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Old Dec 17, 2012, 11:25 AM   #1
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18 year old who had sex with 14 year old - goes to jail

This article, Laws Gone Wild: As Teen Sweethearts Go to Prison for Sex, Mothers Rebel recently appeared on The Daily Beast/Newsweek. In this case the subject was an 18 year old boy who had sex with his then 14 year old girl friend and ended up spending 5 years in jail...

Should we be imposing some kind of a Victorian draconian punishment directed at teens who give in to their urges? The boy's life has been ruined. What did society achieve by this over reaction, religious driven, BS?

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Francie Baldino, a mother of two from Royal Oak, Mich., can tell you the day she became an activist against America’s sex-offender laws. It was the day her teenage son went to prison—for falling in love with a teenage girl.

“Prison was unthinkable,” says Baldino. “He was just a dumb kid.” Francie Baldino says her son was unfairly punished. Photograph by Robyn Twomey for Newsweek

Her son, Ken, was an 18-year-old senior in high school when he was arrested for having sex with his girlfriend, a 14-year-old freshman, in 2004. The age of consent in Michigan is 16. He got sentenced to a year in jail and three years of probation. After that, when the two teens resumed their relationship—violating his probation—he got five to 15 years.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 12:48 PM   #2
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I understand where you are coming from Huntn, but the specific boy in the article made some really bad decisions. He went back to his girlfriend after getting out a jail and while he was on probation. In my opinion it's hard to have sympathy when he knowingly and willfully broke the law that landed him in trouble initially. Would you be sympathetic to someone in this situation if the crime were different say shoplifting or assault?
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:01 PM   #3
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I understand where you are coming from Huntn, but the specific boy in the article made some really bad decisions. He went back to his girlfriend after getting out a jail and while he was on probation. In my opinion it's hard to have sympathy when he knowingly and willfully broke the law that landed him in trouble initially. Would you be sympathetic to someone in this situation if the crime were different say shoplifting or assault?
The law needs to be changed. The sex offender list was meant to protect underage kids from pervs that are way over age. Not to prevent a senior in HS dating a freshman.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:07 PM   #4
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What's missing here is the 14 year old's parents' opinion on this.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:12 PM   #5
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The law needs to be changed. The sex offender list was meant to protect underage kids from pervs that are way over age. Not to prevent a senior in HS dating a freshman.
sorry but i dont see any reason why an 18 year old MAN should be dating a 14 year old

4 years is a big gap at that age. She is just a child

His jail time was well deserved in my opinion
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:14 PM   #6
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sorry but i dont see any reason why an 18 year old MAN should be dating a 14 year old

4 years is a big gap at that age. She is just a child

His jail time was well deserved in my opinion
That may be true and I wouldn't want my kids dating an 18 year old at 14, but jail isn't appropriate and he shouldn't be on the sex offender list. That is a situation where the parents need to do some raising....
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:18 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by dukebound85 View Post
sorry but i dont see any reason why an 18 year old MAN should be dating a 14 year old

4 years is a big gap at that age. She is just a child

His jail time was well deserved in my opinion
Agreed. However, I do think being on the sex offenders list was a bit much.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:24 PM   #8
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Punishment applied appropriately
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:28 PM   #9
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Too bad they were not from Germany or Austria or Portugal or Italy....or quite a few countries in Europe....this would be a non-issue.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:29 PM   #10
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That may be true and I wouldn't want my kids dating an 18 year old at 14, but jail isn't appropriate and he shouldn't be on the sex offender list. That is a situation where the parents need to do some raising....
This is my exact thought on this.

But there does have to be some age of consent, so I guess the law needs to provide for a separation of years as well.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:33 PM   #11
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If an 18 year old had sex with my 14 year old daughter, jail time would be the least of his worries!
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:41 PM   #12
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Punishment applied appropriately
Indeed. It's the Law. He broke the law and was punished according the penalties prescribed by the law. What's the problem? The age of the kid breaking the law? So just because he's a teenager the law shouldn't apply? Gimme a break. Problems start when people start thinking they're above the law. What everyone else needs must abide, needs not apply to them.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:49 PM   #13
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Indeed. It's the Law. He broke the law and was punished according the penalties prescribed by the law. What's the problem? The age of the kid breaking the law? So just because he's a teenager the law shouldn't apply? Gimme a break. Problems start when people start thinking they're above the law. What everyone else needs must abide, needs not apply to them.
The issue is the law needs to be changed. As I stated the law was created to protect minors from pervs that are way above their age, not to punish a senior in HS for dating a freshman.

I think a lot of us can agree that it is inappropriate for an 18 year old and 14 year old to date. But, it's not the laws job to prevent that from happening, it's the parents job. Jail time and being on the sex offenders list is too steep a punishment here.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 01:50 PM   #14
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While a high school senior doing the deed with a freshman does fall a little on the creepy side of things, I really really really don't think it warrants sending an 18 year old to prison alongside people who committed violent crimes, and a lifetime of having to tell your neighbors you're a registered sex offender.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 03:02 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by quagmire View Post
The law needs to be changed. The sex offender list was meant to protect underage kids from pervs that are way over age. Not to prevent a senior in HS dating a freshman.
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Originally Posted by leekohler View Post
What's missing here is the 14 year old's parents' opinion on this.
Quote:
Originally Posted by quagmire View Post
The issue is the law needs to be changed. As I stated the law was created to protect minors from pervs that are way above their age, not to punish a senior in HS for dating a freshman.

