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Child Molestation?
January 14, 2004 10:15 AM   Subscribe

Child Molestation? Marcus Dixon, an 18-year-old Black high school honor student was recently convicted of child molestation, has been permanently expelled from high school, and is now serving 15 years in the George state prison for having consensual sex with a 15-year-old White girl. Even though he was acquitted of all forcible rape charges, the child molestation charge still earned him the long sentence. Racism? Mandatory minimums strike again?
posted by Bluecoat93 (60 comments total)

 
Statutary rape, certainly. "Molestation" sounds less serious.
posted by SealWyf at 10:17 AM on January 14, 2004


Actually, molestation is much more serious - statutory rape isn't treated as harshly, since it's typically understood that both parties consented. Aggravated child molestation, however, means not only a harsh minimum sentence, but most likely some hard time (molesters aren't exactly welcome in prison...)

What would be interesting is to find out what a similar case has garnered in the past in terms of sentencing. I seriously doubt that any prosecutor has attached aggravated child molestation to the case of an 18 year old raping a 15 year old (the original charges were rape, even though evidence points to consensual sex.) I agree with the article in that aspect - somebody wanted this guy to do time.
posted by FormlessOne at 10:30 AM on January 14, 2004


He's over 18, he had sex with a girl under 16, he admitted in open court it was true and, consensual or not, it's against the law in Georgia. Considering it's the third time he's been involved in criminal sexual activity, it's kind of hard to argue for leniency even if the sentence weren't mandatory. I'm sorry the kid's not going to play football, because I'm sure he worked hard to get that scholarship, but maybe he should have concentrated at least that hard on keeping his pants zipped around 16 year olds...
posted by JollyWanker at 10:33 AM on January 14, 2004


Prosecutors, like everybody else, try to be "trendy" with their arrests, in hopes of getting headlines. In this case, it's been quietly en vogue to bust kids for having consensual sex with other kids.

Like in other cases of unjust prosecution, in this case some irate parent call the police, frustrated more with their child's *choice* of partner, but also frustrated with their own inability to control their child. They hope the police will just "make them stop doing that."

The parents are as shocked as their kids when the police *arrest*, not just threaten, and not just the other child, but *their* child as well. Usually, the female gets a milder punishment, but may now no longer even get just probation, but may also have to serve jail time--even have a felony conviction.

Yes, it stinks. But as long as prosecutors are motivated to be ambitious, they will try on crap like this.
posted by kablam at 10:33 AM on January 14, 2004


I was incensed at the system until I read this part of the article:

"Dixon has been involved in two other sexual incidents, according to Prosecutor McClellan. The first involved a 16-year-old Dixon exposing himself in a classroom; in the second, he "inappropriately touched" a 14-year-old student when he was 17."

This case has more to do with his juvenile history than the case at hand. However, the sentence is way too long and I feel strongly that the incident for which he was tried was not criminal. He certainly seems like someone who needs some correction, but this isn't the just way to do it. However, the proper way to do it seems to be to wait until he commits another act that's truly criminal and there will be another victim in that instance. So, I just don't know.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:38 AM on January 14, 2004


If we are going to continue to have Sex-Ed in school, there should probably be 10 minutes spent on the concept and local law regarding Statutory Rape. I mean, that seems like an issue young people need to be aware of before they take their clothes off.

And it does fit perfectly into the Abstinence Only (Sex is bad and scary and can kill you but it is of course a beautiful act of procreation in the context of a God-consecrated monogamous heterosexual marriage) curriculum.
posted by ilsa at 10:43 AM on January 14, 2004


maybe he should have concentrated at least that hard on keeping his pants zipped around 16 year olds...

So did you skip the years between 13 and 19, or do you just forget what it was like?
posted by jpoulos at 10:47 AM on January 14, 2004


Yes, it stinks. But as long as prosecutors are motivated to be ambitious, they will try on crap like this.

It's the prosecutor's job to prosecute. It's an adversarial systems (with certain limits, and sensible standards). The real problem as the FPP says, is mandatory minimums. We've relegated our judiciary to being NFL referees, to simply hand out 5 yard, 10 yard, 15 yard penalties with robotic precision. We've lost something when we don't trust them to size up the individual situation and "do the right thing". The politicians will just keep it up because being "tough on crime" is a bogus issue that is hard to attack in a 30 second television ad.
posted by McBain at 10:48 AM on January 14, 2004


He's over 18, he had sex with a girl under 16, he admitted in open court it was true and, consensual or not, it's against the law in Georgia.

