Yesterday I read an article about an underage girl, Alisha Dean who, at 13 years of age, decided to trawl the internet for some men with which to “get her groove on”, using a myspace page that depicted her as a 19 year old divorcee. The end result? Two men in jail for statutory rape.
Williams, 22, went to see Alisha Dean’s father, Jerry Dean, after several dates with Alisha. Alisha had told Morris Williams she was 18. Her Myspace (now edited and private) said she was 19 and divorced. But after having sex with Alisha, Williams got worried. Things she said and did tipped him off, and he went to see Jerry Dean, who told Williams that yeah, his daughter was only 13. Then Jerry Dean called the police to press charges. – [The Dreamin' Demon]
The saddest part of all of this, in my mind, is that the latest victim of Alishas lies and deception, Morris Williams, tried to do the right thing when he discovered that she was underage. He went straight to her parents. Specifically, her father . Who promptly had him put in jail.
I looked at the various pictures floating around on the internet, (There is one on the site linked to below) and quite surprisingly, Alisha does not look like a 13 year old. And her (now corrected and private) myspace page, certainly comes across as a young (but legal) divorcee looking for a distraction. I bring this up because I asked the same question many others will ask: “Well how do you confuse a 13 year old with a 19 year old?” Well, call me gullible, but if you asked me how old Alisha was, based on her pic and her MySpace page, 13 would be somewhere out in left field…
Here’s what I think. Statutory rape laws exist for a good reason. Young men and women are more likely to have poor judgment, and are easier to take advantage of than adults. These laws are intended to protect them from themselves. However, I also think that, as with any law, there are always exceptions. To write laws in such a way that they deny that possibility, paves the way for frequent gross miscarriages of justice.
And in this case, there are a lot of things wrong with the way it’s written. In particular, they overlook several rather glaring problems. Like, for instance, legal adulthood does not automatically make a young adult wiser, smarter or any less prone to deception. The transition from 17 to 18 years of age, by itself, does little in the way of added life experiences.
And also, and more importantly, the fact remains that even older, more experienced people are not immune to deception and lies, and may end up in violation of these laws with no knowledge or intent to do so. And In my opinion, any law that can be accidentally broken by someone who had absolutely no intention of doing so, and had no way of avoiding the violation without employing unusual or unreasonable means (eg “card” every date), is a bad law.
But even more unfortunate, is that there is an rather serious side effect to laws that are written this way. They are very easy to abuse. They make the presumption that youth is an acceptable excuse for bad behavior. Newsflash people! IT IS NOT. Only in the mind of a parent who has failed to properly discipline and raise their kids does this make any kind of sense. But this allows underage people to act in a socially unacceptable manner with relative impunity. This, I beleive is perhaps the biggest flaw with this law.
But perhaps my biggest issue with this case in particular, is that Alishas parents, and her father in particular, have failed to acknowledge the error of their daughters ways. And, more to the point, he has not appeared to have taken ownership of the fact that he has a loose, mature looking daughter seducing men into underage sex. How can you have this happen twice, and yet still jump wholeheartedly onto the “He should go to jail for sleeping with my underage daughter” bandwagon? Wouldn’t a responsible parent be asking “What is wrong with this picture?”
At what point, seeing the great lengths that your daughter has gone to engage in an illegal activity, do you, as a parent, step in, and try to steer your child right? When she starts asking about the Kama Sutra? When she starts asking if the spare bedroom could be converted to a nursery? During the baby shower? When?
Having no insight into the Dean household I can only speculate, but the fact that Alisha’s Myspace page apparently seems to remain up, and Alisha has not been grounded, with no cell phone, no TV, no BlockBuster, and and no internet, for life, personally, I think Alishas parents need to be in the jail cell next to Morris Williams…
Alisha Dean Doesn’t Look – Or Act – 13 – [The Dreamin' Demon]