Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sex with minors: the mess we've made of the law

What a mess we've made of the issue of sex between adults and underage children. A 15-year-old boy is charged with statutory rape for having sex with a 14-year-old girl. A 27-year-old man who makes a 15-year-old babysitter pregnant gets away with two years in jail. We need to get this confused nonsense sorted out. At least the 15-year-old boy, now 17 years of age, is challenging the constitutionality of the law which allows him to be charged while giving immunity to the girl - all part of Michael McDowell's legacy to us as Minister for Justice in 2006.

And while we're getting that sorted out, let's remember we have been promised a constitutional referendum on the rights of children in general. It would suit politicians down to the ground to confine this to the issue of under-age sex and to ignore the myriad of other ways in which the system lets down kids. Campaigners on children's rights need to keep a close eye on that one.

(This is the complete post. Ignore "Continue reading" link below.)

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