Manipulation Mayhem

In the past several days, I have noticed a few people commenting on the nightmare that Kaitlyn Hunt is currently going through. Who is Kaitlyn Hunt, you ask? Well, honestly, she’s nobody special. Okay, that’s not fair. I’m sure she is special to her family and friends, but she isn’t anyone famous whom you might read about in the celebrity magazines. In truth, you shouldn’t know who Kaitlyn Hunt is, because her story is nothing out of the ordinary. Okay, well from my perspective (Sex Crimes Detective) her story is surely nothing new, but boy howdy, the internet is all abuzz with what she’s going through. Here are the highlights.

Kaitlyn Hunt is a spunky, eighteen-year-old cheerleader who lives in Florida and was recently arrested for lewd battery. What is lewd battery, you ask? In laymen terms, it’s what most people refer to as Statutory Rape. Basically, eighteen-year-old Kaitlyn was having a “consensual” sexual relationship with an unnamed fourteen-year-old girl at her school. In the interest of avoiding carpal tunnel syndrome, the unnamed fourteen year old will hence forth be referred to as Jane.

The only real problem with this situation is that an eighteen year old having sex with a fourteen year old is indeed against the law. However, according to the internet buzz, this is not why Kaitlyn was arrested. What is really going on is this: Kaitlyn is a seemingly normal high school teenager who also happens to be openly gay. Translation: her arrest is part of a conspiracy to make an example of a consensual gay relationships in school.  According to Kaitlyn’s mother in an article at XO Jane, the “other student’s parents feel like my daughter “made” their daughter gay.” Her father went on to say in an interview with the Associated Press, “It’s horrible. For my daughter’s sexual preferences, she’s getting two felony charges. It could possibly ruin her future.”

While I would agree that this turn of events is very likely to ruin his daughter’s future, I’m pretty sure it isn’t illegal to be gay in this country. So here is where the manipulation mayhem starts.

Any one of the following statement may be true:

1. Jane is 100% gay. She’s known it since she was seven when she got that tingly feeling in her nether regions while watching Taylor Swift sing live in concert. She understands what it means to be gay, however inexperienced as she is with the concept, she is on board to learn from the seemingly knowledgeable Kaitlyn. The two girls find each other and first love ensued, i.e. heavy petting, kissing, fondling, etc. Ecstatic over her new found love, Jane writes about everything in the private journal she got for her Bat Mitzvah. I don’t know that she’s Jewish, but you get the point.

2. Jane is not gay, but merely bi-curious, and shy. A deadly combination. It’s 2013 and the idea of experimenting sounds cool, so who better to experiment with than fun-loving, upbeat Kaitlyn. An innocent game of softball ensued; first base, second base, etc. You get the metaphor. Jane writes about everything in the private journal she got for confirmation. There, equal opportunity blanket statements.

3. Jane is straight, and also really loves hanging out with Kaitlyn. Then one night, at band camp, one thing leads to another, and things get sexual. I don’t know how this happens, but if it is anything like it was in the 80’s, perhaps one of the girls, it doesn’t matter which, snuck out some booze from the family booze locker, got tipsy, and truth or dare ensued. Jane is still straight, but she loves hanging out with Kaitlyn. While she kissed a girl and she liked it, she feels weird about it, so yep, you get the pattern, she writes it all down in her private journal that she got when she cast her first Wicca incantation on Esbat.

Now, add in the following plot point:

While cleaning her daughter’s filthy room, (I’m sorry, I have a sixteen year old daughter, so I am just applying experience and logic here) Mom finds Jane’s journal buried under the crumpled-up pair of American Eagle boot-cut jeans that she just had to have last Summer. Translation: Mom read Parenting 101 and is applying lesson #15; the only way to know what your daughter is truly thinking is to betray her trust and read her private journal. After all, who do you think bought the jeans and the journal in the first place?

And now the inevitable:

Mom. Freaks. Out. Her head spins. She feels faint. She waits for Jane to come home and blast her with her new found knowledge. How could Jane betray her mother like this? Anyone else see the irony here? I know, right? I totally know.

Jane of course is fourteen-years-old and her mother’s love is the most important thing in her life. Wait. Sorry. She’s fourteen. What her mother thinks has nothing to do with it. Who cares what her mother thinks? For crying out loud, it’s 2013. Get with the program mom and dad. No? No program? Oh yeah, being gay is not cool with mom and dad, and mom and dad have the power to ruin Jane’s life. The police are called, recorded phone calls are made with Kaitlyn and Jane talking about forbidden love, and Kaitlyn gets arrested.

