February 5, 2016

If a 15-year-old boy masturbates, is he a pedophile?

That's a question that occurred to me, reading "Male Teen Takes Nude Photo of Himself, Charged with Making Child Porn/The kid, 15, could be placed on the sex offender registry."

60 comments:

Bob Boyd said...

"If a 15-year-old boy masturbates, is he a pedophile?"

And if he regrets it later, is he a child rapist?

Robert Cook said...

This just illustrates how sick our society is: sick in our compulsion to make any expression of sexuality, especially by physically adult young people--whose behavior, as a result of still-developing mental function, can often be impulsive and ill-considered--into pathology or deviance; and sick in our automatic reaction of imposing harshly disproportionate, often life-ruining punishment on any act that is deemed criminally unacceptable to society.

tim maguire said...

Insanity, but not entirely surprising. Many in government forgot the reason why we forbid child pornography a long time ago. It used to be about protecting children, but it's become an end in itself. It's not about protecting anybody anymore.

Which I suppose had to happen to square with the broad societal trend towards sexualizing our children.

tim maguire said...

Mr. Cook, you are exactly right.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

Well put, Robert.

Ann Althouse said...

"And if he regrets it later, is he a child rapist?"

No mental element is needed. He is underage.

samanthasmom said...

As a former high school teacher, I've witnessed kids doing a lot of stupid things. I don't think this kid belongs in prison or on a sex registry, but if we're going to give tacit approval to kids for sexting based on "they all do it", then we have to expect the kids to take responsibility for any fallout that comes from sending nude pictures of themselves. Because sending a nude photo of your girlfriend all over school to pay her back for dumping you is something "they all do", too. When one of my students came to me all upset because her former boyfriend had shared some bra shots of her with all of his friends, I asked her if she had given the photo to him or had he stolen it? She said she had sent it to him. I told her then it was a gift, and when someone gives you a gift, it's yours to do whatever you want with it. I don't know how we convince kids to think about the long term ramifications of something other than to make them deal with consequences of their actions.

Laslo Spatula said...

"If a 15-year-old boy masturbates, is he a pedophile?"

Wouldn't it depend on who he was masturbating?

I am Laslo.

Michael K said...

The "sexting" thing is a sick sign of where the culture has gone. It's step beyond the tattoos I see on all sorts of young women and some old enough to know better.

I do wonder if the obsession with "rape culture" is a reaction to the sexual license that seems to common in teen aged girls.

It's a sort of mental pathology. I have three daughters and four grand daughters. So far, no tattoos.

One daughter came home one day and, to tease me, showed me a small tattoo on her arm. It was the peel off type as she demonstrated after I had a heart attack.

Bob Boyd said...

He may also be guilty of child endangerment. I mean, he could have gone blind.

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

It's a sort of mental pathology. I have three daughters and four grand daughters. So far, no tattoos.

I have offered each of my daughters $1000 if she can make it to age 30 without a tattoo. I figure it's money well spent as it teaches deferral of gratification, not to mention that by thirty she will see how absurd a fad it is and will no doubt be mature enough to spend a modest windfall in a sensible way.

mezzrow said...

It's entirely about removing decisions of prosecution out of the hands of law enforcement, so they (law enforcement) can feel protected from society. File this under in the same folder as the youngster who was suspended for months over offering her inhaler to a friend. Keeping on top of this sort of things will create scads of jobs for union members, though.

we're just enforcing the law, we don't have any input beyond that. Just doing my job.

Zero tolerance for drug abuse or child sex. That's the law and that's how I get to collect my pension down the road and my paycheck this month, which is of course the prime directive.

What's the cost of a young life or two when compared with that?

Tank said...

Ann Althouse said...

"And if he regrets it later, is he a child rapist?"

No mental element is needed. He is underage.


This made me LOL. Thinking about it, this is the kind of "lawyer joke" that lawyers tell each other.

===========================================

Tats. Got my first one at age 59, a Gibson SG. Young people don't think about this the way our (old and older) generation does. My kids and their friends, all good kids, with jobs, college degrees, supporting themselves, would not ascribe anything negative to them, other than it might be a problem at work (because of older generations).

tim in vermont said...

We are all rapists, At least all of us who ever had sex with a partner who was drunk or high, even if he or she was a long term partner, so why can't we all be pedophiles too?

gerry said...

