Monday, January 04, 2010

Still Guilty: Kevin Jennings Mishandled “Brewster” Case

Defenders of “Safe Schools Czar” Kevin Jennings like to dismiss as insignificant the fact that he failed to report his student Brewster’s sexual activity with an adult male met at a Boston bus station. They don’t defend it by saying “it’s all about love,” but they do get hung up on the boy's age. Brewster was 16 at the time, and therefore at the legal age of consent in Massachusetts. (Jennings, however, also referred to the boy as 15 … so by his own frame of reference he should have done something.) Jennings had no qualms about this sexual relationship as long as the boy “knew how to use a condom.” 
But Massachusetts law was still violated even if the boy was 16 or even 17, and Jennings had a duty to report it. That is because (as even the Wikipedia entry notes) an adult “inducing” a child under 18 to have sex is breaking the law. Since Brewster had just met the man in a bus station, then went back to the man’s home to have sex, we can say with assurance that this was not about “love” or a “committed relationship.” So it seems safe to say that the man “induced” Brewster to have sex, as the boy was apparently not a prostitute (and therefore would fall under the characterization “of chaste life,” as stated in the law).
Now the only “wiggle room” here might be that sodomy is not considered “sexual intercourse” in Massachusetts. Rather, it is called a “crime against nature” -- but that, too, would be breaking the law. So however the defenders of Jennings wish to look at this situation, the sexual act between the adult stranger and the 16- or 17- year-old was illegal.
And this would be why the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force has joined forces with the Woodhull Freedom Foundation to overturn “archaic” sex laws and lower the age of consent.

Massachusetts General Laws

Chapter 272: Section 4. Inducing person under eighteen to have sexual intercourse
Whoever induces any person under 18 years of age of chaste life to have unlawful sexual intercourse shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than three years or in a jail or house of correction for not more than two and one-half years or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Chapter 272: Section 34. Crime against nature
Section 34. Whoever commits the abominable and detestable crime against nature, either with mankind or with a beast, shall be punished by imprisonment in the state prison for not more than twenty years.


Chapter 265: Section 23. Rape and abuse of child
Whoever unlawfully has sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual intercourse, and abuses a child under sixteen years of age shall, for the first offense, be punished …