Comment of the Day: “The Kaitlyn Hunt Affair: Upon Further Review…”

And if Kaitlyn Hunt looked like this, would we be having this discussion?

And if Kaitlyn Hunt looked like this, would we be having this discussion?

John Garrison’s incisive Comment of the Day decisively adds Kaitlyn Hunt’s parents to the Kaitlyn Hunt Ethics Train Wreck, which has already enlisted them, the vigilante group Anonymous (itself a self-perpetuating ethics train wreck), the lazy news media, which apparently misreported the essential facts of the case, and the social media as passengers since my first post on the debacle.

Here are his comments on the follow-up post, The Kaitlyn Hunt Affair: Upon Further Review:

“There are a number of things that concern me about this case. First, I do agree that the law is very harsh in Florida. But we never seem to get the actual story from Kaitlyn’s parents. At first, they said that they were 17 when they started dating, and that the parents vindictively waited until Kaitlyn turned 18. That story seems to have changed around the time the police report was released stating that actual ages of the girls. At that time, the family claimed that the police not redacting the address was retaliation against them going to the media, even though it is not remotely unusual for the police not to redact the address of the accused. Continue reading

The Kaitlyn Hunt Affair: Upon Further Review…

This may not have been Juliet and Juliet after all...

This may not have been Juliet and Juliet after all…

As happens all too often with these viral ethics stories, the facts in the Kaitlyn Hunt case as represented in the first accounts appear to be wrong. Kaitlyn did not first become involved with her girlfriend when both were minors. According to an arrest affidavit , Kaitlyn and her girlfriend began dating in November 2012 when the younger girl was 14 and Kaitlyn was already 18.

Sorry, but that changes everything. Unless one is ready to assert as fact that lesbian relationships in which an adult, however young, becomes involved with a child are less dangerous and potentially damaging than heterosexual ones, Kaitlyn broke a law that is legitimate and sensible as it applies to her, and that law should be enforced. A 14- year old is not capable of meaningful or legal consent, and the opportunity for older, more experienced teens to exploit their inexperience, innocence and deference to older peers is significant and a genuine source of parental—and legal, and societal— concern. If the law permitted an 18/14 year-old sexual relationship between female teens, it would be difficult to explain why 18/12  year-old sexual relationships were materially different, and that being so, legal prohibition on 18-year-old young men seducing 12-year-old girls would be difficult to maintain. Continue reading

The Kaitlyn Hunt Affair

Child abuser?

Child abuser?

Once again, the ethical complexities of applying statutory rape and age of consent laws to relationships between non-adults and just barely adults has led to an ethics train wreck. The worst example in recent years has been the epic criminal system abuse of Genarlow Wilson, which if you are unfamiliar with his story and its aftermath, you should catch up here and here. The Kaitlyn Hunt case,however, has potential to be an epic of its own.

It appears that Floridian teen Kaitlyn Hunt was involved in a consensual, same-sex relationship with another girl in her school while both she and her partner were minors. They had started dating at the beginning of the school year, and the relationship had been known to both parents for months. Clearly the parents of the younger girl did not approve, for when Kaitlyn turned 18—the other girl was 15—they filed a criminal complaint with police. Continue reading

Outrageous Prosecution: The Eric Rinehart Story

Asst. U.S. Attorney DeBrotas predecessors

Eric Rinehart, a 34-year-old police officer in  Middletown, Indiana, began consensual sexual relationships with two young women, ages 16 and 17. Rinehart was going through a divorce at the time, and in Indiana, he was doing nothing illegal, for 16 is the age of consent in the Hoosier state? Unethical? I tend to think so, but that isn’t part of the story.

One of the girls told Rinehart that she had posed for erotic photos for an earlier, presumably younger boyfriend, and suggested that she do the same for him. So Rinehart gave her his camera, with which she took the lascivious photos. This inspired Rinehart to take some more sexy photos and at least one video of both girls, which he downloaded to his computer.

For this, Rinehart was convicted on two federal charges of producing child pornography. Continue reading