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When does a child become an adult?

Milo Yiannopolous seems to have got himself into a spot of bother over remarks about homosexual sex with teenagers. The gist of it – especially if you read his clarification – seems to be that he was ready to take it up the bum at 13 and if it was OK for him then it would probably be OK for others. I suspect – given the little I know about him – that Milo at that age would have been capable of weighing up the pros and cons of such a decision. But not many others.

Milo raises – albeit indirectly – an important question: when does a child become an adult? As it happens, I drafted an attempt at an answer to this some time ago but lacked the guts to publish it. It’s time I did:

As the law stands if a man has sex with a female of 15 years and 364 days he is a scoundrel who should be imprisoned for a very long time. However, if he has sex with a female of 16 years and 0 days that’s just fine and dandy.

Or to put it another way, in the opinion of the law all women undergo the transition from young, innocent child to responsible, rational adult in a split second at exactly the same age.

That’s absurd; but, for the law, hardly uncommon. Similar rules apply to all sorts of aspects of growing up: when you can drive a car, enter into contracts, vote, marry, drink alcohol, leave school, get a job etc. And in each case the state’s answer is some arbitrary, one-size-fits-all number. And often it is a different number: 17 for driving (I am referring to English law here), 18 for drinking, 16 for sex. That can’t be right.

Could there perhaps, be a solution that is – to paraphrase H. L. Mencken – simple, neat and not wrong? The argument for numbers is that you have to draw the line somewhere, meaning: the law has to draw the line somewhere. But why should it be the law drawing the line? Why can’t it be the child? What if when the child comes to the decision that he is old enough to take on the rights and responsibilities of adulthood he just does? Obviously, he would have to tell people but that implies some sort of arrangement not unlike marriage with documents, ceremonies and cooling-off periods. Hardly beyond the wit of man.

I’ve been trying to think up some drawbacks. One might be that a girl’s declaration of adulthood might look awfully like a declaration that she wanted to have sex. And women are a bit coy about that sort of thing. Another might be that some children would decide to become adults at an absurdly young age and then proceed to ruin their lives, perhaps by driving the car into a bunch of passers-by. Or drinking themselves to death. But how likely is that? My personal experience of childhood is that I was perfectly well aware of my unpreparedness for taking on the responsiblities of adulthood. Perhaps we should be more worried about the other end of the age scale. Would some people choose to extend their childhood into their 20s and beyond?

Perhaps one way to look at this is to consider when we might ourselves have felt ready for the transition. In my case I think it was about 14-15. The only issue for me at that age would have been the predatory homosexuals who made up the school’s English Department.

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91 comments to When does a child become an adult?

  • John B

    “I suspect – given the little I know about him – that Milo at that age would have been capable of weighing up the pros and cons of such a decision. But not many others.”

    Given the ‘little you know’ about Milo and the absolutely nothing you know about ‘many others’, upon what can you possibly base that remark – certainly not unprejudiced objectivity?

  • John B

    ‘Milo raises – albeit indirectly – an important question: when does a child become an adult?’

    A child becomes and adult in the UK age 18… so that is not the question.

    The question actually is how does the State decide when a child can give consent?

    For example in France it is 15, in the UK 16, in other Countries it ranges from 13 to 18. The reality is it will vary from individual to individual

    Common Law does not set any limit but has the proviso that consent must be given and then leaves it up to a Court to decide on a case by case basis.

  • This is not true.
    Rest assured, should you ever manage to become as popular as Milo, these bastards will attempt to do the same to you.
    They hate us all. They have no honor, and they certainly have no argument.
    So they find ways of disqualifying us.

  • rxc

    You forgot the age at which young people are allowed to join the military (17, I believe, in the USA) and start to be able to legally maim and kill other people. BUt they are not allowed to vote or drink at that age, and I believe that they may not be allowed to privately own a gun in some states. But the US govt will train them how to launch a missile, or maintain, arm and detonate a nuclear weapon at that age, if they have the requisite educational credentials to understand what they are doing.

    Maybe there should be something like the Jewish bar mitzvah ceremony for boys (and the one for the females) where they declare that they have become a man. I have heard that it can often be accompanied by various types of initiation ceremonies/activities.