He is not a pedophile. He may be an ephebophile.

Laslo Spatula said...

I looked up the following to see if sexting was a predominately 'white' thing. It isn't: Sexting amongst minorities scholar piece.

I am curious if these cases get handled equally, or if the hammer falls predominantly on white kids.

As in: we need to save the white kids from embarrassing mom and dad, while -- with the minorities -- eh.

SWW: Sexting While White?

I am Laslo.

PuertoRicoSpaceport.com said...

If a 16 year old boy masturbates another 16 yr old boy would it be statutory rape? Or is penetration required for that? I am sure it would be a crime but what?

In any event, I gather that you are saying, Ann, that the boy would be just as guilty masturbating himself as he would be masturbating some other 16 year old?

I guess that makes sense from a legal perspective.

It seems batshit crazy from any other.

John Henry

tim maguire said...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...I have offered each of my daughters $1000 if she can make it to age 30 without a tattoo. I figure it's money well spent as it teaches deferral of gratification, not to mention that by thirty she will see how absurd a fad it is

I got my first and only tattoo at age 35. 14 years later I have never regretted it.

samanthasmom said...
As a former high school teacher, I've witnessed kids doing a lot of stupid things. I don't think this kid belongs in prison or on a sex registry, but if we're going to give tacit approval to kids for sexting based on "they all do it", then we have to expect the kids to take responsibility


I doubt you'll get any objection to that, but "taking responsibility" is not what we're talking about. Ruining a kids life "for his own protection" is what we are talking about.

Gahrie said...

If a 15-year-old boy masturbates, is he a pedophile?

Only if he does it in front of someone else...

Big Mike said...

Teens who create and share sexy photos aren’t child pornographers. They are teenagers. To pretend the law can suppress their natural curiosity about their own bodies, and each other’s, is to subscribe to vindictive madness...

Robby Soave has it absolutely right. In my opinion each and every adult associated with this case -- complaintants, Detective Mohoney, Detective Mohoney's supervisor, DA, everybody -- needs remedial education about kids and/or needs to be forbidden to hold a position of responsibility where they will be brought into contact with children.

rhhardin said...

Child sexual abuse was found to be ratings gold in the 70s, and the rest is history.

rhhardin said...

The Majesty of the Lap.

Laslo Spatula said...

Mr. Jones, Diversity Seminar Instructor, meets with a High School Class:

"Kids, I am Mr. Jones, and I am here to help you better understand Diversity. Stop rolling your eyes, this shouldn't be too painful: after all, you're not nearly as racist as your parents, probably...

Now, you all are young, and all in love with yourselves: that's OK, you have time to get old and self-loathing later. But part of this love: you just have to share it with your friends, right? And what better way than to take a photo of your junk on your cellphone and send it to them...

Now this is for the white boys: have you ever sent that photo of your junk to a Black Girl? I know you send it to all the white ones, but there aren't any Black Girls on that Distribution, are there? And I mean REAL Black Girls, not those latte girls that look white from a distance...

And, white girls: you ever send those topless pics to a Black Brother? Because Black Brothers don't mind looking at white titties -- we can say 'titties', we're all good in here -- but you keep them out of the loop, don't you? Let me guess: you might even be a bit afraid to show those off to a Black Brother, he might get ideas, and then you have a Black Man all looking you over: scary...

And you Black Boys and Girls: I bet you don't send your pictures to the white kids, do you? Maybe because white mommy and daddy might call the Po-Lice on a black kid doing such a thing to their precious little white child...?

I'm not telling you to send naked photos, now -- but I know you will, because you're young and horny, you're bursting at the seams. I'm just asking you to look inside yourselves, and to examine why you only send nude photos to your own race. because if you can't trust one another with your nude photos we will NEVER get to be the Society Martin Luther King Jr. died for...


I am Laslo.

Browndog said...

If a 15-year-old boy masturbates, is he a pedophile?

If a 15-year-old girl masturbates, is she a victim?

Laura said...

How many underage women are prosecuted for the same behavior? How many magazines have published child porn?

T J Sawyer said...

According to this source, pedophilia could be the least of the boy's worries.

http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/catholicchurch/masturbation-mortal-sin/#.VrS7EuZZOM8

The nuns used to tell us stories of the young man/woman who was unable to get to confession and absolution before being hit by a truck...