But is that wrong? We can all agree that it's illegal according to Georgia statutes, but should someone go to jail for it? He wasn't some local loser who continued to hang around the high school in the hopes of scoring with a girl; he was a student. They were peers. The guy's proved himself a douchebag through prior conduct, but something stinks about being strung up on a technicality.

I'm not suggesting that Thoreau was thinking about underage girls when he wrote Civil Disobedience, but consent laws need some grey areas for high school students.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:48 AM on January 14, 2004


I'm sorry the kid's not going to play football, because I'm sure he worked hard to get that scholarship, but maybe he should have concentrated at least that hard on keeping his pants zipped around 16 year olds...

You've got to be kidding me, JollyWanker. First of all, he's probably a little more concerned about the being locked up for 15 years part than the football thing. Second, I'm sure there have been plenty of 18 year olds with 15 year old girlfriends over the years. And (shocker) many of them may of even had sex!

This is a case of small town racism, plain and simple.
posted by fletchmuy at 11:01 AM on January 14, 2004


This is about racism, its about fear and a dad who's pissed that his daughter slept with a black man.

The kid shouldn't have gotten such a harsh sentence but he did deserve a sentence, he admitted to breaking the law and had a history of sexual stupidity.

But there was little chance he'd get a fair trial.
posted by fenriq at 11:09 AM on January 14, 2004


JollyWanker strikes me as one of those embittered folks who didn't get any as a teen and therefore thinks nobody should. The simple fact remains that teens will continue to have fun with their sex organs, just as they always have, regardless of the law or abstinence-only sex education.

This is clearly a case of selective prosecution, and is in that way racist. 18-year-olds have been having sex with 15-year-olds since forever.

Some say that Dixon's fate was sealed when he, an African American living in the South, ignored an age-old truth: that White women are off-limits.

Bingo.
posted by squirrel at 11:18 AM on January 14, 2004


Georgia Law also states that consensual sex between two teenagers of less than three years' age difference is a misdemeanor, not normally punishable by any jail sentence.

Which is one basis for his appeal.

I'd say the 'race card' was a large part of this case.

More on this story with supporting links here
posted by DBAPaul at 11:21 AM on January 14, 2004


If she was black and the guy was white, how many years do you think he would get?
posted by Keyser Soze at 11:22 AM on January 14, 2004


Historically, and I may be able to get you references (but I didn't do the research personally - I live with the person who did), SR cases where the male is african-american and the female is caucasian, are more often prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law than ones where the reverse racial mix is true.

This may be economic, cultural, behavioral, parental opinion-related, attitudinal, legalistic, prejudicial, and any other factor-based, or a mix, but the facts are there.
posted by kalessin at 11:34 AM on January 14, 2004


When I turned 18 I was warned that everything I'd done up until that point would be wiped clean, but anything I did from now on would be counted "for real." I remember teachers having talks with us about the 18-year-old event horizon. And not only warning the boys, but the girls, too, not to dip under that line.

Sounds like this kid had a couple of chances to get it right, and he fucked up. 15 years is a long time for something like this. But I'd like to know what other similar cases resulted in, and whether he's elligible for parole, when, and how much time he can get off for good behavior, etc. Until I find out that this kid's sentence was disproportionately harsher than those of similar perpetrators of other races, I think racism is just the easy accusation to make. African-Americans can break the law too.

This kind of thing is always controversial when the people involved are so close to the legal age dividing line, but the line is there to make the law as clear as possible, and as equitable as possible for all. Letting someone off because they're close to the line is counter-productive.

Oh, and squirrel, I got plenty back in the day, just from girls older than me. I also diddled around with girls (and boys) younger than me when I was a kid, but not after I turned 18.
posted by scarabic at 12:04 PM on January 14, 2004


the jury admitted that based on the law as described, they felt they had no choice but to return a guilty verdict on the charge of Aggravated Child Molestation

what, they never heard of jury nullification? maybe that's why i never get picked ...

there's a good thread about this despicable prosecutorial tactic at counsel.net

so let me get this straight, Georgians: an 18-year-old who has intercourse with a 15+year-old minor is guilty of a misdemeanor, but he gets 10 years in prison for receiving a blow job?

it seems like a very dangerous situation that is ripe for abuse, i.e. selective prosecution (which of course can rarely be proven). i haven't been in high school for a loooong time, but i know some of the (very respectable) women from my school were giving blow jobs when they were 8th grade/frosh, 14-15 years old. would Georgians really prefer they were having intercourse instead?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:08 PM on January 14, 2004


So did you skip the years between 13 and 19, or do you just forget what it was like?