    I have to admit that I never seem to have gone thru adolescence – I never suffered all the angst that people talk and write about. Instead, one day it seemed to me that I was relatively independent (although with expectations about my continuing education), at about 14. And I was not very well socialized for a long time, but a lot of that may be due to my chosen profession (engineering), rather than my desires. So there might be some question about what sorts of “qualifications” or credentials one needs to accumulate before they can say that they are an adult. Maybe we need some sort of training courses in things like driving, alcohol, sex, weapons/fighting, social interaction, legal expertise, with practical exercises(!) that need to be completed and signed off, before you can be declared an adult.

  • boxty

    The same Democrat scum that oppose age of consent laws wanted 15 year olds to vote in the last election. There is no hypocrisy like Democrat hypocrisy.

  • When I was in high school, my classmate, Betty, wanted to get married. She was of an age where she couldn’t (legally) do that without parental consent. And they wouldn’t consent until she graduated from high school.

    So she buckled down, skipped a grade, and got married a year earlier than expected – with her parents’ blessings.

    Doing the work to skip a grade seems an excellent way to prove she was an adult. Holding on to her dreams while she did it is icing on the cake. There are many similar situations in our world. Why not let youth use them to “test out” of adolescence? Set the age-of-being-a-grown-up wherever society wants; let the kids get an early promotion by working hard, with fixity of purpose, for a reasonable goal, for a year.

  • QET

    What is telling here is not the real impossibility of a uniform universal solution, but the unrestrained (rather the reverse: the egged-on) righteous indignation and outrage being showered on Milo from all ideological corners of the US. Whatever one’s views on the proper age of consent to sexual activity, I thought Milo’s assignment of pedophilia to pre-pubescent children was both logically and morally correct. It is pedophilia that is the widely agreed evil; violent moral absolutism is entirely appropriate here. But pedophilia is not the proper designation for post-pubescent age of consent dilemmas. But like “Nazi” it is too rhetorically useful for people who already hated Milo and were just looking for something, anything, with which to take him down. Which is too bad, because I have always thought he makes a great deal of sense when not indulging his PT Barnum inclinations.

  • Alisa

    I like the general direction Patrick is going, and often thought about this in similar terms. Still:

    But why should it be the law drawing the line? Why can’t it be the child?

    Because a child by definition (not necessarily legal definition, the “natural” one) can’t be trusted to draw this line. An adult who only recently was a child can, even if the law does not yet recognize his adulthood.

    How would such a new adult draw such a line, ideally? By becoming independent – by which I mean financially independent, by which I mean from his parents/legal guardians. You want to stay out all night, have sex with whomever you like, drink whatever you like? Fine, go find a place and a job, and pay your own rent and upkeep. I don’t care what age you are – if someone will give you a job, paying you enough for your rent and your bills, you are an adult. If you can’t find a job that will accept you – either because they think you are too young, or for any other reason, and you must continue living with your parents – well then, my house, my rules (which of course does not mean that the rules are not subject to negotiations).

  • Patrick Crozier

    And going to “uni” doesn’t count.

  • Because a child by definition (not necessarily legal definition, the “natural” one) can’t be trusted to draw this line.

    This.

    Yes, it is somewhat daft that a girl of 15 years and 364 days cannot have sex but the next day she can but what, exactly, is the problem with waiting a bit (for either party)? Sure, a 20 year old might be madly in love with a 15 year old but if he can’t keep his dick in his pants for another year or so, maybe it’s not the best idea he sleeps with her in the first place. The damage done to people who fall slightly the wrong side of the arbitrary line is minimal (save for the stupid cases where a 16 year old is jailed for having pics of his 15 year old GF). Allowances should be made for the age disparity on top of the arbitrary age to deal with such cases (e.g. a 16 year old boy won’t get clobbered for fooling around with a 15 year old girl, but a 40 year old man would).

    Regarding Milo’s interview, I said this at my place:

    The whole discussion is on the edge to begin with, which is fine. But by stepping over that line with that sentence, Milo alienates the tens of thousands of men and women who believe in free speech and hate feminism in its modern form but really, really don’t want their 13 and 14 year old sons – gay or straight – to fall into the clutches of an older male authority figure who “helps them discover who they are” and “provides them with love” which takes the form of oral sex.

  • Alisa

    Tim, see his clarification on FB, to which Patrick linked in the post – it may be too late, but in my opinion not too little. What baffles me is that apparently Milo doesn’t have his own recording of that live stream – what was he thinking?

  • Sam Duncan

    “My personal experience of childhood is that I was perfectly well aware of my unpreparedness for taking on the responsiblities of adulthood.”

