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Sex Crimes and Sentencing

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As I mentioned before, there's an interesting twist to the sex offender problem which involves the growing recognition that women can be sex offenders as well as men. This story from Interested-Participant, however, gives me pause:

The trial of 41-year-old mother-of-two, Phill Raije Rian, for sexual assault of a 16-year-old neighborhood boy concluded this month. Rian allegedly performed oral sex on the teen, who she knew because he mowed her lawn, on three occasions, each of which lasted between 15 and 30 minutes.

Rian was reportedly sentenced to 23 years in prison for these crimes. Being hard on sex offenders is understandable and right in most cases. But when the crimes involve the facts that this case does, one wonders whether this is the best sentence for all involved, especially when we consider that many offenders convicted of homicide crimes do not receive such lengthy sentences.

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At the risk of sounding politically incorrect, the respective sex of the perp and the victim in these types of cases matters. With adult females and juvenile males, the risk of violence, coercion etc. is far less, not to mention the fact that males cannot get pregnant. In addition, given the likely reactions of the families of the juvenile victims, one can easily make the case that in cases of female victims (at least when they're 16), there is far more of a danger of violence. I think if you polled Americans on their reactions to their 16 year old daughter engaging in sex with a 41 year old man versus their reactions to the case at hand, I think that the differences would be stark.

I agree with Steven, although, the people I feel most sorry for are her children. One wonders why the plea wasn't taken.

One other note, Gerry Studds, a Congressman basically did the same thing. Press coverage was relatively positive.

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