I Have Misplaced My Pants said...

I got my first and only tattoo at age 35. 14 years later I have never regretted it.

If my girls decide in their thirties to get one, I'm all for it, because it'll be a carefully considered decision at that point.

I'm not a tattoo hater, necessarily; I've considered getting one myself, on my inner wrist (I'm 36); I just don't want them to cover themselves in stupid ink at 20 that they are going to regret later. If I can save them that by dangling a little money, why not? I stole the idea from a Kate Atkinson novel, btw, in which a divorced policeman dad made that deal with his teen daughter.

My youngest child is in kindergarten which leads me to spend time at the school around young moms-25ish-and my GOD are they covered in ink these days, even compared to ten years ago when I was at that stage of life. Maybe they won't ever regret that gigantic sunflower on the outer thigh or cheetah spots covering the shoulder, but I doubt it.

[If you squint, this is not off-topic, because it's related to teenagers and impulsivity....? ]

Rae said...

A good general rule for life is don't take pictures of your genitals.

Ann Althouse said...

"It seems batshit crazy from any other."

It is darkly comic commentary on a news article.

You do not have to share my humor, but when something seems nonsensical, you should test the theory that it is humor. It may not be funny, but it is not crazy.

Static Ping said...

The law is the typical "we must do something right now" law that was passed without thinking it through. Much like the "Romeo & Juliet" exception to statutory rape laws, they will eventually get around to reclassifying this sort of activity as either not a crime or some lesser crime.

But, yeah, sending pictures of your junk is a stupid idea.

madAsHell said...

Tattoos!?!?
I'm never gonna put a bumper sticker on this Ferrari.

glenn said...

Just because you can doesn't mean you should.

FleetUSA said...

Maybe we have too many laws/lawyers willing to imaginatively ascribe crimes. FleetUSA, Esq.

Nichevo said...

Don't worry, professor, we're used to the nonsensical from you. This is a little shy of "darkly comic commentary" much as the MHP described incident was shy of serious. I think it qualifies as snark. But don't worry, you've made it easier not to take you seriously.

MadisonMan said...

There is absolutely no reason this kid should be harassed like this.

I echo the comment above that the professionals in charge of this litigation should be fired.

dreams said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Larry J said...

Bob Boyd said...
He may also be guilty of child endangerment. I mean, he could have gone blind.


Well, he could stop when he needs glasses. Or not.

This whole issue of charging kids with child pornography crimes for taking nude pictures of themselves reminds me of an infamous saying from the Vietnam war: In order to save the children, we must destroy them.

Terry said...

Years ago I heard that this sort of charge was impossible because it's impossible (by definition) to exploit yourself.

Fernandinande said...

By definition, no. But for purposes of the stupid discussion, he might be a hebephile, like most homosexual priests, or a ephebophile. But probably not.

coupe said...

I didn't read the other comments yet, but I would like to answer the titles question: yes.

Short of publishing it: no

mikee said...

I for one await Althouse's leading questions on the 12 year old males' No Reason Boners.

Steve Uhr said...

After a few jury nullifications, the police and prosecutors may think of a better way to spend their limited resources.

William said...

The DA should be placed on some kind of registry. There should be a registry of the hysterically Puritanical, and the people on it should not be allowed to supervise or discipline children in any way..........Every generation creates their own sexual mores, dance crazes, and musical styles. The older generation can only look on in slack jawed horror. If a Prussian officer was caught dancing the waltz, he was cashiered out of the service. In retrospect, I think we can all agree that it would have been better if the Prussian general staff had lightened up a little bit.......I don't understand or approve of rap music, sexting, or tattoos, but neither do I think that they're the death rattle of a dying civilization.

n.n said...

Not masturbation, publication. It's the difference between suicide and abortion.

Wayworn Wanderer said...

The elites are pigs. May the assholes who charged this kid burn in hell, soon.

Jason said...

These LEOs and DAs sure do seem to find any piddling excuse to and examine and curate evidence, don't they?

Smilin' Jack said...

If a 15-year-old boy masturbates, is he a pedophile?

No, but if he finds a 15-year-old girl attractive, he is. Pedophilia, like homosexuality, is about what attracts you, not what you do about it.

tim in vermont said...

