Where's "The Donald" when you need him? Actually a few more Shannon Sullivans might serve just as well. Granted I don't live in Spokane but I'm beginning to think the city would be best served by throwing out the whole bunch and starting over. Is the story about firehouse sex too new for the reporters to have gotten hold of public outrage or has the citizenry become so numb from the recent West affair they haven't yet recovered?
When Doug Clark takes the city fathers to task in serious mode, as he did in his column Sunday in the Spokesman, you know at least the paper is doing its job!
I did some digging about the "age of consent" issue and found it to be less clear cut than the deputy prosecutor would like you to believe. The following information is at www.ageofconsent.com/Washington. If I were the parent of a rambunctious teen I'd read through it:
"(1) A person is guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree when the person has, or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have, sexual intercourse with another person who is at least sixteen years old but less than eighteen years old and not married to the perpetrator, if the perpetrator is at least sixty months older than the victim, is in a significant relationship to the victim, and abuses a supervisory position within that relationship in order to engage in or cause another person under the age of eighteen to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim."
The Age of Consent in Washington is not 18. It is 16. The statute (shown above) that you are making reference to makes it a crime for a person 60-months or older than the younger person to have sexual intercourse with the younger person if ALL of the following conditions exist:
1-The older person is in a "significant" relationship with the younger person, AND the older person is in a supervisory relationship within that relationship, AND uses that supervisory position in order to have sexual intercourse with the younger person.
This statute refers to relationships between persons who become sexually involved 16 or 17-years-olds, and who are in a position of authority over the younger person and use this authority to gain a sexual advantage. Such a situation might exist between a 16 or 17-year-old student and a teacher or coach who is at least 60 months older.
EDITOR: We agree and are revising our entry.
It would still, however, be a good idea to keep the red "18" there, because Washington has another statute, entitled: "Communicating With a Minor For Immoral Purposes," which has been used to selectively prosecute individuals who communicate with persons under 18 for purposes deemed "immoral." The penalty for a 1st offense is up to a year in jail, and for a 2nd or subsequent offense (or for any person who has previously been convicted of any sex offense in the United States) the penalty is up to 5 years in prison. Just asking can, under certain circumstances, land the offender in jail or prison. As the purposes of all "Age of Consent" laws are not to "protect" children, but, rather, to protect the family, it is not at all surprising that many states that have ages of consent that set the ages below 18 have hidden within their codes other laws that can be used to set a defacto Age of Consent of 18.
EDITOR: We have found references to this law in the areas where we searched - but could NOT find this law. Anyone that could get us the RCW number for this one would be appreciated.
The following was updated 07/2000
The age of consent entry for the State of Washington was changed to "16/18" in July, 2000,
Washington enacted a law similar to Florida in which a person 16 or 17 may consent to
sexual activity with a person not more than 59 months (4 years 11 months) older. (For example
it is illegal for a 21 year old to have sex with a 16 year old; it is illegal for a 22 year old to
have sex with a 17 year old).
Therefore the age of consent at which a person may consent to sexual activity without
reservation is 18.
Sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree.
(1) A person is guilty of sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree when: (a) The person has, or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have, sexual intercourse with another person who is at least sixteen years old but less than eighteen years old and not married to the perpetrator, if the perpetrator is at least sixty months older than the victim, is in a significant relationship to the victim, and abuses a supervisory position within that relationship in order to engage in or cause another person under the age of eighteen to engage in sexual intercourse with the victim; (b) the person is a school employee who has, or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have, sexual intercourse with a registered student of the school who is at least sixteen years old and not married to the employee, if the employee is at least sixty months older than the student; or (c) the person is a foster parent who has, or knowingly causes another person under the age of eighteen to have, sexual intercourse with his or her foster child who is at least sixteen.
Â†Â†Â†Â† (2) Sexual misconduct with a minor in the first degree is a class C felony.
Â†Â†Â†Â† (3) For the purposes of this section, "school employee" means an employee of a common school defined in RCW 28A.150.020, or a grade kindergarten through twelve employee of a private school under chapter 28A.195 RCW, who is not enrolled as a student of the common school or private school."
There is enough there for me to question the deputy prosecutors judgment and listen to the former prosecutor. I'm sure the diligence of the Spokesmen reporters will sort out all the legalities for us. My outrage is moral and directed toward the 35 year old, married fireman. The police detectives who deleted the digital photos supposedly to protect the girl. Take out the memory card and put it under lock and key, for crying out loud! Funny, the girl is determined a minor when involved in child pornography but an adult when she has sex with the creep! She's too young to vote; she's too young to drink. Go figure.
Because there are women firefighters, rules about having women in the bunkhouses are no longer enforced? How many of those women firefighters are sixteen? You don't have to write down the rules because everyone knows you don't do this in a fire station? Maybe you need to tattoo it on their foreheads - or better yet their crotches! Sorry. I'm angry and disgusted.
The new Mayor thinks internal affairs can handle this investigation. Pardon my skepticism. The door has already been opened to obfuscation by his stating the deletion of the photos absolutely does not rise to the level of tampering nor destruction of evidence. How can he say that with a straight face? All his legal training I suppose. And they wonder why lawyers rank right up there with used car salesmen! That city council members have no firm opinions; that the action of one, and that in itself is questionable, firefighter shouldn't taint the entire department, and that he hasn't been fired outright is beyond my comprehension.
A sixteen year old so desperate for attention she has to meet a married man on the internet. How sad. Where might the parents be? Do you know where your kids are? Did he have enough decency to use protection? What if the girl became pregnant? What if either one of them has a STD?
The city claims such budget shortfalls that the police and fire departments have been cut to the bone. If the personnel who retained their jobs are the best of the lot heaven help us all. If the city is going to the dogs maybe that's the way it should be. At least they can be legally "fixed"!