I thought it was no longer acceptable to characterize men as being unable to control their penises. Or is it back in fashion again already? Somebody clue me in here, I wanna be on the right page.
posted by beth at 12:17 PM on January 14, 2004


my penis is large and unruly, and often impossible to control.
posted by quonsar at 12:19 PM on January 14, 2004


Marcus Dixon, an 18-year-old Black high school honor student
consensual sex with a 15-year-old White girl.


Why are "black" and "white" capitalized? They should not be.
posted by oaf at 12:22 PM on January 14, 2004


Hm. Well, if he's the only one in his state ever to be prosecuted under these circumstances, then I guess he got it pretty hard. If his case really was so unusual, then I hope his representation has legal options to pursue, because crying racism and circulating an internet petition are unlikely to help anyone. I dunno, though. It's still pretty clear that he screwed up big time, and if this kind of sex is really going on all over the place, that's a problem, not an excuse.
posted by scarabic at 12:35 PM on January 14, 2004


Why is it a problem? Just for legalistic reasons?
posted by furiousthought at 12:58 PM on January 14, 2004


scarabic, I must point out the irony of your comments here rejecting selective prosecution, given your defense of selective enforcement in the thread about congregating on planes. Prosecuting seniors for having sex with sophomores is like handing out a speeding ticket at the Indy 500... to the only Black driver in the race.

(And yes, oaf, the B in Black is capitalized.)

BTW, I'm sure your sexual adventures were manyfold and varied. I didn't mean to imply that anyone in favor of prosecuting statutory rape didn't get any in high school. JollyWanker's comment just struck me as bitter.

Beth, I interpreted jpoulos' comment more as a suggestion to have empathy for the sexually-charged reality of teen life, not as a declaration that young men have no control.
posted by squirrel at 1:11 PM on January 14, 2004


I have no idea what kind of person Dixon is. But, why are we jumping to the conclusion that he "screwed up big time"? To sum up, he's had 3 incidents:

1) "...a 16-year-old Dixon exposing himself in a classroom"
2) "he 'inappropriately touched' a 14-year-old student when he was 17"
3) He had CONSENSUAL sex with a girl who was less than three years younger than him.

All 3 of these items could be attributed to a slightly over excited young man. Number 1 could be anything. He could have been dared into doing it by a friend. Number 2 could have been some incident on a playground that got a little out of hand. And, number 3 is a guy having sex with a girl who also wanted to have sex.

I may be too understanding here, but I don't see where he really "screwed up big time". I live in Georgia and I know a little bit about how these small towns operate. Racism, pure and simple.
posted by fletchmuy at 1:19 PM on January 14, 2004


scarabic, do you really think that teenage sex is a problem? and are you talking about side effects (unwanted pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases) or the actual activity?

i'll admit that if 15-year-olds are socially coerced into giving blow jobs and having intercourse when they really don't want to, that's a problem. (not sure how to solve it, other than to use sex-ed classes to stress tolerance of chastity, (safe-sex) promiscuity, and every level of sexual activity in between.) for those 15-year-olds who don't want to have sex, yet do it anyway to be cool, i'd say that's a problem. but so are drinking, smoking, shoplifting, etc.

now, if these 15-year-old girls (and guys) are in reality craving dick (or pussy), what's the problem? i suppose the problem is that parents will be forced to admit that some of their children are sexually voracious.

it's not easy being slutty, you know. to add criminal activity upon the already significant social stigma is silly and self-defeating. i feel horrible for the 15-year-old girl as well as the 18-year-old boy. just imagine how guilty she must feel, and how that guilt will likely affect her sexual relations for a long time to come.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:19 PM on January 14, 2004


Looks like a good time to buy some stock in the Corrections Corporation of America.
posted by the fire you left me at 1:22 PM on January 14, 2004


If she was black and the guy was white, how many years do you think he would get?

He would have gotten multiple decades in government a la Strom Thurmond. As long as he kept his mouth shut until death.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:24 PM on January 14, 2004


A criminal justice system that deliberately screws someones life up because they had sex with someone who was 3 months younger than is allowed is severely fucked up (presumably he's now regarded as a paedophile as well).

As others have said, simplistic laws with minimum sentences are obviously not designed to produce justice, but to win votes. But, why is it that in the US so many positions in the legal system are elected? I just hope that the UK never goes down that route.
posted by daveg at 2:10 PM on January 14, 2004


JollyWanker strikes me as one of those embittered folks who didn't get any as a teen and therefore thinks nobody should.