    I strongly suspect that you were highly unusual in that respect. Then again, it can hardly be beyond the education system, and parents themselves, to drum into children that it’s not something to be taken lightly. That once they take the step, there’s no going back: they’re responsible, and if anything untoward were to happen there’d be no special protection from the law.

    Then again, the peer-pressure among adolescents would be tremendous. But would kids being pressured into accepting adulthood before they’re ready be any worse than having it thrust upon them before they’re ready, as may often be the case now?

    I don’t know. It’s complicated. And, vastly imperfect though it is – don’t get me wrong – I think the current system is about the best we can hope for. Perhaps there’s room for a legal recognition of “adolescence”, a grey area between (for the sake of argument) the ages of 13 and 17, in which the ability to give consent is judged on its merits rather than automatically assumed present or absent, but other than that I don’t see much room for improvement.

    “I have to admit that I never seem to have gone thru adolescence – I never suffered all the angst that people talk and write about.”

    I’m almost 46 and still wondering when it’s going to stop.

  • Alisa

    Sure, a 20 year old might be madly in love with a 15 year old but if he can’t keep his dick in his pants for another year or so, maybe it’s not the best idea he sleeps with her in the first place.

    It is for the two of them, or for her parents to decide, Tim. The former is if she independent, lives on her own, etc – i.e. an adult as per my previous comment. The latter if she is still a child in the care of her parents. None of these issues can be generalized at all, as long as we are talking about young individuals who have reached biological puberty.

  • Mr Ed

    As the law stands if a man has sex with a female of 15 years and 364 days he is a scoundrel who should be imprisoned for a very long time. However, if he has sex with a female of 16 years and 0 days that’s just fine and dandy.

    Or to put it another way, in the opinion of the law all women undergo the transition from young, innocent child to responsible, rational adult in a split second at exactly the same age.

    That’s absurd; but, for the law, hardly uncommon

    I don’t think that that is a proper characterisation of the situation. The law is statute law and it simply sets an arbitrary age by which a person is deemed capable of giving consent. It provides the benefit of certainty (provided that you trust the ID and person you are dealing with if you are on the wrong end of the law). There are some female adults who are deemed incapable of giving consent in the view of the courts in England and iirc there are general injunctions against shagging them.

    If you say it is absurd, that may be your view, but the alternative, if there are to be such laws, and you would find very few opposed to them, including some obvious candidates, is an examination of the capabilities of any person to consent to sex absent any intoxication or disability, and where do you draw the line then, without yourself drawing an absurd distinction and risking an ex post facto ruling that consent could not have been granted? You might then be in a situation where consent freely given is retrospectively withdrawn by a court, or if not, you might still face a trial. This situation has at least the legal benefit of certainty.

    What I would regard as absurd would be two youngsters on the eve of their (say) 16th birthdays somewhere in the USA, having a ‘roll’ after midnight as they turn sixteen, and somehow rolling over a State line or timezone line and being back into the yesterday they had just left and 15 again and felons.

  • Itellyounothing

    On a practical level, people on or about the child adult border solve this problem simply by most of them having sex happily then never running off and telling the Police about it. Neatly demonstrating adult decision making.

  • Steve

    I seem to have met quite a lot of people aged well over 18 that seem incapable of rational thought, without which you cannot give informed consent. Many would never reach adulthood.

  • William O. B'Livion

    You forgot the age at which young people are allowed to join the military (17, I believe, in the USA)

    That is only *with* parental permission. I still have a mental picture of the Marine Recruiter in his Class Cs sitting at our dining room table going over the paperwork with my parents.

    Spent my 18th birthday in Boot Camp.

    I recommend it.

    and start to be able to legally maim and kill other people.

    You’re a twit.

  • On a practical level, people on or about the child adult border solve this problem simply by most of them having sex happily then never running off and telling the Police about it. Neatly demonstrating adult decision making

    Indeed. I popped my cherry (repeatedly) at 13 with someone much older and told no one, thereby getting screwed (in a good way) uninterrupted for several years. Not sure I would recommend it for everybody but it worked for me.

    Age of consent is not as utterly impossible to get rational discussion about as the issue of race is, but it is possibly second on the list of ‘deranging’ issues, and thus generally worth avoiding.

  • Indeed. I popped my cherry (repeatedly) at 13 with someone much older and told no one, thereby getting screwed (in a good way) uninterrupted for several years. Not sure I would recommend it for everybody but it worked for me.

