In California it is against the criminal law for an adult to have sex with a minor, but the civil law has allowed for the consent of the minor. Therefore, it was simultaneously lawful and unlawful for a 28 year old male Middle School math teacher to have sex with a fourteen year old female student.
According to the lawyer hired to protect the school teacher, Keith Wyatt (and also to protect the Los Angeles Unified School District itself), the girl knew what she was getting into, and so the teacher is not to blame. As Wyatt stated afterward, “She lied to her mother so she could have sex with her teacher….She went to a motel in which she engaged in voluntary consensual sex with her teacher. Why shouldn’t she be responsible for that?” And even more flippantly, “Making a decision as to whether or not to cross the street when traffic is coming, that takes a level of maturity and that’s a much more dangerous decision than to decide, ‘Hey, I want to have sex with my teacher.'”
Wyatt’s flippant attitude toward erasing the age of consent—remember, a minor is anyone under 18, so there would appear to be no lower age cutoff for consent—is rooted in a California court case, Doe v Starbucks, where the court argued that “persons under 18 may, in some cases, have capacity to consent to sex with persons over 18. Whether a minor actually consented to sex is a more delicate question, but the Court cannot agree with Plaintiff that “a minor cannot legally consent to sexual intercourse with an adult.”
That “delicate question” allowed Wyatt, acting on behalf of the LA Unified School District, to delve into the 14 year old girl’s sexual history as evidence that she was the kind of girl that willingly consented to be sexually active. Even though—we add again—according to California criminal law, a minor cannot give consent, and a minor’s sexual history may not be brought in.
Some have pointed out the obvious muddle being made of the consent law in California. But it is more accurate to say that the muddle is only momentary; that is, the push for lowering the age of consent in civil law will soon erase the boundaries in criminal law, and so erase the contradiction with it.
Why? And who’s to blame?
How about we begin with the LA Unified School District itself, which has been actively engaging in sexualizing its minors as a part of school policy. Take for example, this press report, from June 2013.
A first of its kind sex education program is being taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District, in which students as young as 12 are encouraged to share their HIV and STD status with their sexual partners by way of a text message that reveals they were tested for HIV, chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis. The text message also includes a disclaimer, which reads: “This person MAY have had sex since being tested. Always be safe, use condoms.”
This fits nicely with another California sexual education project, this one from the California Family Health Council which mails 10 free condoms a month to kids from 12-19 years old.
Do you wonder what kind of “sex education” the minors are getting at LA Unified School District? LAUSD was one of the first to mandate a gay-friendly curriculum for all its students. My suspicion is that it assumes sexual activity, giving lip service to abstinence, even as it expands the limits of acceptable sexual expression.
But California is at the legal cutting edge of the larger sexualization of youth that so dominates our culture, pushing vamp and sleaze on ever younger bodies. Do a quick internet search on the “sexualization of youth” and you’ll see a stream of articles decrying the problem, as well as providing unpleasant examples of the evil itself.
How can consent laws, meant to protect children under 18, stand against a culture insidiously extending sexuality to earlier and earlier ages? How can anyone doubt that those who desire to remove such consent laws will use California as a precedent?
I wish I could say that this crime—and let’s call it by its name, pedophilia—is something new, something just now poking its greasy head above the cultural horizon. But it is not. One of the great architects of the sexual revolution, Alfred Kinsey (1894-1956), asserted quite matter-of-factly that sex with children was not unnatural and hence not immoral.
As I note in my Ten Books that Screwed Up the World, Kinsey was one of the chief “sex experts” that helped to change the face of American law in the mid-twentieth century as an “expert” witness in court case after court case. In his Sexual Behavior in the Human Male (1948), Kinsey asserted that children as young as four months old were capable of sexual arousal, and so infant sexuality was natural—a conclusion he based upon “evidence” given to him by men engaged in such activities. Kinsey blamed the “hysteria” (his words) surrounding pedophilia on society itself, which treats such entirely natural acts as somehow monstrous and immoral. Kinsey was one of the most influential “sexologists” redefining sexuality for our public school sex education textbooks.
Again, I have little doubt that there will be a push for lowering the legal age of consent, based both upon Kinsey’s continuing malodorous influence and the recent California court decisions. The sad news is that the legal push is simply part of a larger drive to remove all limits of any kind from sexuality.
All this means that there will soon be very little, if any, legal protection for our youth. As several commentators have pointed out about the California case, the sexual predator and rapist will now have the ability to argue, in and out of court, that the girl or boy consented.