Hardly. But apparently I was smart enough to (a) be on the other side of the age equation, (b) not get myself embroiled in a situation where race would be an issue and (c) neither get caught nor charged nor admit to a felony in open court and expect not to be handed the mandatory sentence. Jebus H. Christus hanging from a bitterfruit tree, how stupid do you have to be?!

I think you guys need a better spokesmodel for your cause. A three-time offender who also has SAT scores that lead you to believe he's smart enough to have known better? Sorry, not buying it...
posted by JollyWanker at 2:16 PM on January 14, 2004


I don't think anyone is saying "we need to protect the rights of 18 year old black boys to have sex with 15 year old white girls", so there really is no cause here that would require a poster child.

I think most people are trying to point out the obvious racism and double standards that is going on in this case.

And, for the record, I think that was a little harsh what squirrel said about JollyWanker.
posted by fletchmuy at 2:31 PM on January 14, 2004


Well, it's apparent that Jolly was brilliant in choosing his every move as a teenager and avoided all possible lapses in judgement. Most of us, however, were just mere mortals. In this particular case, getting this harsh sentence for having consensual sex... Well, who would have ever predicted such a thing - whether adult or adolescent?
posted by harja at 2:35 PM on January 14, 2004


kablam nailed it--and no pun intended--as far as I am concerned.
posted by y2karl at 2:35 PM on January 14, 2004


I'm suprised at everyone saying his past is a sign that this guy is troubled. Allow me to explain.

The first involved a 16-year-old Dixon exposing himself in a classroom

When I was 15, I mooned my entire english class. Same thing. That's not really a troubled past but merely a kid being a class clown.

in the second, he "inappropriately touched" a 14-year-old student when he was 17.

Ok, get this, he was just convicted of molesting a 15 year old. A year ago, he was 17, and she was 14. Did any single one of you consider that this was just a trumped up claim to lead the jury on? Sure it's true, but it's the same girl, because they were probably dating.

Sure I have no actually rock hard proof this is what happened, but it's very likely. I mean come on, the guy had a 1200 SAT score, how stupid do you really think the kid is?

I can't help but think that race played more of a part in this whole thing than anything. The parent of the girl wanted the guy strung. Too bad in trying to teach his little girl a lesson, he ruined the life of kid that could've made something of himself.
posted by JakeEXTREME at 2:59 PM on January 14, 2004


Some say that Dixon's fate was sealed when he, an African American living in the South, ignored an age-old truth: that White women are off-limits.

Bingo.


well, his Dad, Grampa and other ancestors wouldn't have been as lucky as him -- 15 years? he's just another quota-loving luckyducky welfare prince, I say

it's also nice to see that the Law is striking hard against Fucking -- those young people who are into consensual sex today could begin using hard drugs tomorrow and also take the Lord's name in vain.
I guess that everybody feels safer now
posted by matteo at 3:08 PM on January 14, 2004


(And yes, oaf, the B in Black is capitalized.)

At the top of this thread, yes; properly, no.
posted by oaf at 3:16 PM on January 14, 2004


Oaf, consult your Chicago Manual of Style. Black and White should be capitalized, as well as Hispanic, Latino, etc.
posted by squirrel at 3:26 PM on January 14, 2004


1) "...a 16-year-old Dixon exposing himself in a classroom"

I agree strongly with Jake -- in my experience this is almost always code for mooning someone, when you want it to sound more serious than it is.

I'd also like to point out that this is far more common than you might think. I'm familiar with at least one case in Maine where a young man who was senior class president and presumed valedictorian was sentenced to time in the Maine Youth Center (not 15 years, but time none-the-less) for a similar 'crime', forfeiting his Ivy league scholarship in the process. This prosecution came about through the strong insistence of the girl's father, who apparently didn't like the idea of his little girl having sex with anyone.

Mostly newspapers don't report them because its a hard story to write (an unnamed 18 year old was today found guilty of having consensual sex with an unnamed 15 year old) but ask any public high school teacher and they're most likely familiar with at least one case of a similar prosecution. What's really the unique part of the story here is the length of sentence.
posted by anastasiav at 3:31 PM on January 14, 2004


He'll get off after the appeal.
posted by pemulis at 3:43 PM on January 14, 2004


Keyser: "If she was black and the guy was white", then in Georgia she would be the one doing time.
posted by mischief at 3:44 PM on January 14, 2004


Keyser: "If she was black and the guy was white", then in Georgia she would be the one doing time.
How? as this boils down to age: motivated by one's eyes.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:04 PM on January 14, 2004


Oaf, consult your Chicago Manual of Style. Black and White should be capitalized, as well as Hispanic, Latino, etc.