    I hope he was gentle. 😈

  • JohnW

    Reaganbattalion was part of a well planned coordinated Deep State attack – they released a shortened edited video to poison the water which excluded Milo’s comments in support of the current age of consent.

    MUST SEE HERE.

    See also Mike’s Danger and Play website and scroll down his twitter feed HERE.

    Kind of ironic given what we know from wikileaks see, for example, Joe Rogan’s show with Alex Jones.

    Flynn and Milo in one week.

    Impressive.

  • ns

    The law is statute law and it simply sets an arbitrary age by which a person is deemed capable of giving consent.

    This. The state is a crude, blunt instrument but that is a good thing, mostly. Age works best. Why? Because any test for competency recognized by the state would be subject to confirmation by the state, and thus to manipulation by bureaucrats. Age is relatively objective; at 12:00:01 AM on your 18th birthday you are unequivocally 18. If there is a competency test, even if it’s a checklist of more than one factor, the state (either bureaucrat or politician) controls who is an adult, and thus the vote, state and who has rights. (See the IRS scandal on this side of the pond).

    That said, the consent laws and predator laws here in the U.S. are messed up, and in serious need of reform.

  • William O. B'Livion

    in the opinion of the law all women undergo the transition from young, innocent child to responsible, rational adult in a split second at exactly the same age.

    IDK about English law, but in the US it’s not that *they* change, it’s that the law about who is accountable for their actions changes.

    As (legal) children the adults around them are held accountable. As (legal) adults *they* are held accountable.

    Which really is the difference.

    I believe Milo is wrong about almost any 14 year old being able to make good decisions about sex and his anecdote about “seducing” a priest demonstrates that. Having sex with a priest has MUCH bigger ramifications than blowing some random businessman picked up in district (or bar) that is known to cater to that clientele.

  • Alisa

    The interview transcript here.

    Plus, someone knock me over with a feather.

  • Paul Marks

    One odd thing is that self described “social conservatives” are very keen on Milo – he is (or was) held up as the hero of arch Catholics and so on.

    But then Donald Trump is a bit of a swinger (although nothing like Milo) – very much part of the New York City fast set. And he is wildly popular with the same people.

    I officially do not understand the modern world – it baffles me.

    But as for Milo being punished for what he SAYS (as opposed to what he does) – certainly NOT, to punish people for wild words is an outrage.

  • JohnW

    Billions – hell trillions! – are at stake: see the link to Mike Cernovich’s periscope above.

    I would put nothing past these people – they do not see their opponents as humans, I even doubt they see themselves as human.

    We are cattle to them – the sooner we acknowledge that the better for all of us.

  • JohnW

    They took down pewdiepie because he linked to PJW.

  • I hope he was gentle. 😈

    She wasn’t I am please to report 😛

  • Expatnik

    I believe Milo is wrong about almost any 14 year old being able to make good decisions about sex

    14 is legal in perfectly sensible Switzerland.

  • bobby b

    If I am subject to a restraining order keeping me at least 100 feet from someone, I can be 101 feet from them, but not 99 feet.

    If my building code says a ceiling must be at least 7 feet high, it can be 7’0″, but not 6’11”.

    The miniscule differences themselves are indefensible. One foot closer or one inch lower are not by themselves dangerous.

    But to codify a rule that can be enforced evenly and fairly, we set arbitrary limits that can be measured and verified.

    I, being a cautious soul, took the “age of consent” rules very seriously, and decided to wait until I felt fully mature and capable. And it will happen, I just know it . . .

  • Alisa

    I, being a cautious soul, took the “age of consent” rules very seriously, and decided to wait until I felt fully mature and capable. And it will happen, I just know it . . .

    I’m sure we all feel safer for it…


  • 14 is legal in perfectly sensible Switzerland.

    Aren’t there restrictions on age disparity, though? Can a 40 year old really have sex with a 14 year old in Switzerland?

  • pete

    Milo blundered here.

    It’s all very well being outrageous and controversial but he should have had the good sense to realise that he was on a hiding to nothing with this matter.

  • Mary Contrary

    Didn’t the Romans base adulthood on the paterfamilias’ judgement of the individual’s maturity, rather than a bare number? But that leaves the individual awfully exposed to the whim of the paterfamilias.

