Saturday, May 8, 2010

On Lawrence Taylor And Age Of Consent Laws

Yesterday regular commenter and family member one L bill wrote the following in the comment section of my breakfast post:

All this LT stuff has got me wondering about your thoughts on sexual consent age limits.
For all those not in the know:
Lawrence Taylor, the former Giants linebacker, was arrested early Thursday morning and has been charged with third-degree rape and soliciting prostitution in a case involving a 16-year-old girl at a hotel in Rockland County, according to the authorities.

Taylor was taken into custody after the police were told that the girl had been brought to Taylor’s hotel room by aman who also faces charges in the case, said Christopher P. St. Lawrence, the town supervisor of Ramapo. He said the Ramapo police went to Taylor’s room at the Holiday Inn Suffern, in Montebello, and arrested him without incident just before 4 a.m. St. Lawrence said at a news conference that Taylor paid $300 for the encounter.

Taylor’s lawyer, Arthur L. Aidala, said Taylor denied having sex with the girl, who was referred to in court only by her initials because she was a minor. She was reported missing from her home in the Bronx in March.

Taylor faces a maximum of one year in prison on the solicitation charge, a misdemeanor. The maximum sentence for third-degree rape, a felony, is four years.
As far as LT is concerned he claims that he had never met the guy before who sent the girl to his room (I tend to believe this), he claims that she told him that she was nineteen (she has admitted that she was told to do so by this same guy) and that he paid the money to the girl herself rather than the guy (I'm assuming that he's making this point as some type of legal maneuvering on advice from his attorney). I was actually watching said attorney talking about the case yesterday and when asked if his client had sex with the girl he also made a point of stating that LT definitely didn't have sexual intercourse with her as it's defined by blah, blah, lawyer-speak, blah.

Now whenever I hear a lawyer rhetorically dancing around a straight-forward question like "Did he have sex with her?" in this manner my shyster-sense starts tingling like crazy (this particular superpower is slightly underdeveloped in my case since I only completed one year of law school before I regained sanity at some point). What that says to me is that there probably was no strict vaginal intercourse but I think it's safe to assume that there was some level of touching and eventual fluid transfer involving LT's penis at some point. It's entirely feasible to assume that he didn't have actual sex with her and that he's making that very clear to the authorities in order to escape a third-degree felony rape charge but he paid her that $300 for something and I doubt it was just to hold hands and exchange whispered sweet nothings.

To address one L's question as to my views on age of consent limits, my personal philosophy concerning sex has always been that some people are physically and emotionally ready to have sex and some people are not, with age being mostly a secondary concern. If I were to answer on an evolutionary basis (in which I received my formal college training) I would state that the beginning of menstruation in a female marks her readiness for sexual intercourse and subsequent child bearing but one obviously has to factor in cultural and societal mores and the much longer lifespan and thus delayed emotional development of modern humans versus other primates. I have no doubt that there are some thirteen-year-old girls out there who are quite ready to have sex while on the obverse side I also have no doubt that there are thirty-year-old women out there who are not (and perhaps never will be).

As far as the law goes though there obviously has to be a baseline legal limit that society adheres to on this matter and as with so many other rights and privileges of adulthood I believe that limit should be a person's eighteenth birthday, for the sake of consistency if nothing else. Now of course that's not to say that I believe that minors should not be having sex with each other and there are extenuating circumstances in some cases that any fair judge or jury should take into account: if a sixteen or seventeen-year-old girl has consensual sex with her eighteen or nineteen-year-old boyfriend that should usually be legal and acceptable in the eyes of the law. And there will be other extenuating circumstances on a case by case basis of course but that's why I believe that there should not be any bullshit mandatory sentencing laws tying the hands of the deliberating body or individual deciding those cases.

In short, I believe that anyone who is considered a legal adult should be able to have consensual sexual intercourse with any other legal adult (the topic of incest on this count takes us to a weird grey area that I personally would rather not think about) but I also believe that minors should be free to have consensual sex with each other and the occasional legal adult on a case by case basis to be determined by a judge or jury on the occasion that said interlocution is warranted. Sex is a sticky and beautiful enterprise and one of the best things we can do with our short time on this planet. My advice is to make up some excuse to look at his/her drivers licence at some point before you both get busy, i.e. "I always take bad licence photos: how about you?" This policy has saved (and also pleasantly surprised) my ass on more than one occasion.


JoeBama "Truth 101" Kelly said...

Under 18 is okay as long as it's not my daughter. Then I would have to kill the molester.

Juveniles will be juveniles. You're correct on a standard also. Wise judges are not the norm these days. Law and order, hang em high types are. Given the decision, most judges will hang em high for no other reason than that's what the electorate wants. As long as it's someone else's kid.

Shit. I don't even know now. And I'm a judge now.

Anonymous said...

Good post. Seems like our opinions mostly match in this arena... with the slight exception that I think the proper age for sex/drinking/military/driving should be 30.

JBW said...

Yeah but then I'd have to drive you guys around every time I visited Tejas, one L. I prefer being chauffeured.