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A little slice of urban blight

This morning's Boston papers both featured a horrifying story: a 19-year-old man was killed by his 8-months-pregnant 16-year-old girlfriend in her family's apartment in South Boston. (Glob link omitted on personal bias.)

This never should have happened.

First, he had no business dating this girl. If she is 16 now and eight months pregnant, I'd wager serious money they were having sex when she was 15 -- and below the age of consent. He should have been arrested for statutory rape.

Second, there are reports that he had slapped her around before. He should have been charged with domestic violence.

Third, this girl is dealing with not only the raging hormones of being a teenaged girl, but those of an eight months pregnant woman as well.

I can see her lawyer taking two angles for the defense here: self-defense (citing the reports of prior violence) and diminished capacity (citing the above-mentioned hormones). I don't know how this case will play out, and won't make any predictions.

But I think it's worth noting that there are three lives here that have been changed forever (one fatally) because nobody bothered to look at a pregnant girl and realized that was almost certainly prima facie evidence of a crime, and then acted accordingly. The man is dead, the girl will have this following her the rest of her life, and the baby has almost no chance of anything resembling a normal life.

If it's a girl, I wonder if that means in about 15 years from now we get to see a similar horror story replayed.


Comments (32)

and diminished capacity ... (Below threshold)
Steve L.:

and diminished capacity (citing the above-mentioned hormones).

Would this then be a hormonicide?

JayTea,What was yo... (Below threshold)
Mike:

JayTea,

What was your opinion of statuatory rape of the girl from Milton Academy? I know you remember that story. So an 18 yr. old having sex with a 15 yr. old should be statuatory rape? That could be a high school senior and a high school freshman, does that sound like an arrestable offense if the sex is consensual?

If this girl was acting in self-defense then by all means, this girl was did the right thing and should not be punished. Otherwise, you other points are just cherry picked to express outrage about story in Massachusetts that could have happened anywhere.

So it's your theory that we should go around arresting every high school senior that has sex with someone in their own school that is under the age of consent? The reason being because it may result in their pregnant girfriend murdering them? That doesn't make sense and sounds more like some Monday Morning Quarterbacking on your part.

Although I do agree, chances are this kid is going to be thoroughly screwed up.

Mike: In short, yes, we sh... (Below threshold)
Drew:

Mike: In short, yes, we should go around arresting anyone who is breaking the law. What does it have to do with anything just because they go to the same school. He's 18, hence he is a legal adult, subject to all the laws and rules thereof.

JT says: First, he had n... (Below threshold)
clt510:

JT says: First, he had no business dating this girl. If she is 16 now and eight months pregnant, I'd wager serious money they were having sex when she was 15 -- and below the age of consent.

In many states (I don't know about Massachusetts) the age of consent drops if the partners are within two years of age. There is usually quite a bit of lenience in enforcing this law when a violation has occurred.

Based on my own observations, examples which would likely be enforced include:

1) Her father is the mayor.
2) He is 40.
3) There are clear signs of physical coercion in the sexual relationships (forceable rape) and a complaint is filed on her behalf.
4) The DA dislikes the male, or the male has a prior criminal record, and her parents have filed a statutory rape complaint.

In many states, the OBGYN is supposed to file a complaint on her behalf if he becomes aware that she is underage and her partner is outside the legal age. However, she simply has to lie about her partners age. Similar story with the hospital after birth, as long as she leaves his name off the marriage certificate.

As Mike pointed out, there is nothing that different about the way this coupled behaved and thousands of other youths of other youths around the country. The big problem was the prior record of domestic violence before Jamie got her gun. This should have tripped a wire, and he should have been investigated both for domestic violence as well as statutory rape.

Drew please. Statuatory ra... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Drew please. Statuatory rape laws were written (as I understand them) to protect minors from adults in authoritative positions that could use those positions to manipulate the minors into having sex. The idea that we should be investigating whether high school kids (one of legal age of consent and one not) are having sex and then putting them away is ridiculous.

I think Jay makes a good point in that authorities should investigate when a 15 year old gets pregnant. But if it is determined that it was from her 18 yr old boyfriend, then I don't think it was a crime. Pregnant teens and high school seniors having sex with freshmen is hardly urban blight as Jay writes here.

I don't know that the age d... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I don't know that the age difference here bothers me that much. I don't think a two to three year age difference automatically means sex offender or statutory rape.

Also, having experienced pregnancy hormones four times, and never feeling the urge to commit a murder, I can't say that I am going to bite too quickly at the "raging hormones" defense either.

I do have to agree that there are several lives here that have been ruined or taken away forever.

The kid's life doesn't have... (Below threshold)

The kid's life doesn't have to be ruined. If there's any justice it will be adopted, while the mother spends at least a few decades in jail. Murder is murder, I don't care if she's 16 and has hormones, the guy is just as dead as he would be if she killed him a couple years later.

Mike, I think we have it ri... (Below threshold)
Jay Tea:

Mike, I think we have it right here in New Hampshire: the statutory rape laws do not apply if the two people are a year or so apart in age (I don't recall the particulars -- I think it's within 1 year). That would not apply in this case, because there appears to be a three-year difference here.

