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Saturday, February 7, 2015

Is Teen Sex a Crime? Kentucky High Court to Debate - By Andrew Wolfson

 
Is teen sex a crime? Kentucky high court to debate, February 6, 2015
By Andrew Wolfson

The eighth-grade boy and his seventh-grade girlfriend had been dating about 1 1/2 years when they decided to have sex, which they did twice at her house when nobody was home. 

The boy, 15, also texted two nude pictures of himself to the girl, 13, who sent him one back. 

When the girl's parents found the pictures on her phone, they took out a warrant in Woodford Circuit Court, and the boy was charged with sexual misconduct, a misdemeanor, and possessing matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, a felony. 

Even though "B.H." as the boy is identified in court records, was too young to consent to sex — the minimum age is 16 in Kentucky — he was charged with a crime for engaging in it. And even though the boy's parents could have gone to the county attorney's office and taken out charges against the girl — just as C.W.'s parents had done — only B.H. was charged. 

In a case that has captured national attention, the Kentucky Supreme Court will hear arguments Thursday about whether voluntary sexual conduct between children should be prosecuted as a crime. 

"This case matters to any parent who has a teenage child, or will have a teenage child," B.H.'s lawyer, assistant public advocate John Wampler, said in an interview. "The simple fact is that unfortunately, many young teens under 16 are having sex with each other and engaging in sexting. 

"If the Commonwealth's position is held to be correct, then approximately one third of all teenagers, according to recent statistics, could be charged with a felony sex offense," Wampler said. "That should strike fear in the hearts of every parent who has bought their child a smartphone."