Sunday, August 30, 2009

Parade of perverts

In past entries to this blog I've mentioned adult women having sex with underage boys, and I've mentioned adult men, mostly teachers, with young girls. I had a story ready to go the other day when, like everyone else, I was knocked off my feet by the story of Phillip Garrido and his backyard tent city. For the three people who haven't heard this, Jaycee Dugard, at age 11, was kidnapped and had not been seen for 18 years. The other day she surfaced, now 29-years-old. Garrido and his wife had been holding her and the two children she had given birth to, fathered by Garrido, in tents with a makeshift shower and outhouse.

Alert people at the University of California, Berkeley, alerted authorities when they talked to Garrido, who was there with his two children. The whole thing looked wrong to them. After checking on Garrido they found he was on the sex offender registry and they contacted police. Good citizens! Garrido's neighbor had contacted police three years earlier, but the police officer did not check in the back yard or house, just talked to Garrido on his front porch and satisfied himself everything was all right.

In hindsight, probably not a good thing. But necessary. We don't live in a police state where police are able to just enter our homes and look under the beds and in closets for no reason other than suspicion. There's got to be probable cause, and that officer needed that.

It's an amazing story, still unfolding. The latest is that Garrido is being looked at as a "person of interest" in the murders of prostitutes.

In my home state, Utah, we still have our parade of perverts. The story I alluded to above has elements of the Garrido story. A St. George woman, Krista Leanne Wertenberger-Moss, 38, entered a tent at 2:30 a.m. where three boys, age 11 and younger, were having a sleepover. She wouldn't let them leave the tent for five hours, and when she did they told their parents. She was sentenced to a year in jail and four years probation.

I'm not sure of her motivation. No one has said. She did make them play a game that included sexually explicit questions.

Also in St. George a 42-year-old male teacher, Douglas Bullock, was charged with having sex with a 17-year-old boy. Despite the age difference, I just wonder when a kid is 17 how "underage" he or she really is. Anybody over 16 usually has enough smarts to know what's going on. The arbitrary law that says someone is under the age of consent if they're not 18 seems unrealistic in most cases. If a kid is 17 years and 364 days old when the sex occurs then it's a crime; the next day he or she is 18 years old and then has sex with an older person it's not a crime. Sheesh.

But then we have the case of the sexually naïve teacher. Christopher Page, a 20-year-old substitute teacher at a junior high was caught in his car with a 13-year-old girl, both of them with their shirts off. The evaluation of the teacher explained the guy is "immature with limited sexual experience." Page knew the girl and her family before he became a substitute teacher so he wasn't "a person in a position of trust," as the law reads; teachers can get socked extra hard for having sex with students. So the D.A. doesn't want him jailed or put on the sex offender registry. "A good person who made a bad decision," said she.

OK, the kid who is 17 is still a child in the eyes of the law, but the guy three years older is an adult, but not a sex offender, even though he's with a 13-year-old, because he's "immature."

Sheesh again.

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