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Mother [not] Prosecuted for Teaching Kid Safe Sex (Update)

By tiamat in MLP
Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 10:34:45 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)

In this article Eloquence posted a story about a Milwaukee women being prosecuted for not stoping her son from having sex.

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Here's a copy of the letter the DA sent to people who wrote as concered citizens.

Sorry, the letter is in the form of a .jpg

In short, they've droped the charges because their concerns were dealth with through other means.


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Mother [not] Prosecuted for Teaching Kid Safe Sex (Update) | 16 comments (7 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
Here in Milwaukee... (2.75 / 4) (#2)
by Nafai on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:15:31 PM EST

We have this "safe sex thing" going on, our Mayor is in trouble for doing it with one of his workers, Mark Chmura is in court for sexually assulting a teenager.

Then there is the bridge thing.

My little city is just falling apart.

Hmmm... (2.00 / 2) (#6)
by marlowe on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:33:54 PM EST

So did she consent to being sexually assaulted?


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[ Parent ]
See the last paragraph (4.16 / 6) (#3)
by Delirium on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 02:20:37 PM EST

The last paragraph of the DA's letter repeats what I mentioned in my post to the previous story and which everyone seems to be missing: she was not prosecuted for teaching her kid safe sex. That is perfectly legal. She was prosecuted for not stopping an illegal act (someone having legally non-consensual sex with her child, i.e. sexually assaulting him, since he was below the legal age of consent).

She is perfectly fine to teach whatever she wants, including teaching the use of condoms and other other safe sex methods. She just can't, as a legal guardian, ignore felonies committed against her child.

Thing is... (4.00 / 1) (#16)
by fluffy grue on Sun Jan 28, 2001 at 03:14:28 AM EST

You skewed the meaning of the story by going on about how she was being prosecuted for teaching her son safe sex. In fact, that was the title of the article. You didn't exactly draw any distinctions there...
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[ Parent ]

The Letter (4.30 / 13) (#9)
by QuoteMstr on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 03:14:46 PM EST

For people who don't want to wait for the jpg to load, here is the letter itself:

January 24, 2001

For those who have shown an interest in the State v. Wendy Fisher
case, I have provided the following summary of the public facts, as
well as some of the reasons I filed these charges. Not all the
information known by law enforcement or myself at the time I chose to
charge Ms. Fisher are public and must continue to be confidential, as
governed by state statutes.

The charge against Ms. Fisher was based, in part, upon Ms. Fisher's
admission that her 12-year-old son told her he had been sexually
active for about a year, in other words, since he was 11 years old.
Anyone who has sexual contact or sexual intercourse with a person who
is 12 years old or younger can be charged in adult or juvenile court
with First-Degree Sexual Assault, punishable by up to 60 years of
imprisonment. A 12-year-old or younger person cannot legally give
consent to sexual intercourse or contact.

Six days after her son's 13th birthday, the boy advised Detective
Edwards of the Baraboo Police Department that he wished to be checked
for a sexually transmitted disease (STD). AS part of Detective
Edwards' investigation, Ms. Fisher admitted that her 12 year old son
told her he was sexually active for about a year and she believed her
12 year old son was too young. Ms. Fisher also admitted that she did
not contact law enforcement, human services or anyone else. This
despite the fact that her son was a victim of a very serious crime and
there was the possibility he had contracted a STD. Based on the
totality of the information determined during his investigation,
Detective Edwards referred Ms. Fisher for charging.

The State did not charge Ms. Fisher because she discussed birth
control with her son or how to use condoms. The State charged Ms.
Fisher for her lack of action, which exposed her 12-year-old son to an
unreasonable risk of being a victim of First-Degree Sexual Assault in
the future. The State was concerned about the protection and needs of
the son. The State moves to dismiss this case on January 19th, as the
State's concerns have now been addressed. Until the case was
dismissed, I ethically did not feel I should discuss this pending
matter to correct the misstatements about the basis of the charge.

P.A. Barrett
Sauk Country District Attorney

A very impressive case - for the Internet (3.71 / 7) (#11)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 04:51:41 PM EST

This is one of the best documentable cases of the Net media having a stronger influence on a non-tech related issue than the non-net media. Some background: I learned about the case from Plastic.com (see original story) and sent notices to mailing lists and other news sites, including international ones, with a call to write letters to the DA. I am pretty sure that most e-mails that reached the DA's office did so based on my initiative -- the e-mail address was not included in any previous report on the subject I have seen.

This initiative was started on January 16 and 17. The case was dismissed on January 19. Many people, in the original story, chose to do nothing, with the reasoning that writing e-mails wouldn't accomplish anything. Well, I am pretty sure that, given the fact that the DA's office has sent a rather long letter to all of the involved people, our collaborative action certainly had something to do with the fact that the case was dismissed. We're talking about international e-mails here, not only from the K5 community, but from journalists and scientists as well. This is a success for those who actually acted -- net activism works, and nobody should ever again get away with the "I agree that it's wrong, but protesting doesn't work" reasoning.

I want to comment, albeit only shortly, on the actual content of the letter. I think that Zaphod has already summed things up pretty well in his reply to the original article. BTW, I have never claimed that the official reason for prosecuting the mother was that she bought her son condoms -- it was quite clear from the news story that the case was based on the fact that the mother did not prevent her son from engaging in sexual activity. However, I have always claimed -- and will continue to do so -- that it is not possible to teach meaningful safe sex if the same person who does so has a legal obligation to teach (and enforce) chastity. Claiming that this is possible IMHO borders on the ridiculous. Therefore, I didn't find the title Plastic and I chose for the story misleading but, in fact, very appropriate.

Anyway, if you agree that kids of that age are able to have consensual sex with girls of a similar age and that prosecuting a mother for not stopping a kid from engaging in such a consensual sexual relationship ("assault") is barbaric, you should celebrate the case dismissal. It is quite likely that we, as a group of concerned citizens, have prevented a mother from going to jail. It is quite possible that we may gain even more power in the future.
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Age of Consent (4.50 / 4) (#14)
by interiot on Thu Jan 25, 2001 at 09:01:01 PM EST

A chart has been put together which lists the legal age of consent for intercourse with another person of the same age: AgeOfConsent.com. Many countries and all US states are included, and statistics cover M/F as well as M/M and F/F sex laws.

I guess it surprises me how high some of these ages are-- I'd heard reports that the average age of first-time sex is anywhere from 14 to 18, which means that a fair number of people have sex before that age. I suppose this is yet another case of sex laws that don't match with reality because they're usually unenforcible, and therefore don't have a strongth pressure to change them.

Mother [not] Prosecuted for Teaching Kid Safe Sex (Update) | 16 comments (7 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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