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November 14, 2016 by Robert Franklin, Esq, Member, National Board of Directors, National Parents Organization

What timing!

Yesterday’s piece was about a 20-year-old Lincoln Nebraska man who had sex several times with a 15-year-old girl, who conceived a child for whom he received an order of joint custody from the family court. He’s currently charged with sexual abuse of a minor and awaiting trial. I discussed the various issues and ramifications of charging a person with a crime who has parental rights and custody of a child produced by that crime. I referred to the different ways the legal system treats men who do what the Lincoln man did versus women who do.

Like clockwork, there’s this (Omaha World Herald, 11/9/16).

An Omaha woman who was impregnated by a teenager faces up to 10 years in prison after pleading no contest Monday to third-degree sexual assault of a minor and child abuse.

Brianne McIntosh, 21, will be sentenced for both felonies Dec. 19 in Dodge County District Court. She faces up to five years in prison on each charge and will be required to register as a sex offender in Nebraska.

McIntosh admitted to having sex with a 13-year-old youth in May 2014 when she was 19, said Dodge County Attorney Oliver Glass. The youth, now 16, met McIntosh while he was sleeping over at a friend’s house in Hooper.

That looks pretty straightforward. A 19-year-old woman admits to having sex with a 13-year-old boy. She became pregnant with his child, has been charged with two felonies and faces incarceration. There’s not much to choose between her case and Zachary Zysset’s I wrote about yesterday, right?

Well, there are some differences. For one thing, she’s plea-bargained her charge down from first-degree sexual assault to third-degree. Zysset’s looking at a first-degree charge.

Second of course, the girl in Zysset’s case was 15 years old and the boy in McIntosh’s was just 13. That brings up a point I neglected yesterday – boys mature later than do girls. So a 13-year-old boy is emotionally/psychologically more equivalent to an 11-year-old girl. There’s an argument to be made that, if we must have statutory rape laws, the age of consent for girls should be lower than that for boys. So, if the age of consent for girls is 16, it should be 18 for boys. Such a distinction would more accurately reflect that reality of the maturation rates of the sexes.

Then there’s this:

The child was born in February 2015 and is a ward of the state. He has been placed with his paternal grandmother, who is helping the young father raise him.

Why is the child a ward of the state? The child lives with its father’s father. My guess is that the boy lives with his father who is mostly in charge of its care. So it appears the state is paying the child’s grandfather to care for the child. Why isn’t the mother paying child support? Why are Nebraska’s taxpayers footing the bill for this child’s upkeep? Perhaps the mother is paying the state, but the article doesn’t mention it.

One of the points of my previous post was the disparate treatment of males and females charged with sexual assault of children. The prosecutor in McIntosh’s case begs to differ.

“Pleading to felonies that include time in prison is appropriate for this crime,” Glass said. “The person who commits this crime, whether male or female, I’m going to treat the same way.”

Fine words, but are they true? Of course, any prosecutor would say the same. Who would admit flagrant gender bias in charging and sentencing? So, is Dodge County Attorney Oliver Glass correct? As is so often the case, the comments to an article are often more informative than the article itself. And so it is here.

Dodge County Attorney Oliver Glass said, “The person who commits this crime, whether male or female, I’m going to treat the same way.” I certainly hope Mr. Glass means what he says because there is incredible (and unconstitutional) gender bias in Nebraska criminal cases, especially sexual assaults. When men and women commit similar sexual assaults, the sentences given to men are, on average, 500% to 1200% longer than those given to women.

Here are some examples. The following cases are all statutory rape cases that did not involve forcible rape.

  • Carrie Miller, age 25, sexually assaulted a 15 year-old boy. She was sentenced to 4-5 years.
  • Jackson Hedrick, age 23, sexually assaulted a 14 year-old girl. He was sentenced to 20-30 years.
  • John Hoffman, age 29, sexually assaulted a 14 year-old girl. He was sentenced to 18-25 years.
  • Brian Robeson, age 35, sexually assaulted a 14 year-old girl. He was sentenced to 40 years.
  • Brian Black, age 37, sexually assaulted a 15 year-old girl. He was sentenced to 32-60 years.

This case is more serious than any of these cases because the victim was only 13, younger than all of the victims in these cases. Based on these cases, Ms. McIntosh should receive a sentence that is significantly longer than the 20-30 years given to Jackson Hedrick because her victim was younger and presumably much less mature since girls mature faster than boys.

As if this weren’t bad enough, the victim in this case could be forced to pay child support to his rapist when she is released from prison (assuming she actually serves time). In every case that has considered this issue, male rape victims have been required to pay child support to their female rapists if a child resulted from the rape.

The commenter provides important and pertinent information. In fact, it appears that men in Zachary Zysset’s position are treated far more harshly than those in Brianne McIntosh’s. That of course is right in line with the disparate treatment of male and females by federal criminal courts around the country. Three years ago, University of Michigan law professor Sonia Starr revealed that, at every stage of the criminal justice system, from arrest to charging to bail to sentencing and beyond, men are treated far more harshly than are women. Indeed, the difference between men’s and women’s treatment is greater than that between whites and blacks.

We’ll follow these two cases and find out whether Nebraska courts are truly the gender-blind paradise Glass would have us believe or whether they, like so many other courts, are happy to wink at behavior by women they’d pillory a man for.

 

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#sexualassault, #childcustody, #statutoryrape, #sexism

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