As Abigail Pesta reports for the Daily Beast, one teenage boy spent six years of his life behind bars because he had sex with his younger girlfriend. The case brings up a complex issue, one that criminal defense lawyers who defend people charged with sex crimes know well: does the punishment fit the crime?
First, the age of consent in his particular state is 16 – any younger, like 14, and the 14-year-old is judged by the law not to be able to consent. In this case, the first offense resulted in a year behind bars. (The boy was 18; his girlfriend was 14.)
Second, after having served his sentence, he continued his relationship with his girlfriend, leading to violating his parole, and sending him back behind bars for another period of years.
After getting released, of course, the now-26-year-old must wear a monitoring device and be branded a sex offender on the registry – all because he happened to be a bit too old for his girlfriend, though they were both pretty young.
So the question is this: does the punishment fit the crime?