everal state lawmakers are having a hard time explaining themselves after passing an asinine law that made every parent a sex offender just for completing the simple and common task of changing their baby’s diaper. While many laws are passed with the best intentions in mind, the practicality of this bill wasn’t well thought out, and it’s leaving many parents completely distressed and demanding answers.
The specific law in question was passed in Arizona, and it criminalizes ANY contact between an adult and a child’s genitals, meaning that if you’ve ever given your child a bath, changed their diaper, or helped them wipe after using the bathroom, you have now committed a felony sexual crime. Yes, really.
Of course, their intention for the law was to protect the children of Arizona from child molesters, but because these legislators have no clue apparently how to write an effective bill, parents are now considered criminals if they do the simple task of bathing or cleaning their children.
What’s even more bizarre is that rather than rewriting the law so parents aren’t committing sex crimes for the simple act of parenting, the Arizona State court then doubled down on the insanity, backing the law, insisting that “prosecutors are unlikely to charge parents engaged in innocent conduct.” They then ruled that defendants would be required to prove their “lack of sexual intent,” throwing the whole Constitutional right thing of “innocent until proven guilty” completely out the window.
Fordham law professor John Pfaff explained the law in more detail, highlighting its major negative implications:
“The majority’s logic has one final defect: It utterly ignores the reality of plea bargaining, which is how more than 90 percent of criminal cases in America are resolved. Given the immense expense and hassle of a trial, many defendants are pressured into striking a deal with a prosecutor, trading a lighter sentence for an admission of guilt. Arizona prosecutors can now dangle the threat of a probable child molestation conviction to coerce any parent of a young child into taking a plea deal on unrelated charges. With the state Supreme Court’s help, Arizona’s child molestation laws have been weaponized into a tool for prosecutorial harassment, allowing the state to target any parent or caregiver—out of spite or malice, or simply to boost their conviction rates. This terrible decision has gutted constitutional rights and turned many of the state’s residents into unknowing criminals. Barring intervention by the U.S. Supreme Court, due process has now been suspended for Arizona’s parents and caregivers.”
Seriously, what the hell?! In other words, these lawmakers are saying, “we are not rewriting the law that criminalizes normal parenting activities. Just trust that prosecutors will use common sense and apply the law with your best interests in mind.”
Yeah, that sounds just peachy, but what happens when the state decides to ruin someone’s life out of spite? We’ve all seen the federal government single people out because of their political or religious affiliations. Should we really trust that a state government won’t do the same thing? Not cool, Arizona.
H/T [Chicks on the Right]