Recently I was perusing the Sheboygan Press* and ran across an article that I thought y’all might find interesting. It is a rather intriguing tale of unequal treatment under the law based on the sex of the defendant. But, fortunately for us jaded social scientists, there’s a twist:
A 17-year-old Sheboygan girl was charged Thursday with misdemeanor sexual assault for allegedly having sex with her 14-year-old boyfriend.
Norma J. Guthrie, of [Redacted because, seriously, does she need the paper to print her address?], was in court a day after a 17-year-old Sheboygan boy was charged with a felony for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old girlfriend.
Guthrie admitted having sex with the boy between 10 and 15 times, according to a complaint charging her with fourth-degree sexual assault. She faces a maximum of nine months in jail, if convicted.
On Wednesday, Alan J. Jepsen, 17, of [Redacted for the same reason], was charged for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl who he claimed told him she was 16. Jepsen is facing a count of felony second-degree sexual assault, which carries a maximum prison term of 25 years.
Assistant District Attorney Jim Haasch, who filed both complaints, said the misdemeanor charge was filed in part because Guthrie has no prior criminal record. But online court records show Guthrie has a pending charge of misdemeanor battery, filed in October.
Haasch would not say whether Jepsen has a prior juvenile record — which is typically sealed — but the boy has no adult charges listed in online court records.
Haasch also said the cases are different because Guthrie’s boyfriend is “almost 15,” with a birthday in February. Jepsen’s girlfriend turns 15 in April.
Jepsen is in jail in lieu of a $1,000 cash bond, while Guthrie was released on a $1,000 signature bond after her initial court appearance Thursday, jail officials said.
Both Guthrie and Jepsen were charged as adults. [emphasis added]
So, basically, a 17 year old male has sex with a 14 year old female and is charged as an adult, with a felony, carrying a potential prison term of 25 years, and is being held in lieu of a cash bond. On the other hand, a 17 year old female has sex with a 14 year old male and is charged as an adult, with a misdemeanor, carrying a potential prison term of nine months, and was released essentially because she signed a form indicating she would be liable for $1,000 in the event she did not appear for her trial.
* What? Don't you read the Sheboygan Press?
As a side note: I am not in any way suggesting that females in our society somehow have all the perks. I read Conservapedia, folks, but I don't believe it. No, I just think there's an interesting gender story in here that's worth considering.