The Milton case... again, maybe against the 17 and 18 year olds, but they're charging the 16 year olds first, and the girl was 15. I'd give them a bye, go after the older boys.

J.

If it's a girl, I wonder... (Below threshold)

If it's a girl, I wonder if that means in about 15 years from now we get to see a similar horror story replayed.

I think you are making a lot of assumptions here! Give the child a chance at life before you write his/her chances off huh?? Sheesh!

Jay Tea,We will re... (Below threshold)
Mike:

Jay Tea,

We will respectfully disagree then, I don't see how you can differentiate between the actions of a high school sophomore with that of a junior or senior when it comes to having sex.

To think that you would then justify having these kids be registered as sex offenders for the next 20 years (the older kids at Milton that is) for essentially having consensual oral sex with a girl in their high school is incredible.

Again, I just don't think this particular case you cite has anything to do with statuatory rape. This girl, if not acting in self-defense, was already on the road to a criminal life.

Can tell there are not a lo... (Below threshold)

Can tell there are not a lot of fathers of teenage daughters posting here. As a dad, I'm clearly biased, but NO an 18 year old should keep his grubby hands off a 15 year old girl.

Jay those laws are often re... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

Jay those laws are often referred to as Romeo and Juliet laws, and most states have some version on the books. I haven't got a clue what or if NH has one, but I know another state I lived in had one, that was 2 years, although anyone over the age of 16 was considered to be capable of consent and anyone below 13 was considered incapable of consent.

To Mike and anyone else who... (Below threshold)
KBiel:

To Mike and anyone else who believes an 18 y/o should not be charged with statuatory rape.

So, just when the hell do we consider a person an adult. If an 18 y/o can be charged with every other adult crime, then they can certainly be charged with statuatory rape. There are very few 18 y/o who don't know that there is a HUGE maturity gap b/w 15 and 18. That is why freshmen are generally dispised and ridiculed in HS.

When an 18 year old is stil... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

When an 18 year old is still in high school, and dating another high schooler who is a couple or so years younger. Or if the 18 year old is having sex with say a 13 or 14 year old. But I don't think consensual sex between two teenagers is automatically statutory rape.

I think there is a good reason for romeo and juliet type laws.

KBiel,I am saying ... (Below threshold)
Mike:

KBiel,

I am saying that when a high school senior is dating a high school freshmen it is ridiculous to think that consensual sex between the two is akin to statuatory rape. I understand the law as it is written, I just don't think it is correct when applied to individuals at the same school. An 18 yr old high school senior with a middle school girl, well that's a different story.

There are very few 18 y/o who don't know that there is a HUGE maturity gap b/w 15 and 18. That is why freshmen are generally dispised and ridiculed in HS.

This is hardly the case when it comes to male-female relationships. In fact I was always told that females mature much faster than males. And I never saw male seniors ridiculing female freshmen, and if they were, it was more like flirting. Senior males ridicule freshman males, yes, but it hardly has to do with maturity. Unless you consider the one doing the ridiculing the more mature individual.

How many lives have been ru... (Below threshold)

How many lives have been ruined by the failure to pay attention to Meatloaf's "Paradise by the Dashboard Light"?

If I had a daughter who was... (Below threshold)

If I had a daughter who was a freshman in high school, and a senior wanted to date her, I would explain "consent" to him this way:

"If you have 'consensual' sex with my daughter, I will have 'consensual' violence with you."

Jay Tea,... Where are her p... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

Jay Tea,... Where are her parents? I know teenage girls have a special way of thinking they are more mature than the boys their own age! So they have a way of persuading everyone and minipulating situations! It can be quite flattering to a 16 year old girl to turn the head of a 19 year old male. I just wonder why the parents didn't have a shorter leash on this 16 year old pregnant female? Emotionally and physically there are not that many Hormones can be out of control for both. The maturity of that age group is not real high...It is sad that this young girl was so out of control that she ended up at this place at this stage of her life! I just wonder WHERE are her parents! If someone had been abusing my child physically I would be packing her up and getting her away from that situation, I would think? ASAP...

Jay Tea, Sorry about the sp... (Below threshold)
Zsa Zsa:

Jay Tea, Sorry about the spelling and nonsense of what I wrote I hope you know I was just saying where are those parents?

First - the hormonal thing ... (Below threshold)

First - the hormonal thing is right on the money.

And if this girl is smart in any way at all, she will give her baby up for adoption and if she does, there will be no repeat of such a tragedy in 15 years. She even may be forced to give up the child and I sincerely hope that happens. She can't raise a child in jail.

Cindy

To those other commentators... (Below threshold)

To those other commentators: even if it is consensual sex, if you have sex with a girl under the age of 16 and the male is older, it is still statuatory rape - that's what it means.

Where were her parents? What about his parents? What about a school counselor? Anyone who could have taken responsibility for this girl? Where was her support system? She will indeed have to carry this with her for the rest of her life but she was let down by her personal and nonpersonal support system; that is neither right nor fair to her. This entire situation is a damn shame.

