Sunday, March 17, 2013


Today several online news orgaizations announced the guilty verdicts handed down in Jefferson County, Ohio juvenile court against two Steubenville High School football players. The two were convicted of taking advantage of a 16 year old female who was so intoxicated that she was incapable of legal consent to a sex act. 
The two boys face a maximum sentence of confinement in a juvenile corrections facility until they are 21.
I read various versions of the story, mostly based on Associated Press reports. Then I read the "comments" of various readers. Some of these people are arguably sicker than the rapists. Most of them have no idea what the law is in Ohio (or anyplace else) nor do they know the philosophy behind, oh, say having a juvenile justice system with special provisions. 
Particularly disgusting was the (sadly predictable) slew of commentors who slobbered about the two boys being raped in juvenile prison. One idiot said they should be sent to "an adult prison without pants".  Reading some of those comments, I had to wonder whether or not they actually wanted to watch these kids get abused. 
And, let's not forget, the avalanche of people who wanted the boys to be castrated; many times without benefit of anesthesia; and in at least two cases some idiot said that the convicted teens should be forced to eat their own genitalia (probably while being raped).
Most of the rest of the comments were variations on the theme of "how awful" along with the commentor's own little idea of how the world would be perfect if he or she could tell everyone what to do. "Banning" "Sexist jokes" for one thing.
The fact is that the juvenile justice system exists because young folks do stupid things, and that in this case sometimes hormones and alcohol do things to a young person that he or she regrets later.
Confinement until age 21 is an eternity to a 15-17 year old kid. And contrary to the belief of some, that felony record is not completely expunged after these two turn 21. And they may have to register as sex offenders for some time after they get out of confinement.

One astonishing fact is that the overwhelming majority of the evidence in this case consisted of the "tweets" and other text messages which were sent flying through the airwaves, along with a few pictures and, famously, a "YouTube" video in which an (allegedly) uninvolved kid makes vulgar jokes about the rape.

This, along with the factor of alcohol acting as a lubricant on all the underage actors pointed to a situation in which it was not a case of "no means no" but more like a bunch of kids so drunk nobody was legally capable of saying "yes" "no" or "maybe". 

The decision to keep this matter in juvenile court was made by the judge and the prosecutors. Had this been forcible rape - and yes there IS a legal difference, spelled out in the Ohio Revised Code - the case likely would have gone to adult court and the boys to adult jail.

The sentence just came in an hour ago. One kid got two years in Juvie and the other kid got "at least one year".  Seems to me the Jefferson County, Ohio Common Pleas Court got it just about right. Now I'm going to go back to the blogs and find out (and I bet I'm right) how many IDIOTS are outraged that these two sad-sack teenaged dolts are not going to be broken on the wheel, in public.

And people wonder why I sift comments....

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