Skinny dipping, however, will still be allowed on the grounds of nostalgia.

jr565 said...

if there are laws about child porn and you make porn about yourself and are underage, its still child porn. Not sure if that was the intent of the law, but the factors of the law that determine if its ponr are the age requirement and whether it meets "porn" standards. If this passes that, then it might just be child porn.
Perhaps they should rewrite the law to require that child porn be disseminated for profit or require at least two individuals engaged in the act on camera, so as to not ensnare people who film themselves masturbating.
If they sold that video though, you might still charge them with child porn. or if there was a person behind the camera other than the person masturbating, filming the event HE might be charged with porn.

JCCamp said...

The original story makes no mention of the sex offender registry. That was added by Reason.com, which forgot to mention that the addition was speculative at best. According to Michigan statute, juveniles are added to the sex offender registry only if they are tried as adults and convicted in adult court.
There was absolutely no hint of this happening, no apparent thought of such in the original article from either cops or prosecutors. who seemed to be saying they were concerned with the risk to the children of bullying or mental health from the spread of the photos among the peer group.
So, all this hate over what? Reason.com trying to find a hook to complain about the government by making up shit?

So, some students brought this to the attention of the school, after photos of a 14 or younger male masturbating taken with the apparent approval of the girl whose phone he used to take the photos, and who then passed the photos around, including to a 2nd female who also passed the photos on. The school brought in the cops. What would you suggest the cops do in this circumstance? It's a town of about 7,000. The local high school has an enrollment of just over 700. The cops decided to charge the kids and let someone else in authority deal with it. Maybe not the best idea, but not the end of the world either by sending this mess to a juvenile court to handle.

jimbino said...

I remember that we 12-yr-old Boy Scouts of the 50s could gain a Merit Badge for such a thing.

rsbsail said...

There is a lot to be said for being a prude. Maybe we will once again find the merits for such a thing.

tim in vermont said...

Illustrating absurdity with absurdity... Where have I heard that?

Skeptical Voter said...

If a 15 year old boy doesn't is he alive?

Robert Cook said...

"if there are laws about child porn and you make porn about yourself and are underage, its still child porn. Not sure if that was the intent of the law/...."

Of course it wasn't. Such laws are intended to punish perverts or profiteers who rape children and record their acts to distribute to others for profit or for mutual enjoyment. It is a perversion of the law to apply it to young people engaging in typically foolish young people behavior.

Doug said...

Perhaps they should rewrite the law to require that child porn be disseminated for profit or require at least two individuals engaged in the act on camera, so as to not ensnare people who film themselves masturbating.
What if a twelve-year-old filmed herself masturbating at the behest of an adult - for favors or other considerations, but not money - and then the adult sold the videos to pedophiles? If the adolescent isn't held responsible for filming herself and transmitting the video, would it be logical to assume that pedophiles would discover a rich new vein of porn to plunder?

Kirk Parker said...

MadMan,

"I echo the comment above that the professionals in charge of this litigation should be fired."

As long as we're talking real fire, I'll second you!

Kirk Parker said...

Terry,

"Years ago I heard that this sort of charge was impossible because it's impossible (by definition) to exploit yourself."

Yeah, tell this to Thomas Frank, ok?

Kirk Parker said...

Doug,

"What if a twelve-year-old filmed herself masturbating at the behest of an adult "

Go to H*ll. (And I say that as someone who thinks that That Place might actually exist.)

The road there is paved by disgusting do-gooders like you who want to insert themselves in the The Lives Of Others.

JCCamp said...

@ Robert Cook -

The intent of child pornography laws are to sanction behavior that encourages exploiting sexual activity of minors, so that there is a disincentive for such exploitation. The disincentive can be for both adults and minors, because it's not only adults who can exploit the sexual activity of minors.

Whether the cited case is an appropriate use of the statute is beyond any of our knowledge from the facts as cited in the error-filled and speculative OP.

Your first post was quite the condemnation of society, based on a completely dishonest Reason.com story, and your suggestion about "automatic reaction" actually applies better to your post than the story. But, of course, what you ignore is that the photos came to the attention of the school authorities - and the cops - because the 13 and 14 year old peer group saw something wrong with the photos being passed and around and brought them to the school. So even the other children saw something wrong - yes, a basic value judgement about the pictures and sharing them, not 'typical foolish young people behavior.'