    Alisa wrote (more about adulthood generally than age of consent specifically):

    “How would such a new adult draw such a line, ideally? By becoming independent – by which I mean financially independent, by which I mean from his parents/legal guardians. You want to stay out all night, have sex with whomever you like, drink whatever you like? Fine, go find a place and a job, and pay your own rent and upkeep. I don’t care what age you are – if someone will give you a job, paying you enough for your rent and your bills, you are an adult. If you can’t find a job that will accept you – either because they think you are too young, or for any other reason, and you must continue living with your parents – well then, my house, my rules (which of course does not mean that the rules are not subject to negotiations).”

    Bump.

    By which I mean, this deserves more than to be passed by so quickly.

    Three notable, related effects of adopting Alisa’s formulation would be
    1) this would be a variable metric, not only between people but also (in consequence, on average) over time. That is to say, the average age of measured maturity now would be significantly later than half a century ago.
    2) there would be far more people currently legally adults that would be deemed to be still children in Alisa’s world, than the other way around;
    3) the petty, immature, ridiculous behaviour we see exhibited on university campuses would correlate more closely with a general cultural decision to treat those that act that way as children rather than responsible adults – as they so clearly deserve and (in many cases) effectively demand themselves.

    I must say, the closer I look at this idea, the more I like it.

  • Ferox

    In the US the situation is made worse by the differing ages of consent in different (and neighboring) states. This leads occasionally to the injustice of a boy (and it’s virtually always the boy) being arrested after having sex with his girlfriend (of perfectly legal age in their home state) while visiting a neighboring state. He then becomes a “sex offender”, the worst caste of person, and his life is effectively over.

    On a different note, aren’t there some countries (Japan?) which manage to do perfectly well without a legally defined age of consent?

  • staghounds

    Shockingly, talking about your own sexual life with strangers again leads to problems.

  • Mr Black

    Milo apparently comes from a world where sex with under age boys and men is not uncommon and he was trying to walk the line between acknowledging that it was not always about sexual predation, in many cases it seemed to him that horny young boys just wanted to have sex and older men were a ready source of experienced fun. But of course saying that out loud offends all the moral scolds and those with rather rigid sexual preferences so now he must be destroyed. But most normal people are quite aware that what he said is entirely true and consistent with a lot of our own experiences.

  • Expatnik

    Aren’t there restrictions on age disparity, though? Can a 40 year old really have sex with a 14 year old in Switzerland?

    Two years. i.e. to plough a 14 year old legally in Switzerland, you cannot be older than 16 yourself. Sensible folk the Swiss, I think they get it right in these matters.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . to plough a 14 year old legally in Switzerland, you cannot be older than 16 yourself. Sensible folk the Swiss . . . “

    Of course, their parliament is currently dominated by 15-year-old boys.

  • On a different note, aren’t there some countries (Japan?) which manage to do perfectly well without a legally defined age of consent?

    Given the Japanese obsession with schoolgirls and having been in a Japanese sex shop, I think the words “doing perfectly well” are straining a bit.

  • Two years. i.e. to plough a 14 year old legally in Switzerland, you cannot be older than 16 yourself. Sensible folk the Swiss, I think they get it right in these matters.

    Yes, that’s what I would have thought. As you say, sensible folk the Swiss.

  • One thing I think that is missing is that there is a vast difference between a 13 year old boy being seduced by an older man, and being seduced by an older man who holds some sort of authority position over the boy, e.g. a priest, teacher, or Scout master. Whereas some may accept that a 13 year old boy may be curious, etc. very few will be happy that their kid they sent to a Scout camp is targeted for oral sex or sodomy by the adult who is supposed to be in charge of him. The trouble is, where would a 13 year old boy meet an older man who isn’t either a family friend or somebody in a position of authority? Where would they meet a complete stranger, other than perhaps dedicated internet chat rooms or public toilets?

    As I said at my place, I think Milo opened an interesting discussion regarding sexual age of consent but alienated his natural supporters by implying that an authority figure such as a priest having sex with boys under their charge is okay. Whatever your views on the age of consent, most normal people find the idea of this abhorrent: it’s not the age difference per se, but the abuse of position.

  • Mr Ed

    Two years. i.e. to plough a 14 year old legally in Switzerland, you cannot be older than 16 yourself. Sensible folk the Swiss, I think they get it right in these matters.

    Yes, that’s what I would have thought. As you say, sensible folk the Swiss.

    Doesn’t almost every father in Switzerland have a rifle at home?

  • Doesn’t almost every father in Switzerland have a rifle at home?

