How old is old enough

Suppose we have a 16-year old girl with a 35-year old man, drinking it up, and have a bit of sodomy. Should we charge the 35-year old man with a crime? What if no alcohol was involved?

What if it is a 16-year old boy with a 35-year old woman?

What if it is a 16-year old boy with a 35-year old man?

And just to cover it all, how about the 16-year old girl with a 35-year old woman?

Every now and then I’ve seen stories about boys having sex with a teacher. Usually I base my opinions on these stories more on the disparate amount of power and authority one can exercise over the other. However, when this kind of story comes out within minutes of the accusation someone chimes up the boys probably wanted it, so the female teacher shouldn’t be charged. Normally the voices saying a 16 can’t give meaningful consent to sex are a bit hushed, or laughed at. I don’t hear as many voices when it is a young woman, which I chalk up to a pretty blatant sexist double standard. At least be consistent, a 16-year old can or can’t give consent, their gender really doesn’t matter at that point.

Currently (October 2010) there is a criminal complaint concerning some type of sex between a 16-year old boy and a 35-year old man, working its way through the system in Newport News, VA.

Something I want to mention though before coming to my question is this: 

In Virginia a 14-year old can be tried as an adult.

So, here is my question, if the State can attempt to show a 14-year old, let alone 16-year old, has the culpability of an adult, then should we allow an adult charged with sex with a minor to defend themselves by demonstrating the minor has the same level of maturity needed for that minor to have been tried as an adult?

Although if you support a strict liability standard type standard (the age is the age, relative maturity doesn’t matter) I can respect saying no, but do me a favor and chime in with at what age you’re okay with a juvenile being tried as an adult. Seems a bit hypocritical under Virginia law since one of the crimes they can be tried as an adult for is Rape.

Before answering consider this. Some States already have within their legal system these competing ideas, a boy can be too young to give consent to sex, thus allowing charges of statutory rape; yet at the same time find the boy responsible for their decisions order them to pay child support. One State that I am aware of even held a man responsible for child support when testimony from multiple sources pretty clearly indicated he was raped while unconscious. Basically that being male carried ,so far as child support goes, what I believe is termed strict liability. Some States very happily agree to the idea that a person can be held responsible for their decisions and yet be considered incompetent to have made those decisions, but should that be the law?

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