Hispanic and Latino are derived from proper nouns—they should be capitalized, just like African-American and Caucasian; black and white are not, and are not capitalized.
posted by oaf at 4:23 PM on January 14, 2004


Hrm. Yeah, perhaps this case is a bit extreme for falling into that grey area of teens having sex with teens. But lets be honest here, does anyone really think that a manditory 15 for child molestation is unreasonable as a general rule?
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:34 PM on January 14, 2004


MetaFilter: where the penii are large and unruly, and often impossible to control.

- because every thread needs one. (penis or such comment, you choose)
posted by Nauip at 4:39 PM on January 14, 2004


thom: I assumed Keyser meant also that she was 18 and he was 15.
posted by mischief at 4:41 PM on January 14, 2004


Oaf, consult your Chicago Manual of Style. Black and White should be capitalized, as well as Hispanic, Latino, etc.

Squirrel, consult yours. Chicago 7.32-7.33 rules that the writer capitalize names of linguistic, tribal, religious, and other groups but lower-case designations based on color, size, or local usage. So, as oaf points out, it's "Hispanic", "Asian", "African-American", and "Caucasian", but "black" and "white".

Sorry.
posted by nicwolff at 4:51 PM on January 14, 2004


Penises...

the "ii" plural is for words that end in "us"
posted by McBain at 5:24 PM on January 14, 2004


... in Latin. In English, sometimes the Latin-oid ending is used, sometimes not. I chose the simple English plural in this case. Do you also go around correcting people when they say "viruses"?
posted by beth at 5:42 PM on January 14, 2004


him and all the other penae.
posted by quonsar at 5:43 PM on January 14, 2004


or, as they say on slashdot, penen.
posted by quonsar at 5:44 PM on January 14, 2004


Metafilter: Penii "R" Us
posted by y2karl at 5:48 PM on January 14, 2004


I know, I know--But what about the iconomies!!
posted by y2karl at 5:50 PM on January 14, 2004


Dixon doesn't need a long stretch in jail; he needs a father's discipline. Little late for that now, though.
posted by alumshubby at 6:08 PM on January 14, 2004


somewhat related (ok, a bit of a stretch) essay on sex with minors:

Why Michael Jackson Is Damned and R. Kelly Is the Man
posted by mrgrimm at 6:38 PM on January 14, 2004


What seems obviously wrong about this and other statutory rape/molestation cases like it is the difference a day makes:

Lets assume for a moment that his birthday is after hers, such that there was some number of days/weeks/months where he was 17 and she was 15. If they fuck about then, it is entirely legal and morally acceptable. They probably did this repeatedly. However, when they continue fucking about a day later, after he turns 18, suddenly it is a crime with a minimum sentence of 15 years.

Isn't this obviously wrong? Isn't it obviously immoral of the law to sanction a coupling in the beginning, only to make it wildly illegal as they age?
posted by Ptrin at 8:40 PM on January 14, 2004


Is it just me or does anyone else find it odd that 15 year olds are often considered adults when it comes to criminal prosecution and sentencing but are not considered old enough to consent to sex?
posted by MikeMc at 8:48 PM on January 14, 2004


Actually, the correct plural is penes, although penises is accepted in America.

Glad I could help.
posted by LittleMissCranky at 8:50 PM on January 14, 2004


Here's an AP article that might be a little better. It also appears that the victim is looking to sue the school district for allegedly not punishing him for the past offenses. (One of the offenses was "putting her hands down a girl's pants", which while unacceptable is not uncommon for teenagers to do.)

Even if this was assault, for instance, nobody is thrown into jail for fighting for ten years. Suppose that Dixon, instead of having sex with the 15 year old girl, started pummeling her into the ground, causing bleeding. NHe might receive a few years of prison at the most. That's why the sentence is unfair.
posted by calwatch at 10:04 PM on January 14, 2004


The ruling is not justice.
posted by Blue Stone at 2:31 AM on January 15, 2004


Oaf: what's the matter, unable to form a coherent opinion on the actual issue so you need to play Capitalization Police?

Incidentally, I took my usage of Black and White from their usage at the source. BET.com consistently uses the capitalized form ("White" in the article, "Black" elsewhere).
posted by Bluecoat93 at 8:15 AM on January 15, 2004


You're right, nicwolf. I have the 14th edition. I gather from the surfing I've done that 15th suggests lower-case b in black. Sorry, oaf.
posted by squirrel at 3:47 PM on January 15, 2004


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