It’s a sad reality that in our country, children are sold into the commercial sex business or sex trade.
Those selling kids in the sex trade business are very sick individuals who should be locked away to never again see the light of day.
We will never entirely put a stop to this practice, but we as a state can do much more than we currently are to make sure those supplying children for sex and those paying to have sex with them can no longer use as a defense that they didn’t know their age when they had sex with them.
In Kentucky and several other states, people on trial for statutory rape crimes can use the defense of mistaken age. They will argue in their defense during a trial that they thought the person they paid for sex was at least 18 years old.
This is a weak and insulting defense to even try to use.
The simple fact is that most people who are paying to have sex with underage kids know that they’re underage and if they get caught are able to use this absurd excuse of not knowing they weren’t 18 years old as a defense in court.
It’s quite clear that something has to change within our state’s judicial system so this lame excuse can no longer be used as a defense against statutory rape.
We are quite fortunate to have Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron leading the charge on this issue. He, too, realizes that more must be done to do away with defendants using this defense.
Cohron is pushing for a strict liability law that says any individual who patronizes another individual for prostitution would be responsible for whatever age that individual is.
This sounds like a reasonable and sound proposal that one would think every legislator in Frankfort would gladly support, but unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case.
The strict liability law has been mentioned as human trafficking provisions have been expanded by the General Assembly, but it hasn’t garnered enough support.
Cohron said he believes some legislators don’t fully understand the severity of this issue.
We agree with Cohron’s assessment. We would also submit that his proposal is a no brainer.
These girls are having their identities and their innocence stolen from them from these predators.
What about their futures?
We believe most people would agree that their lives are the ones that need protection, not the sex traffickers and the rapists who use an outdated law to sometimes escape the punishment they deserve.
Cohron put it best when he said: “The long-term impact it has on these children is incomprehensible.”
Cohron also said if the law were changed, he believes some people would stop and think before paying minors for sex acts. He is correct. If someone knew they could no longer use the current law as a defense, there could be a reduction of those who are committing these acts.
There is simply no justification for someone who knowingly has sex with an underage girl to sit in a court of law and say that they believed the girl was 18 years old.
The current law is outdated, unfair and an insult to the victims.
That is why it needs to be changed, and we urge the legislature to get behind the strict liability law next session and pass it, not just to make it tougher on perpetrators, but more importantly to bring justice for the victims of these sordid crimes.
Bowling Green Daily News