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Thursday, October 05, 2006
Our Schizophrenic Attitude Towards the Sexualization of Young Adults

This seems to be one of the few aspects of the Foleygate story that is being ignored. On the liberal side of the blogosphere, it's because it undercuts their theme of Foley as a pedophile; on the conservative side, it's because we are uncomfortable with the sexualization of "children".

But at some point we need to discuss the real issue, which is that legally, Foley could have had sex with as many 16-year-old pages as he desired (provided of course that they did not resist his advances), because 16 years old is the age of consent in Washington DC. It is also the age of consent in Maryland, but in Virginia it's 18, so if Foley's residence was in Arlington, he could have broken the law.

Now we can all agree that what Foley did was unconscionable for other reasons; because Foley was in a position of power which he was effectively abusing, because legal or not, it's creepy as hell for a man in his 50s to be having sex with high schoolers, because Congressmen should be held to a higher ethical (if not legal) standard. And there is the apparent issue of Foley offering drinks to the page which is certainly illegal in any of those areas.

But if we agree that the age of consent in Washington DC is and should be 16, then it is hard to argue, as Michelle Malkin does, that "The young man was the prey, not the predator."

Don't get me wrong here; I'm not saying that the young man was the predator, as Drudge apparently has. But I am saying that laws are there for a reason; to tell us the bounds of legal (if not moral) behavior. In DC, 15-year-olds and younger are fenced off from adults; 16-year-olds are legal, because they are considered old enough to make their own decisions about sex.

We can argue whether that's appropriate, but I don't see anybody calling for the age of consent to be raised. Certainly exceptions can be crafted to deal with the "Romeo and Juliet problem", where, say, a 16-year-old young man has sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, but in fact, DC's laws already contain such an exception. So it seems plain to me that the intent of the law is to simply say that 16-year-olds are old enough to consent. And if they're old enough to consent, then they are not prey; they are adults for the purposes of sex.

Anybody know where Foley kept his residence?

Update: Think Progress chastises Instapundit and Pajamas Media for linking to Wild Bill's story, supposedly because Wild Bill doesn't have a lot of traffic and therefore the "damage" to the "victim" would have been minimal. However, this ignores that mainstream media sources also picked up on the story.

Again, if the law is that 16 is the age of consent, then there is no victim. If we want to prohibit adults from having sex with 16-year-olds (and there is quite a bit of indication that the young man in question was 18 when the most disgusting instant messages were sent), then let's make it illegal.
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