Teen Who Had Sex With Young GF Faces Harsh Consequences
A Texas mom says her family is “going through hell” as they wait to see if a Harris County juvenile judge will label her 14-year-old son a sex offender. The seventh-grader’s attorney, Joseph Gutheinz, tells the Houston Chronicle his client is being charged with aggravated sexual assault after having sex with his 12-year-old girlfriend, who was in sixth grade at the time. Texas, where the age of consent is 17, has a “Romeo and Juliet” law, in which a legal defense is available for minors younger than 17 who have consensual sex—as long as the two parties are within three years of age of each other. However, the law doesn’t hold if one of the kids is younger than 14, even if the sex was consensual and even if, as the teen’s mom says, “he loved her.” “They want to … put him on the [sex offender] registry with pedophiles and child molesters—really sick and dangerous people,” she says.
And that’s the last thing we should be doing to kids caught in similar situations, Wisconsin Rep. Joel Kleefisch says, per WSAU. His state is trying to pass a bill that would deem consensual sex between kids ages 15 to 18 a misdemeanor and not require them to register as sex offenders. But even that law wouldn’t help the Texas teen, and Gutheinz says “it just blows my mind” that his client could have sex with a 13-year-old just a few days younger and be in deep trouble, or be considered the victim if he had sex with an 18-year-old. “You would think the law would be more sympathetic as you go younger, because both parties are immature,” he notes. Still, a Harris County Public Defender’s Office lawyer says most judges look carefully at the facts of such cases and “very rarely” make teens register as sex offenders.