I think a lot of us can agree that it is inappropriate for an 18 year old and 14 year old to date. But, it's not the laws job to prevent that from happening, it's the parents job. Jail time and being on the sex offenders list is too steep a punishment here.
There are two issues here. The first issue is the law itself and whether one believes the penalties are too stringent. Second is the the specifics of the case in the article as listed in the OP. My comments were in regard to the specifics of the boy in the article.

I don't think some of you actually read the article. Here's some more details.

Quote:
They attended different high schools, but started spending all their free time together. Eventually, they slept together, although they certainly didn’t announce that to their parents.

Her father disapproved of the relationship, Lester says, and told the pair to split up.

The teens didn’t listen. “Ken was young,” says Baldino. “He was in love. He thought nothing bad could happen to him.” She admits that she wishes she had paid more attention, but in hindsight says she was focusing too much on running a graphic-design business.

One morning, Thornsberry drove to Lester’s house when he thought her father would be at work. His plan, he says: to pick up some belongings and drive his girlfriend to school. But her father saw Thornsberry outside the home and the two started arguing. Thornsberry kicked open the front door and hurled a sugar bowl at the TV. The father called the police. Thornsberry was arrested for home invasion.

When questioned by detectives, Thornsberry, then 18, admitted to sleeping with his 14-year-old girlfriend. On the advice of his attorney, he pleaded guilty to criminal sexual misconduct and was sentenced to a year in jail followed by three years’ probation, during which time he could not be around minors, including his girlfriend. He would also go on the sex-offender registry, which would list his home address and other personal information, for 25 years.

KEN THORNSBERRY EMERGED from the county jail in 2005. He was 19 years old, and had a GED and a new job with his father’s contracting company. He stuck to his probation terms and didn’t see Emily Lester—for the first few months, anyway. Then, she contacted him, and he started secretly seeing her.

“He was acting like a dumb teenager,” Baldino says. One day, Lester’s father came home and found Thornsberry with his daughter. Back to jail he went.

Judge Mester sympathized with the teens, pointing out that society encourages sex: “That’s all we read about ... these heroic celebrities from Hollywood telling us how we’re going to live our lives free and easy.” But the law, he said, is clear. He sentenced Thornsberry to five to 15 years.

“I made bad choices. I did stupid stuff,” Thornsberry says today, standing in his mother’s kitchen. He got out of prison this past August after more than six years. He was due to get out in five, but needed to take a sex-offender class first, and it was overbooked. He is now on parole for two years. He wears a GPS bracelet on his ankle and carries an accompanying black metal box that bleeps if he loses a signal or if he moves away from approved locales.

For the next two years, he cannot be around kids and must attend weekly sex-offender classes. He is not allowed to use a computer or cellphone camera. He’s 26 and has never used Facebook.
The boy who some are saying has been treated unfairly had many opportunities to do things differently. His situation is not a one time hook up that landed him in jail or a high school romance that put him in jail after the parents got upset and wanted to punish him.

At 18 years of age he chose to start dating and then having sex with a 14 year old minor. The relationship was forbidden by the girls parents and he chose to disregard their wishes and continue to see her behind their back. When the father confronted him he became aggressive and destroyed their property. That is when the police got involved. After serving his one year sentence he then resumed dating and sleeping with the young girl knowing that it was a violation of his probation and could send him back to jail.

Sorry, but I don't see this as "harmless teenage lovers", this guy knew what he was doing was wrong and yet continued to do what he wanted not caring about the consequences. I'm glad to hear that he accepts responsibility now, but there sure is a lot of trivializing and justifying language being used by his mother with some of her comments.

Of course the teenage girl doesn't think they were doing anything wrong, but how about her parents? They were trying to prevent the relationship. What about their right to protect their daughter? If the laws are changed or consequences watered down too much then how are well intentioned parents going to be supported and protected in their efforts to be responsible and teach responsibility to their children?

I understand the debate about the law and the penalties, but some laws are their to protect us from ourselves. Age of consent laws are built on this principle.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 03:19 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by dukebound85 View Post
sorry but i dont see any reason why an 18 year old MAN should be dating a 14 year old

4 years is a big gap at that age. She is just a child

His jail time was well deserved in my opinion
What if it was a 16-17 year old girl or the situation was reversed and the guy was 14? I view them both as just kids, although that's an awkward gap at that age.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 03:22 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by mscriv View Post
There are two issues here. The first issue is the law itself and whether one believes the penalties are too stringent. Second is the the specifics of the case in the article as listed in the OP. My comments were in regard to the specifics of the boy in the article.

I don't think some of you actually read the article. Here's some more details.



The boy who some are saying has been treated unfairly had many opportunities to do things differently. His situation is not a one time hook up that landed him in jail or a high school romance that put him in jail after the parents got upset and wanted to punish him.

