Monday, August 9, 2010

From Mary Duval - CEO SOSEN, Inc.

 Age of Consent: the Unknown Facts

Recently, my son Ricky, his wife and I appeared on the John Stossel show airing on Fox Business News regarding sex laws.

We flew to New York City with high hopes that we were going to be given a chance to educate America’s youths and their families. Daily we are contacted by parents who are horrified that their son or daughter is facing a life as a registered sex offender over consensual relationships.

Ex-Prosecutor Wendy Murphy, a “Victim Advocate,” was there to discuss why we need these laws. We sat in the green room listening to her and were insulted by her blatant ignorance of this issue. She protested to Stossel himself that these cases are “rare,” referring to the Frank Rodriguez case from Texas. He had consensual sex with his girlfriend Nikki who was 15. Now they are married with four children. Nonetheless, Frank is now a lifetime Registered Sex Offender under Texas law.

Obviously, we know of the Romeo cases as we hear more and more of these youth’s tragedies across this country and how they are destroying their lives with a never-ending punishment. Examples of some of these incredible tragedies would be young Brandon who at 17 had consensual sex with a young lady. She lied about her age and now he is serving a sixty year sentence in a Texas penitentiary. Then, there's X. At 19 had consensual sex with his 16 year old girlfriend and served prison time. Now, he is required by law to register for ten years, or until a new retroactive law passes and he is forced to register for life. Cody was 18 when he met a young lady at a party and had consensual sex. She was 14. Now Cody is facing ten years for Failure to Register, as the Assistant District Attorney wants to make an example out of this kid. He will simply be one more of thousands in the Bureau of Prisons. Meet Billy who at 18 had consensual sex with his then 13 year old girlfriend and now, under California law, he is a registered sex offender for life.

These stories are merely a just a few of the thousands. Now, not just the consensual relationships, but sexting and internet solicitation rear their ugly heads as crimes worthy of registration, amongst this generation.

So where was the discussion on prevention and education for the thousands of parents watching the Fox Business Channel?

Yes, Stossel had a map with a color scheme regarding your state’s Age of Consent laws. It was colorful and bright, but was it informative? Did it cover what happens if you do not meet your state age of consent? What does Age of Consent mean legally? What are the consequences for violating this law? What does it mean to be a Registered Sex Offender? What are the facts regarding recidivism, treatment and risk based assessments?

Another consideration is the Federal age of consent. Regardless of what age your state has codified, the Federal age is 18 for both sexes. What this means is that if a state line is crossed in one of these cases, it is a Federal crime. Also, with the passage of the Adam Walsh Act, a Federal prosecutor can “pick up” one of these cases to be prosecuted in Federal court when it occurs within state.

Even if we had the opportunity to delve into answering those questions, how do we prevent this from happening to more youths? As parents, educators, community leaders, media and physicians, what steps do we need to take to educate our children about the laws? Should Planned Parenthood be required to educate those individuals under age who come to them for birth control with no parental consent or notification? Legally, are they contributing to the delinquency of a minor?

According to Wendy Murphy, not only are these cases "rare" but District Attorneys simply do not prosecute these types of cases. She is ill informed. Murphy protests if this is happening we should advocate for better District Attorneys or, even better, to put more info on the registry page so the public viewing it can see Frank is not a serious threat to them or their families. She stated that after knowing Frank twenty seconds, she would allow her children to play with Frank’s kids. What this statement proved is Wendy Murphy is a blustering voice who has no real clue on how the registry affects the lives of those it touches including the families of those registered.

None of these concerns were discussed. The interview was edited to fit the time requirements for the Stossel show. It’s understandable, since media has a time frame they work with and are held too. But should we as parents, grandparents, teachers and citizens ask for another show to discuss these issues so we do not find our sons or daughters on the registry as lifetime predators?

It’s time we work on prevention and awareness so that we do not destroy more Franks and Rickys across this country, under the banner of “protecting children.” In reality, we are destroying them and any future they may have. Life as a registered sex offender will affect their future housing, employment,
education and the parenting of their children who will also become victims of these laws.

As for Wendy Murphy, I challenge her to step up to the plate and discover whether indeed these are “rare” cases. Then my advice to her will be: “Get a clue.” I’d also ask her to work with me to instill programs into our schools, community clinics, Planned Parenthood and Health Departments to give parents and their children a chance to know the law and its consequences which cause more harm than good.

In reality, we all have a responsibility to prevent this from happening and working together so that we truly can save one child from the life as a Registered Sex Offender.

Mary Duval

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I am a 29 year old male who was falsely accused of rape when I was a minor. When I was 17 yrs old I got accused of raping a 16 year old female. But the thing is I didn't rape her! We have never engaged in any type of sexual activity. I am writing you because I have a family now and I am in desperate need of getting my story heard so that my name can be cleared!
    Prior to this night, Latoya English had been pursuing me for years. On the night that I supposedly raped her she had consensual sex with one of my friends, whom of which was also at my house. I later learned that she snuck out of her house that night, got in trouble with her parents, and ultimately put the blame on me.
    During court, Latoya let her mother do all of the talking instead of speaking up and telling the truth. I could not afford my lawyer therefore he insisted that I take the plea bargain, otherwise I could have been facing a 15 year sentence in prison.
    This experience has been very life changing even though it was 12 years ago. I am struggling to provide for my family (my wife and daughter) because I can’t keep a job, and as a result we keep getting evicted from our apartments/houses. At the end of each year, I have at least 15 to 20 W2's for my taxes because I keep getting fired. Continuously getting fired has been very frustrating for me because I have attended college for three years and I still am not able to obtain a job. The most devastating part of it all is that I have to register as a sex offender for the rest of my life!

    The question that I ask is: What would you do if you were me? Would u be able to handle this punishment for a crime that you didn’t commit?

    All I want Latoya English to do is take a lie detector test so the truth will be known and my name will be cleared! I have made several attempts to accomplish this goal via The Steve Wilko Show, Judge Mathis, Judge Pirro, Tyra Banks but she has declined every offer and repeatedly changes her phone number.

    I thank you in advance for taking the time out to read this. I also pray that this email has touched your heart and has moved you to help me accomplish my goal. I am more than willing to provide you with in depth details, because I have nothing to hide.

    Please contact me if you have any more questions.

    Thanks again,
    Roshawn Evans
    (713) 261-9618