Last year, an eighth grader at a Delaware middle school arrived one morning to find kids in the hallway pointing at him and snickering. At first, the boy, Johnnie, who asked me protect his privacy by identifying him by a friend’s nickname for him, was confused. He thought it might be because of his new haircut. Then one kid called him a rapist. Another jeered, “Hey, aren’t you a sex offender?” One teenage boy threatened to beat him up.
Four years earlier, when Johnnie was 11, he put his hand on his 4-year-old half-sister’s vagina over her underwear. And then several months later, he told her to perform oral sex on him, which she did. When Johnnie’s mother found out, she called the police. She may have felt she could no longer control Johnnie, who, according to his grandmother, both adored his sister (he made pancakes and snowmen for her) and tormented her (he punched and bullied her). Perhaps his mother also worried that her son might abuse other children. It’s hard to know what went through her mind that day, because she never explained it to Johnnie or to her own mother, with whom Johnnie eventually went to live. And she did not return my phone calls.
Johnnie, who has sandy-colored hair and freckles, did not resort to violence or use a weapon, according to police records, and when a detective interviewed him, the fourth grader admitted what he’d done. Soon after, Johnnie was sentenced to a residential juvenile-sex-offender program, where he spent 16 months.
Similarly, there are the so-called Romeo and Juliet cases, like the highly publicized one in Georgia involving Genarlow Wilson, who is serving an 11-year prison sentence for having consensual oral sex with a 15-year-old girl at a party when he was 17.
July 21st, 2007 10:28pm
The girl was 4 and he coerced her to have sex. He was age of puberty. He's a sex offender.
July 21st, 2007 11:03pm
What if the girl is 11 and the boy is 5?
Is the girl a sex offender?
> And she did not return my phone calls.
"Hi, I'm from the New York Times. I'm going to write a story about how your son sexually abused your daughter. I understand you called the police and eventually sent your son to live with his grandmother. It would be great if you could call me back. Thanks."
President Gerald R Ford
July 21st, 2007 11:12pm
"Is the girl a sex offender?"
July 21st, 2007 11:20pm
I dunno. Kids play doctor all the time.
Yes, but playing doctor doesn't include actual sex.
July 22nd, 2007 12:00am
it says a hell of a lot about the parents that they couldn't deal with that without making a legal case out of it.
what happened was scary and worrying, but fucking hell. It reeally sounds like these people are utterly terrified of anything to do with sex. I wonder if Johnny and his sis felt comfortable to talk openly about their feelings and stuff that happened with their parents.
it's a pretty damn sad story.
July 22nd, 2007 4:39am
Unfortunately, if the parents did not report it to the authorities, that would be grounds for social services to take the kids away from the parents. you are required by law to report that sort of stuff.
July 22nd, 2007 4:56am
"Yes, but playing doctor doesn't include actual sex."
At 8 years old, I had a cousin 8 years old, and she and I performed "frottage" with me on top of her and I had an orgasm.
I don't know that we called the end result "playing doctor", but that is how it started out. I don't think I qualify as a sex offender.
I think everyone overreacted in the OP. Sex is natural--you just sit down and talk to your kids about responsibilities and respect for others.
yeah, I couldn't agree more, sharky and dana.
July 22nd, 2007 11:00am
> Big article today in NY Times Magazine about juvenile...
that's the OP
July 22nd, 2007 1:47pm
Yeah, it was the OP, but the OP didn't have the actual link. So it was a supplemental, not a repost. And how can it be a repost in the same thread?
July 22nd, 2007 1:53pm
click on the OPs name../
July 22nd, 2007 2:48pm
Shark, you were both 8. That is different from 11 on 4.
July 22nd, 2007 6:29pm
fair point PE. EVen so, I can't help thinking that the family was probably as much a problem as the kid.
If they stick a kid like that in a correctional institution, shouldn't they also be talking to the family to see if things are being handled in a decent way? many kids go through a lot of heavy stuff around puberty, the way it is dealt with in the family is crucial. Failure to acknowledge, and support the kid through the heavy sexual feelings that come up is arguably a form of abuse in itself.
July 22nd, 2007 6:45pm
" Failure to acknowledge, and support the kid through the heavy sexual feelings that come up is arguably a form of abuse in itself."
Would you argue that failing to "acknowledge and support" your kid's sexual feelings during puberty is abuse?
July 22nd, 2007 7:37pm
July 22nd, 2007 9:55pm
July 23rd, 2007 4:59am
Abuse is something very different from parents not talking about sex. Claiming that sort of thing is 'abuse' really devalues the whole concept of real abuse.
If that sort of thing is the new definition of 'abuse' then the term abuse is no longer meaningful and when we hear about abuse we should just say 'yeah, whatever'.
July 24th, 2007 1:08am