Sex Crimes


Read These Statutory Rape Controversies

Read These Statutory Rape Controversies

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Read These Statutory Rape Controversies
Kansas v. Limon


In 2001, the State of Kansas charged Matthew Limon with a 17-year prison sentence for criminal sodomy. Limon took his case to Kansas Appellate court to challenge his harsh sentence. Limon lived in a residential school for the developmentally disabled. Psychologists diagnosed with mild retardation. About a week after his 18th birthday, Limon performed consensual oral sex on his 15-year-old male friend. The difference in age between the two was approximately three years.
The fact is that if they were a straight couple, they would have been charged with statutory rape. Limon would have also been granted the sentencing protections of the Romeo and Juliet laws attached to existing statutory rape legislation, only the law did not apply to homosexual couples. Kansas' statutory rape law read in such a manner that clearly included sodomy between a teenage girl and teenage boy, this includes oral sex.
During Limon's trial, his attorneys petitioned the judge to drop the charges of criminal sodomy, arguing that the charge violated the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The Judge denied the motion and Limon was sentence to 17 years in Prison. A heterosexual would receive a year and three month sentence for the same crime. Matthew Limon subsequently filed for appeal.
The appellate court upheld Matthew Limon's sentence. The Romeo and Juliet laws of Kansas still stand without any provisions for cases involving homosexuals. This case is a textbook example of judicial discrimination. The Kansas v Limon case prompted many other states to include homosexual statutory rape in their legislation. Many states however, still do not cover homosexuals in their statutory rape legislation. This is an issue equal rights that LGBT activists and civil libertarians believe should apply to similar circumstances of any crime.


Other Controversies Surrounding Romeo and Juliet legislation


Romeo and Juliet do not settle the controversy surrounding cases involving teenagers within a two-year gap. Those who are still against harsh statutory rape penalties after the compromises encompassed in Romeo and Juliet legislation believe that the law should not at all prosecute a teenage couple with only a two year difference of age. They argue that two years is not enough of a developmental gap to constitute malicious intent on part of the older consenting sexual partner. 
The law in many states still regards consensual sex between a 17-year old and a 15-year old as an illegal act. Opponents of Romeo and Juliet legislation says that the law does not go far enough in judicial discretion on a case by case basis. Opponents also say that the changes to many states' statutory rape laws do not solve the problem of selective enforcement. The laws are typically selectively enforced by angry parents who do not approve of the relationship itself. Some parents choose to press charges while others do not. Opponents argue that statutory laws as they exist, are conducive to bias as a result of parental anger. Also, Romeo and Juliet legislation does not answer the question of what age is appropriate for youths to be legally eligible to consent to sex.   
 

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