BUTT WHACKING COULD SEND YOU TO JAIL
by Dean Tong, MSc.
July 27, 2007
I thought I heard it all about 10 years ago when six year-old Jonathan Prevette got too affectionate with a girl in his class. A first grader then at Southwest Elementary, young Jonathan was accused by school bureaucrats of sexual harassment when he planted a kiss on the cheek of a girl nearly his own age. In reference to the “Kiss Case,” Kathie Lee Gifford was quoted as saying “We’ve gone too far with this now when we can’t let a child be a child.” Jonathan was suspended from school for one day because according to school policy he violated a rule that prohibits unwarranted and unwelcome touching of one student by another.
Well, perhaps I was wrong. According to a news story out of Oregon that has now made national attention – [Read] – two middle school students are facing time in juvenile jail along with the possibility of registering as lifelong sex offenders for slapping girls’ posteriors. Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, were arrested about five months ago after they were caught at school in McMinnville, Oregon, whacking girls on the buttocks. The boys spent five days in a juvenile detention facility and were charged with several counts of felony sex abuse. The boys and their parents admitted their behavior was inappropriate, but not criminal. Talk about some whacky whackings!
Since the arrest and filing of formal charges against the boys, the local district attorney has reduced the charges to misdemeanors and recommended probation. Cory Mashburn was offered a plea deal that his family has since rejected. The trial is docketed for August 20th and if convicted the boys face lifelong sex offender registration. Mashburn and Cornelison claim that slapping girls behinds is a ritual every Friday and that lots of kids, not just them, do it.
Now the boys face 10 misdemeanor charges of sexual harassment and false abuse and face a maximum of one year in juvenile jail on each count. District Attorney Brad Berry stays he’s not seeking major penalties in the case, ostensibly, meaning no jail time. But, we all know that the Judge has the final say so when it comes to sentencing time post-conviction (pleading No Contest is tantamount to guilt), and can depart from the prosecutor’s request and guidelines. And because Cory Mashburn has younger siblings, any guilty verdict in his case could require him to be supervised around them at all times.
According to Oregon Revised Statute 181.594(3)(c), an offender who is within the jurisdiction of a juvenile court for committing an act that, if committed by an adult would constitute a sex crime, may be required to register as a sex offender. Incredible! What brainy legislators sponsored that bill? Look! I understand better than anyone that perhaps the biggest statistical rise in child abuse in America is “child on child abuse.” That said, would it surprise these lawmakers that we cannot use the same recidivism statistical tools called actuarial instruments; STATIC-99, R-RASOR, SORAG, et al, on 13 year-olds, like we can on 19 year-olds? There are no inter-rater reliability and validity studies to administer the Penile Plethysmograph (PPG) on 13 year-olds.
But, isn’t it ironic that the Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers (ATSA) is located in Oregon – [Read] – This is already too scary, folks. From six year-old kisses, to thirteen year-old butt whacks that resort in criminal arrests, we have to be worried and concerned. I’m not condoning inappropriate sexual behavior, but the next thing you know if Hillary Clinton gets elected, we’ll be legislating into the criminal law books “emotional incest,” which means you could be arrested for leering at your son or daughter if you’re wearing, e.g. boxer shorts. Our right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is absolutely in jeopardy.