Cindy

I have to agree with the da... (Below threshold)

I have to agree with the dad above:

If I catch any 18 year old (or above) sleeping with my daughter before she's 18, I'll go after him for statuatory rape. I really don't care if it sits on his record for the rest of his life. Any 18 year old boy should know better than to touch a girl under 18.

And if either of my sons try it, there'll be hell to pay.

I guess I'm old-fashioned..... (Below threshold)

I guess I'm old-fashioned... I think teenagers in high school shouldn't be having sex, period, unless he/she is married and having sex with his/her spouse. I know I'm being naive, but dammit that would solve a lot of problems!

1) for those who have endor... (Below threshold)

1) for those who have endorsed adoption as a way to salvage this child's future (the mom and the baby), I whole-heartedly agree. Being a single mom is a sure ticket to poverty, even if you aren't in jail.
2) I like Mcghee's attitude toward's consensual sex for teenagers. May try that out some time.

Moreso, Silverbubble raises a valid point. Illigitimatecy is a horrible problem in the black community. Thomas Sowell made a statistically compelling argument that it accounts for the majority of black poverty in the U.S. today. If black leaders wanted to improve the lot of their racial demographic, they would be arresting teenagers who had sex, regardless of the age difference just to change the center of the argument. Currently, it's continue the status quo (welfare, government programs, etc.). Taking a radical, and unconstitutional, position like this might make the moderate argument become social condemnation of promiscuity (both male and female).

No doubt, when she reaches ... (Below threshold)
pete:

No doubt, when she reaches 21 she'll be so well-adjusted as to qualify to become one of Hugh Hefner's "girlfriends".

A neighbor sees this "coupl... (Below threshold)

A neighbor sees this "couple" arguing, witnesses the guy slapping the girl across the face and ....
what? We find out after a killing?

In CA the age of consent for sex is 18. No one, female or male, under 18 can consent to sex. The determination of whether or not charges will be filed as a misdemeanor or felony depends on the age difference between the defendant and the victim. More than a 3 year difference, and we are talking felony territory. If the victim is under 14, again, we are talking felony territory.

Rarely does the DA file charges if we are talking a dating relationship between a 18 y/o hs senior and a 16/17 y/o... at most there might be a plea bargain to lewd conduct with a suspended sentence, couple years of probation and if perp keeps their record clean, they can come back to court at the end of probation and get the case expunged... or the case won't even be dispo'd until after the 2 years at which time the case is dismissed.

However, any allegations of domestic violence and all bets are off.

"even if it is consensual s... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

"even if it is consensual sex, if you have sex with a girl under the age of 16 and the male is older, it is still statuatory rape - that's what it means."

It depends on the state and how the laws are written. Some states have romeo and juliet laws, that consider the age difference between the couple-it varies anywhere from 1 to 4 years difference. I haven't got a clue if Massachussettes has one of these laws or not, but I generally think they are a good idea in regards to consensual sex between teenagers.

Also, some states consider 16 to be old enough to consent, no matter what the age of the partner is, so there would be no statutory rape charge.

The whole statutory rape/do... (Below threshold)

The whole statutory rape/domestic violence thing in kind if moot he's dead. Obviously the parents didn't seem overly concerned about this either, because they should have been the ones to report this kind of thing. And yes, this kind of thing happens, probably more often in South Boston than in some other communities.

Yes this is tragic, and yes something should have been done earlier. Yet other pregnant teens seem to get through it without killing the father.

I just can't condone that, and I'm sure the opinion would be radically different if the boyfriend had killed the girl.

McGeehee's got the right at... (Below threshold)

McGeehee's got the right attitude, I think about the consensual part, but I've got to take exception to any "hormonal defense." It's like saying, "Well, she's human, so can't be held responsible" and would open the door for a "testosterone defense" as well. Then, how would that 19 year old male have any responsibility for the pregnancy, since his "little brain" was the one doing the thinking when that happened.


It's frightening that some ... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

It's frightening that some people seem a little too eager to defend an 18 y.o. having sex with a 15 y.o.
But hey, she's a freshman! And he's a senior! So it's o.k.!

Isn't it just a little creepy that a senior has to date a freshman? At the mid-teen level, the age difference is a bit of a mis-match; moreso than say, ten years later.

It's a good thing I don't h... (Below threshold)

It's a good thing I don't have kids. Any daughters of mine would hate me for scaring off dates with the line, "I got a shotgun, a shovel, and 50 acres of woods. Ain't nobody gonna miss you. `Specially not me an Ol' Painless here..." Any sons would be made to understand that I'm a believer in the whole "you broke it, you bought it" thing. They knock a girl up, I'll be alongside her daddy holding a shotgun at the wedding.

I have a question, is it il... (Below threshold)
Austin:

I have a question, is it illegal if I were to only "date" a 18 yr old? I mean I wouldn't do anything with her. I would probably just kiss her and stuff. Plz help me i need to know!!!




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