Thursday, July 26, 2007

Felony Butt Slapping?

How many stories have been posted here about sex offenders going free or receiving a baby slap on the wrist? How many children have had to endure the pain of testifying only to have their abuser go free? How many children have been abused by a repeat offender that some lenient (read: liberal) judge set free on society? These stories keep me awake at night (I wonder if those judges are sleeping soundly?).

Maybe that's the reason this story makes me so angry:

"The two boys tore down the hall of Patton Middle School after lunch, swatting the bottoms of girls as they ran -- what some kids later said was a common form of greeting.

But bottom-slapping is against policy in McMinnville Public Schools. So a teacher's aide sent the gawky seventh-graders to the office, where the vice principal and a police officer stationed at the school soon interrogated them.

After hours of interviews with students the day of the February incident, the officer read the boys their Miranda rights and hauled them off in handcuffs to juvenile jail, where they spent the next five days.

Now, Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, face the prospect of 10 years in juvenile detention and a lifetime on the sex offender registry in a case that poses a fundamental question: When is horseplay a crime?

Bradley Berry, the McMinnville district attorney, said his office "aggressively" pursues sex crimes that involve children. "These cases are devastating to children," he said. "They are life-altering cases."

Two of the girls identified as victims have recanted, saying they felt pressured and gave false statements to interrogators.

The documents also show that the boys face 10 misdemeanor charges -- five sex abuse counts, five harassment counts -- reduced from initial charges of felony sex abuse. The boys are scheduled to go on trial Aug. 20." (Read the entire story)

Now these boys could have to register as sex offenders for the rest of their life. I realize I ask this at least once a week, but what is wrong with our legal system? Are they going to arrest the soccer team if they slap each other's butts?

No, I don't think boys should be slapping girl's butts in the hallway...but to say that is the action of a "sex offender"? Way to belittle those that have actually been abused.

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