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December 10, 2008

An honest (and honorable?) gendered sentencing outcome in adult-teen sex case

I have blogged in the past about how the sentencing of crimes involving adult-teen sexual relations often seems influenced by the genders of the adult and the teen.  The sentencing case from New Hampshire reported in this AP article, which is headlined "Judge cites boy's 'raging hormones,' reduces woman's sentence for sex with teen," brings this issue into the open in a case that seems notable (and strange) for various reasons.  Here are the basic details:

A 38-year-old woman was sentenced to prison Monday for sexually assaulting a teenage boy she initially accused of rape. Robin Mowery of Nashua was convicted in June of four counts of felonious sexual assault and two counts of sexual assault involving a friend of her teenage daughter. Mowery was 35 at the time; the boy was 15.

Prosecutors wanted her to serve 8 1/2 to 21 years behind bars, but Hillsborough County Superior Court Judge Robert Lynn handed down a lesser sentence of two to four years. She will receive credit for 180 days already served. "Like it or not, an underage boy having sex with an older-aged girl is viewed differently than the other way around," Lynn said at the sentencing hearing.

Lynn said he weighed the extent of the teen's victimization against how aggressively the boy pursued Mowery. "Young men have raging hormones. It doesn't make him a bad person," said Lynn, who also noted that the teen also tried to use the relationship as a "bargaining chip" to escape penalty for crimes committed as a juvenile.

Lynn also chastised Mowery for falsely testifying that the teen forced her to have sex at knifepoint. She also claimed he threatened to rape and kill her daughter if she spoke about their affair. "That was complete baloney," the judge said.

The paper reporting this story has created this little on-line survey to assess reader reactions to these gendered issues.  Disappointingly, one does not get to see the results of the survey upon completing it.

December 10, 2008 at 04:56 PM | Permalink

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Comments

At least she's getting /some/ time. I find this discount much more troubling in light of rape allegation. That's a serious charge to lie about.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | Dec 10, 2008 5:59:18 PM

There is a similar case recently charged in Louisville (Bullitt County), Ky., with a slight twist. The 25 year old female defendant, Jessica Smith, who is charged with rape and sodomy, is pregnant (presumably not by the 15 year old boy she is charged with having sexually assaulted). Ms. Smith was hired to babysit the 15 year old boy, but began having sex with him in December 2007, and continued off and on until a few month ago in 2008. She was arraigned on Monday, December 8, 2008, and pleaded not guilty. See, p.D-3 of the 12/10/08 Lexington "Herald-Leader" newspaper, which is available at "kentucky.com". There was an earlier article in the Friday, 12/5/08 Herlad-Leader, stating that her attoreny was making arrangements for her to turn herself in. It will be interesting to see how Ms. Smith's case plays out, in terms of sentencing (if she is found guilty), and whether she is carrying the boy's baby, or someone else's baby. Too wierd!

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Dec 10, 2008 10:01:06 PM

Something doesn't add up in that fact pattern (from the comment)... is there some reason the parents felt the need to hire a babysitter for a 15yo? Did he have some developmental disability that required an unusual level of supervision? Where they away for some extended period of time? I agree it is very wierd...

Posted by: Monty | Dec 11, 2008 1:35:45 AM

So Doug, do teenage girls have "raging hormones?"

Do teenage girls ever pursue an older male because of these hormones?

And should that matter to the law?

I don't see how this case constitutes an honorable sentencing decision based on gender.

Posted by: Steve | Dec 11, 2008 9:30:20 AM

il sesso è il divertimento della vita.

Posted by: trotoo | Jan 1, 2009 2:58:39 PM

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