The acts of an adult engaging in sexual relations with a 15-year-old girl are serious criminal acts. When an 18-year-old male is charged with having sex with a girl that age, the tenor of the sex crimes charged do not generally offend societal values quite as much as if the male had been in his 20s, 30s or older. However, the law is equally offended by those acts, and generally in Virginia and other states, such consensual sexual activity is nonetheless chargeable as statutory rape or other major felonies.
It is often easy for the authorities to select an individual with a prior record and tag him or her with perpetration of a crime without substantial evidence to back it up. This kind of criminal justice travesty can occur in Virginia or any other jurisdiction. A person with a prior record may be most vulnerable to being charged with alleged sex crimes or other crimes where identification may under the circumstances be difficult to pinpoint.
When a fugitive is found and apprehended in another jurisdiction, an extradition procedure is started to return the accused back to the state where the offenses were charged or the conviction entered. Many persons charged with or convicted of sex crimes have left the original state jurisdiction and traveled to other states where they hide out. Recently, for example, a fugitive from Virginia was found and apprehended by authorities in another state.
"Man, 74, charged with sexual abuse of then 6-year-old." So reads a recent headline from a jurisdiction not far from Norfolk and Hampton Roads. The story goes on to say that the individual is facing an array of sex crime charges including sexual abuse of a minor, child abuse and sex offenses of varying degrees.
Few in Virginia who keep tabs on the news can have missed word that the so-called "Norfolk Four" defendants now enjoy full pardons. The governor issued the order late last month. The move marks the end of a 20-year legal battle to try to clear the men of convictions in the 1997 rape and murder of an 18-year-old woman.
Eleven Virginia men have been arrested following a five-month child sex sting operation carried out by the Spotsylvania Sheriff's Office Child Exploitation Unit. The investigation began in October 2016 and concluded in early February.
No one would argue that engaging in practices involving child pornography is OK. Youngsters have a right to be protected from such things, so society has responded with laws that call for severe punishment when a person is found guilty of such crimes.
It was just one year ago we first broached the topic of sex crimes on this blog. The focus of that post was on the fallout that an individual can suffer from merely an accusation of sex crimes involving the internet.