I’m opposed to prison sentences for certain statutory rape situations–in many countries, a 21-year-old man having a relationship with a 17-year-old woman is perfectly normal.

A friend’s grandparents recently celebrated their 75th wedding anniversary, and it was publicized in local papers, as it should be, since it’s such an achievement. But looking at the story and doing a little math made me realize that if the two of them had gotten married yesterday, he would go to jail–he was 21 and she was 17 when they got married in 1922. This is absurd.

On the other had, if it’s a 24 year-old and a 14-year-old, well, that’s another story. But however one feels about the statutory rape laws, they should be enforced without gender bias, and that is clearly not the case. Another example is below.

In this case, a 24-year-old woman who statutory raped a 14-year-old boy will avoid jail. Ironically, the boy’s older brother is serving a 3 1/2 year prison sentence for the exact same crime. He statutorily raped a girl when he was 22 and she was 14.

This gender bias is typical. A five-year study conducted by a Kansas State University professor found that male teachers are likely to get 15 to 20 years in prison for sexual relations with students, whereas female teachers usually are placed on probation or go to prison for one to three years. Paul Logli, president of the National District Attorneys Association, says:

“There is no question it’s more likely that as a case winds its way through the court, in more cases the woman is going to get probation, whereas the man, under the same circumstances, is going to get prison.”

The story is below–thanks to Thomas, a reader, for sending it to me.

Mom who has child by teen gets probation
By Joe Elias
The Patriot-News, 8/22/07

NEW BLOOMFIELD — A 24-year-old woman who gave birth to a 14-year-old boy’s child won’t go to jail so that she can take care of the newborn, a Perry County judge ruled Tuesday.

Angela Nicole Rudy of the 600 block of Lewisberry Road, Fairview Twp., York County, received probation and a suspended sentence of 3 to 18 months in prison.

The 14-year-old’s mother, however, said that’s a double standard.

“If she was a man, she would already be in prison,” the mother said. “She’s only out because she’s a woman. A criminal should not be able to hide behind the fact that they have a child.”

The teen’s mother is not being identified to protect the identity of her son. The Patriot-News does not identify sex-assault victims.

The teen’s mother compared the case to that of her 23-year-old son, who is serving a 2 1/2- to 4 1/2-year state prison sentence for his second statutory sexual-assault offense. The offenses occurred in Perry and York counties. A 15-year-old York County girl gave birth to his child in late 2006, court records said.

“I don’t see a difference,” the mother said. “The issue is the crime, not who will be watching the child.”

Rudy gave birth to a boy in April.

“I’m not going to break the bond between a parent and an infant,” Perry County Judge Kathy A. Morrow said. “That only causes more problems.”

Instead, Morrow sentenced Rudy to 2 years of probation, which is within the state guidelines for the crime to which Rudy pleaded guilty in July: one count of statutory sexual assault.

Morrow had considered sending Rudy to a halfway house in Mifflin or Dauphin county, where she could work during the day and stay with the child at night. Probation officials said they couldn’t get Rudy into either facility.

District Attorney Charles Chenot said he was disappointed in the judge’s decision. “I certainly feel that some sort of incarceration was in order,” he said.

Rudy’s lawyer, Shaubot C. Walz, the county’s public defender, said the sentence was what he requested.

Morrow also ordered Rudy to have no contact with the victim except to exchange custody of the baby. She also ordered drug and alcohol counseling.

The baby’s father, who was not in court, has told The Patriot-News he does not believe Rudy should be imprisoned for their sexual relationship, saying it was consensual.

State law says that someone younger than 16 cannot consent to sex with someone more than four years older.

“He was a child, and you took advantage of him,” Morrow told Rudy.

Tina Nixon, executive director of the YWCA of Greater Harrisburg, said as a general rule, boys are less likely to report any type of sexual assault, especially when they don’t consider themselves victims.

“In a case like this, boys don’t understand it’s illegal,” she said.

In 2006, the YWCA’s crisis hot line handled 709 calls about sexual assaults, and just 10 were from boys, Nixon said.

In July 2006, Rudy drove the teen, who is a Perry County resident and a family friend, to a pull-off along Route 274 in Spring Twp. near West Perry High School. They had sex in the vehicle, court records state.

Rudy told police she was drunk at the time, records state. The teen’s mother reported Rudy to the police after learning Rudy was pregnant.

www.GlennSacks.com, Glenn Sacks

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