When I first started out in sex crimes, I came in with the wrong state of mind. I am not your average cop. I didn’t go to the academy to join the SWAT team. I didn’t come here for the lights and sirens and shoot outs from television and movies. I came to talk. Not everything can be fixed with brute force. Sometimes, people just need to talk things out. I was a kinder, gentler Andy Sipowicz. I believed that given the choice between the letter of the law or the spirit of the law, I was there in spirit. Fix the problem and go home, no report necessary.
It’s this mentality that gave me the ability to not write you a ticket when I pulled you over that time. Sure, you were speeding, but is ten miles over the speed limit really that heinous a crime? I would much rather have you repeat ‘I will not speed, I will not speed, I will not speed,’ and then have you be on your way. I would be willing to bet that you would rather have that too. I mean, given the option, $180.00 ticket, or verbal warning with a little silly condescension, I’m take the condescension any day. And so did you, if I remember correctly.
So, back to my story in sex crimes. I considered myself to be somewhat worldly. Can we agree that a majority of the United States is somewhat prudish when it comes to sex and the naked body. By the time I reached my desk in the Criminal Investigation Division, I had been around the world, visited nude beaches, and come to understand the vast difference of opinion the rest of the world had when it came to what is or isn’t morally acceptable as far as sex is concerned.
Example: How many of you parents of teenage girls between the ages of thirteen and fifteen would be okay with your daughter wearing the latest Brazilian swimsuit to the beach? Anyone? No? Okay then. So it is fair to say that in comparison to just that one country alone, we look a little repressed. Agreed?
So, during the first month of my indoctrination into sex crimes, I was called out to interview a young lady named Jasmine. When I sat down in the interview room with Jasmine, I was struck at how grown up she was. She was tall, leggy, and didn’t want to talk to me. When I asked her what happens when you tell a lie, expecting her to say ‘you get in trouble’, instead, she calmly said “You have to tell another one.”
You see, earlier in the evening, thirteen-year-old Jasmine called a friend of hers to come pick her up in his beat-up chevy truck. Upon his arrival, Jasmine climbed out her bedroom window, climbed into his truck, and they went for a nice little drive. Eventually they stopped to “talk” and Jasmine somehow convinced her nineteen-year-old friend to have sex with her in the front seat of the truck. Okay, I know what you are thinking; she’s thirteen. I know. But this is what she told me. It was her idea. She called him. She started this whole chain of events. Who am I to pass judgement on her? I mean these things happens all the time in Brazil, right? How much convincing do you think there was on that one? Imagine the scene…
INT. TRUCK – NIGHT
Jimmy pulls the truck into the parking spot and switches the key to the off position. Jasmine slides over next to him, put her arms around his, and leans into him. Soft HipHop music blares on the stereo.
You think maybe we could have sex?
Underwear come off, and sex ensues. All is right in Jimmy’s world.
Am I right? And now here I sit with grown up, thirteen-year-old Jasmine, telling her that what she did, what she started, what she wanted, is wrong, and we need to put Jimmy in jail. She wasn’t hearing it. She was pissed that her mother dragged her down to the sexual assault treatment center to talk to me. And, frankly, I was on Jasmine’s side. Fortunately for me, I was in training. And fortunately again, my trainer was a tough female detective, and hard-headed mother of two girls.
When I asked her why we were wasting our time when it was clear that Jasmine had no issues about having sex at the ripe age of thirteen, not to mention how this case would never see the inside of a courtroom, she responded simply with this:
“Jimmy likes to have sex with thirteen-year-old girls. What happens if the next one isn’t as willing? At least we’ll get his DNA in the system.”
Okay, I think it is important to say that at the time, my daughters were ten and one. The idea of them ever being in this position was completely foreign to me. The only real frame of reference I had for thirteen-year-olds was me. And at this time, broken as I was, I thought ‘where were all the Jasmines when I was thirteen?’ Like I said. Broken.
Fast forward six years and my daughters are sixteen and seven. While the seven-year-old is light years away from sex, the idea that I thought it was okay for someone my daughter’s age to have sex kills me. And here is the bad news, in the state of Florida, she can. In Florida, it’s only illegal for anyone under the age of sixteen to have sex. That’s right moms and dads out there, your sixteen-year-old girl is allowed to have sex. Not only that, the guy she has sex with can be as old as twenty-three and aside from taking away her cell phone (which none of you seem to want to do) there is nothing you can do about it. Well, there is something you can do about it, but if that happens, I doubt you’ll call law enforcement to report the knucklehead missing.
Remember all that noise I was making earlier about the spirit of the law? Take a guess how I feel about that now? Fair warning to all you girls under sixteen. If you think it’s okay to have sex right now, you’re wrong. And to all those nineteen-year-old knuckleheads out there who think it is a good idea to take advantage of the young girl spouting adult ideas about sex, remember this: nineteen-year-old boys look good in the prison showers. Make sure to bring some soap on a rope.