Now, I bet when I said “forbidden love” you thought I was talking about the gay thing, right? Because that is the vibe I’m getting online. So let me clarify once more. In Florida, it is illegal for anyone–male or female, gay, straight, or bi-curious–to have sex with someone under the age of sixteen.  Period.

So when I say forbidden, I mean illegal.

In the articles I’ve been reading, they make it sound like Jane wanted no part in the arrest, but here is the problem: Jane is too young to really be making those decisions. Here comes more manipulation. Jane’s parents have somehow convinced her to turn against her girlfriend. You wouldn’t think that was possible, right? Who would do that? This is love we are talking about, right? Jane is old enough to know that what she is doing will ruin Kaitlyn’s life, right? You see where I am going here?

If Jane is not on board with the arrest, how did the recorded phone call happen? Pressure from the parents, perhaps?

If Jane is straight, how did the sex happen? Pressure from the eighteen year old mentor, perhaps?

What if Jane is gay, but still not ready for sex? How hard is it to convince her otherwise?

If Jane is gay and on board for sex, not much pressure is needed, but that brings me back to her parents and the phone call.

Are you seeing a theme here? Fourteen-year-old children cannot be counted on to hold up under pressure. They pretty much do whatever the powers that be tell them to do. Frankly, if you threaten to take away their I-phone and the internet, you pretty much can get them to do anything. Unlawful sex, check. Recorded phone call, check. Kaitlyn’s life down the toilet, chiggety check. The sad truth here is that children are easily manipulated. So, how do we stop that from happening? We make seemingly strict laws to protect them from those prone to manipulating situations. The state of Florida happens to call manipulators by another name; predators.

I guess what bothers me the most is this: if Kaitlyn was Kevin, and Jane stayed Jane, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. I have put plenty of Kevins behind bars and never heard a peep in opposition from the internet. But with Kaitlyn, the ACLU is crying for justice. Kaitlyn’s family are printing rainbow t-shirts to get the GLBT vote because their daughter is being prosecuted for her sexuality. Apparently, the fact that these girls are gay is supposed to make this alright. Like a fourteen year old lesbian is more capable of understanding the big picture because she is in tune with her sexuality? Because she is gay, she cannot be manipulated into doing something she isn’t comfortable with? How did that work out with the recorded phone call?

Being gay doesn’t mean you understand this any more than the next person. We make these laws to protect children, and in the state of Florida, and pretty much everywhere else, at fourteen, sex shouldn’t be an option. It isn’t an option. It’s illegal. Let’s not forget that.

I have seen my fair share of these cases. The players change, and the ages range from twelve-years-old into the mid-twenties. These “consensual encounters” usually enrage the average citizen. They say things like, “How could he do that with such a young girl?” or “Sick bastard. If that was my daughter, I’d have his balls!”

I have talked parents down off ledges, brokered deals between suspects and victims, and on more occasions than I would like to count, I have put seemingly good kids, with bright futures ahead of them, in jail. I used to think this made me some kind of monster. Like the people Kaitlyn’s mother talks about in her article. She trusted the police, and they put her daughter in jail.

Is this a sad situation? Yes. Could it have been avoided with some intolerant parenting on Kaitlyn’s side? Yes. Great. You embrace your daughter’s sexuality, but let’s not forget about strict adherence to laws regarding underage sex. Let’s teach that too, shall we.

I wish I could fix the problem. I’d get parents involved with their kids. I’d tell them it’s okay to be parents and not friends. Contrary to the ad campaign, friends let friends drive drunk, parents don’t. I tell both victims and suspects to avoid the situation. I preach curfews and abstinence. It’s the only way I know to avoid getting caught up in a sex crimes allegation. But, like I said, this is 2013. I should be more enlightened. Kids have sex. But guess what? Kids also have their own jail. And with the way these things are going, I don’t see a time where sex crimes detectives won’t be putting them there. The kids (and parents) just make it so easy.

Sorry Kaitlyn, but in Florida, it’s against the law for you to have sex with Jane. If you were a man, Jane’s dad would have beat you within an inch of your life for having sex with his daughter, and then he still would have called the police. Could have been worse, all things considered. You should have waited until she turned sixteen. But maybe that would have been too late. After all, that’s when her options open up.