Of Counsel

Legal Notes on Georgia and The South

The Problem with Charging Children with Sex Offenses

Posted by Maggie on September 19, 2007

No, this isn’t from the South, but I just couldn’t pass up how troubling this whole scenario is.

The Associated Press is reporting that two boys, aged 9 and 11, are being charged with criminal sexual conduct and gross indecency in Michigan. It’s alleged the two boys forced a 7-year-old to perform oral sex on them on a school bus. While these two have been charged, what’s worse is that the 7-year-old later performed oral sex on his younger brother, which led to the outcry.

So you have a group of young boys, most likely too young to understand what they’re doing, all 3 have been involved in oral sex and only two are charged. I’m sure prosecutors thought the 7-year-old was the victim, and thus didn’t charge him with acts against his brother. However, it’s most likely that the other boys have been in a similar situation leading to their acting out.

The prosecutor claims they will conduct an investigation to see if this is predatory or experimental behavior. Sadly, they’ve filed charges before this investigation is complete. This must make things even more difficult for the families involved.

I defended a case once where a few boys “pantsed” another boy and were charged with attempted child molestation. Some effort needs to be made to better understand these “crimes” when committed by such young children.

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