as young as four in the
name of public safety, proclaiming the ironic mantra, “If it saves just one child, then the law is worth it.” Tell me, are
we willing to destroy the lives of many children to save “just one child?”

Resources

  1. www.rickyslife.com
  2. Susan Goldsmith. “Unruly schoolboys or sex offenders?” The Oregonian, July 2, 2007.
  3. Declan McCullagh. “Police blotter: Teens prosecuted for racy photos.” CNET News, Feb. 9, 2007. http://news.
    cnet.com/Police-blotter-Teens-prosecuted-for-racy-photos/2100-1030_3-6157857.html?tag=newsmap
  4. Pamela Mason. “Girl, 13, charged as sex offender and victim.” Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 26, 2006, http://www.
    denverpost.com/ci_4783650
  5. Niki Delson. “Age of Consent – Criminalizing Teen Sex.” American Chronicle, May 31, 2007. http://www.
    americanchronicle.com/articles/28524
  6. Shannon McCaffrey. “Many teens don’t know the law about sex.” USA Today, Oct. 29, 2007. http://www.
    usatoday.com/news/nation/2007-10-29-306192904_x.htm
  7. Shannon McCaffrey. “Critics say teens need education on sex laws.” Savannah Morning News, Aug. 18,
    2007, http://savannahnow.com/node/345973
  8. Center for Disease Control. “Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance System.” 2003, http://www.cdc.
    gov/mmwr/PDF/SS/SS5302.pdf
  9. “Oral sex.” Child Trends Data Bank, 2003, http://www.childtrendsdatabank.org/indicators/95OralSex.cfm
  10. Brigid Schuldte. “For Little Children, Grown-up Labels as Sexual Harassers.” Washington Post, April 3, 2008.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/04/02/ST2008040203589.html?hpid=topnews
  11. John “Jack” Tefler. “Obsession With Sex, Violence Impacting Our Kids.” Midland Daily News, July 1, 2007

A Collection of similar stories, collected by "Sex Offender Issues," can be found here:

http://
delicious.com/SOIssues/offenderchild

Other stories:

http://www.love-is-not-a-crime.com/ -- A new site dedicated to removing Romeo and Juliet offenses from the sex
offender registries!

http://
abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=5373858&page=1 – Georgia, 17 year old girl on registry for oral sex with
15 year old

http://
womensissues.about.com/od/datingandsex/a/Romeo_and_Julie.htm -- Teen Sex laws, gay bias, and motivated
by angry parents

http://
www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=10972703 – The Genarlow Wilson case


www.kxan.com/dpp/news/crime/Texas_teenage_sex_laws_under_fire -- Texas Justice; American citizen born in
Mexico facing deportation for consensual sex with another teen

http://
www.abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=6029237&page=1 : Here is a news report regarding teens who send
nude pictures of themselves to their dates being arrested for dissemination of "child porn"

http://
query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9B04E1DA1531F935A25755C0A9679C8B63 - "Prosecutors and
public defenders estimate that 10 percent to 25 percent of the [New Jersey] offenders are under 18, with many
fewer under 14 and only a handful as young as 10."

STUDY OF TEENS AND "SEXTING" Dec. 2008

http://www.thenationalcampaign.org/sextech/PDF/SexTech_Summary.pdf -- Survey of Teens and Sexting released
by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unwanted Pregnancy and Cosmo Girl Magazine. A few of the Key
Findings:

How many teens say they have sent/posted nude or seminude pictures or video of themselves?

- 20% of teens overall
- 22% of teen girls
- 18% of teen boys
- 11% of young teen girls (ages 13-16)

How many teens are sending or posting sexually suggestive messages?
- 39% of all teens
- 37% of teen girls
- 40% of teen boys
- 48% of teens say they have received such messages

Although most teens and young adults who send sexually suggestive content are sending it to boyfriends /
girlfriends, others say they are sending such material to those they want to hook up with or to someone they only
know online.

Who are these sexually suggestive messages and images being sent to?

- 71% of teen girls and 67% of teen guys who have sent or posted sexually suggestive content say they have
sent/posted this content to a boyfriend/girlfriend.

- 21% of teen girls and 39% of teen boys say they have sent such content to someone they wanted to date or hook
up with.

- 15% of teens who have sent or posted nude/seminude images of themselves say they have done so to someone
they only knew online.

- 83% of young adult women and 75% of young adult men who have sent sexually suggestive content say they have
sent/posted such material to a boyfriend/ girlfriend.

- 21% of young adult women and 30% of young adult men who have sent/posted sexually suggestive content have
done so to someone they wanted to date or hook up with.

- 15% of young adult women and 23% of young adult men who have sent sexually suggestive material say they
have done so to someone they only knew online.

ADDENDUMS

The Adam Walsh Act allows people as young as 14 on the National Sex Offender Registry; however, the Act creates
a “Romeo and Juliet” clause which excludes teens from the registry for consensual sexual acts with individuals within
4 years of age of themselves. Not coincidently, states that have passed the Walsh Act have failed to implement this
aspect of the law.



DALLAS MORNING NEWS LIST OF OVER 4,000 TEXAS REGISTRANTS PLACED ON THE REGISTRY AS
JUVENILES, SOME AS YOUNG AS AGE 10!
http://www.dallasnews.com/database/2009/sexoffenders.html

ADDENDUM March 18, 2010

First US Court case to strike down prosecution threats over sexting laws. More specifically, the court ruled it is the
discretion of the parents, not the courts, to educate teens involved in sexting incidents, and prosecutors cannot
force sexting teens to take education classes under pain of felony charges.
Miller v. Mitchell, No. 09-2144 [3rd Cir. 2010]
http://www.ca3.uscourts.gov/opinarch/092144p.pdf
Note: Please check out these related sites--

NEW! 5/1/13 -- Human Rights Watch Report released on Teens on the registry
Raised on the Registry: The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the US
(c) 2007-2012 Derek W. Logue. No part of this website may be used in any way without expressed written consent of the site owner.
ABC News Story on the Consequences of Sexting
Round Table Discussion of a 10 year old kid on the public sex offender registry. Notice WHEN the audience
claps. And listen to the logic of the incompetent Erin Brockovich. This is disturbing, to say the least.