At 18 years of age he chose to start dating and then having sex with a 14 year old minor. The relationship was forbidden by the girls parents and he chose to disregard their wishes and continue to see her behind their back. When the father confronted him he became aggressive and destroyed their property. That is when the police got involved. After serving his one year sentence he then resumed dating and sleeping with the young girl knowing that it was a violation of his probation and could send him back to jail.

Sorry, but I don't see this as "harmless teenage lovers", this guy knew what he was doing was wrong and yet continued to do what he wanted not caring about the consequences. I'm glad to hear that he accepts responsibility now, but there sure is a lot of trivializing and justifying language being used by his mother with some of her comments.

Of course the teenage girl doesn't think they were doing anything wrong, but how about her parents? They were trying to prevent the relationship. What about their right to protect their daughter? If the laws are changed or consequences watered down too much then how are well intentioned parents going to be supported and protected in their efforts to be responsible and teach responsibility to their children?

I understand the debate about the law and the penalties, but some laws are their to protect us from ourselves. Age of consent laws are built on this principle.


Ok didn't read about the home invasion. He still shouldn't be on the sex offenders list, but jail was appropriate for the home invasion and property destruction.

But, the law isn't there to help the parents raise their kids. It's not there as a fall back for parents to go to when they do a bad job at raising their kids and preventing an inappropriate relationship( at least in this case. If their 14 year old daughter was going out with like a 25+ year old adult then I would be more inclined to get the police involved, but not with an 18 year old).
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 03:39 PM   #18
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What if it was a 16-17 year old girl or the situation was reversed and the guy was 14? I view them both as just kids, although that's an awkward gap at that age.
No, what if it were an 18 yr old girl and a 14 yr old boy.
During probation a 19 yr old women and a 15 yr old.
Cradle robber comes to mind.

18 is a young adult subject to all the protections and penalties of the law.
Sex offender like a pedophile maybe not.
Going against the parents wishes, and age of consent, statutory rape.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 03:50 PM   #19
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I understand where you are coming from Huntn, but the specific boy in the article made some really bad decisions. He went back to his girlfriend after getting out a jail and while he was on probation. In my opinion it's hard to have sympathy when he knowingly and willfully broke the law that landed him in trouble initially. Would you be sympathetic to someone in this situation if the crime were different say shoplifting or assault?
My come back is that assault is not love. Yes, there can be in appropriate love. Yes some could be criminalized, but in the case of high school kids, you have to weigh the offense against the punishment. This kid's life is ruined. Based on the circumstances, I'd call it overkill. However I respect your differing opinion.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 03:55 PM   #20
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No, what if it were an 18 yr old girl and a 14 yr old boy.
During probation a 19 yr old women and a 15 yr old.
Cradle robber comes to mind.

18 is a young adult subject to all the protections and penalties of the law.
Sex offender like a pedophile maybe not.
Going against the parents wishes, and age of consent, statutory rape.
Well I mostly wanted to emphasize the 16-17 portion. I recall seeing that situation in high school. In the case of 17 vs 18, it can arise if they're dating and one has a birthday earlier than the other. I think age of consent in California is 18. It's also weird legally classifying the guy there as a sex offender. You can call it young adult or whatever. At an emotional level, they're still kids/teenagers.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 04:37 PM   #21
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Aren't the ages of consent and drinking in the US a little on the high side?
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 04:40 PM   #22
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Aren't the ages of consent and drinking in the US a little on the high side?
i dont think so personally
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 04:45 PM   #23
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My come back is that assault is not love. Yes, there can be in appropriate love. Yes some could be criminalized, but in the case of high school kids, you have to weigh the offense against the punishment. This kid's life is ruined. Based on the circumstances, I'd call it overkill. However I respect your differing opinion.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that this specific guy went back after being arrested, serving sentence, and being on probation. That makes him a repeat offender in terms of the circumstances. To me these details make this case more about disrespect for the law, the parents of the young girl, and the girl herself as opposed to just a simple underage "love story". Heck, I did some really dumb things when I was young, but if I had been found guilty of something and served time for it, you better believe that when I got out I wouldn't be messing with the same girl or any other girls under the age of consent.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 04:52 PM   #24
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As I stated the law was created to protect minors from pervs that are way above their age, not to punish a senior in HS for dating a freshman.

I think a lot of us can agree that it is inappropriate for an 18 year old and 14 year old to date.
Looks to me like you've contradicted yourself here.

Quote:
Jail time and being on the sex offenders list is too steep a punishment here.
Jail time is not at all inappropriate here. He broke the law. He went to jail and got probation. He broke the same law again. He went back to jail. That's pretty much how it's supposed to work, and I don't oppose it.

Registering as a sex offender, OTOH, I think is inappropriate in this case. While his relationship with this girl is clearly out of bounds and illegal, I don't think he's the type to go after just any teenage girl; I think his attraction is fixated solely on her. As such, there's no reason to warn the world that he might try to prey on every single child out there.
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Old Dec 17, 2012, 04:57 PM   #25
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Lock him up and throw away the key

Is the death penalty not an option here?
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