    Armed fathers sharpen the minds of horny teenage boys everywhere, I imagine.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    My dad had rifles and shotguns at home in rural East Anglia. It sharpened my mind, that is for damn sure.

  • Alisa

    it’s not the age difference per se, but the abuse of position.

    True, but this needs to be phrased more precisely: it is the possibility of such an abuse. Age aside for a moment, just because a boss dates his secretary, or a professor dates his student, does not in and of itself mean they are abusing their position. Of course there is a realistic chance they are, and that’s why it is quite sensible for organizations to frown upon such relationships to protect themselves from legal trouble – but to automatically see this as morally reprehensible is to go too far. Because, as you say, where would people meet other people, including for mere sex or for longer-term partnerships, if not at work or at school? Are singles’ bars (gay or straight) really preferable?

    Back to legal age for various purposes, as someone pointed out above the sensible way to see this is as a framework for assigning responsibility – this applies to drinking age, driving age, and similar. Originally the age of sexual consent was to assign responsibility for resulting pregnancies (or so I imagine – please someone correct me if I am wrong historically, but even if I am, it is still the sensible reason for this age limit, in my view). This day and age this should no longer be a major concern, although someone still needs to be responsible for failure to use contraception. And, with same-sex relationship this is not a concern at all, obviously.

    Point is, ultimately it is all about responsibility: adults, however defined*, must be responsible for themselves and their actions, while other adults should be responsible for those defined as children, provided they had willingly taken that responsibility upon themselves – either by fathering/giving birth to a child, or by accepting legal guardianship over one.

    *

    On a different note, aren’t there some countries (Japan?) which manage to do perfectly well without a legally defined age of consent?

    I don’t know the answer to that, but I see no rational reason why it couldn’t work. Mind you, as imperfect as the legal age for-whatever is, it still shouldn’t be as awful as it currently is, provided it can be made consistent across the board – i.e. uniform legal age for all intents and purposes: drinking, driving, sex, and military service. But I still think that letting individual families draw the line themselves is a better approach.

  • Matthew McConnagay

    I’ll take “Reasons why I’m not a Libertarian” for 200, Alex

  • Alisa

    I’ll take “Reasons why I’m not a Libertarian” for 200, Alex

    Yeah, but who cares?

  • Pollo

    Armed fathers sharpen the minds of horny teenage boys everywhere, I imagine.

    Well, not everywhere. Not in Texas or New Mexico for example which are amongst the States with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and gun ownership.

  • Mr Ed

    Well, not everywhere. Not in Texas or New Mexico for example which are amongst the States with the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and gun ownership.

    But would that be in the same demographic? e.g. are gun-owners and their families more likely to avoid a welfare lifestyle and teenage pregnancies, and vice versa?

  • Alisa

    Speaking of TX and guns, Kim’s blog is back.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . very few will be happy that their kid they sent to a Scout camp is targeted for oral sex or sodomy by the adult who is supposed to be in charge of him. The trouble is, where would a 13 year old boy meet an older man who isn’t either a family friend or somebody in a position of authority? Where would they meet a complete stranger, other than perhaps dedicated internet chat rooms or public toilets? . . . “

    Without the long boring supporting essay, let me throw out a few random assertions:

    1. If a boy has a relationship with an adult male who is concerned about him and involved with him, the chance of the kid entering into such an illicit relationship between the ages of 10 and 16 approaches zero;

    2. The “authority figure” issue sort of resolves itself because, to a 10-16-year-old boy, an adult or near-adult is by default an authority figure just by dint of the age disparity and the kid’s stage of emotional development;

    3. The number of boys being raised in environments without any presence of an older male is startlingly large. Young boys with no adult males in their lives (generally) crave attention and approval from adult males. In our society, if you’re an adult male who interacts with kids, you are constantly reminded of this, and warned not to allow kids to become attached – because with very little encouragement, they will. It’s almost heartbreaking, because you end up seeing so many boys who would do so much better if they were allowed to form such attachments – but the realistic paranoia of being accused of something improper demands rigid boundaries;

    4. If you’ve been one of the aforesaid counselors or Scout leaders for your boys’ troops, or just the parent of boys going through sports, school, and friends, you tend to meet and know and witness the growing up of lots and lots of boys who also grow up knowing you. I think those are the kind of adults most kids end up knowing – there’s no need or much opportunity to meet pure strangers, and most kids don’t; and

    5. You’re safer than you might think sending your boy off with the Scouts, or with the fathers involved in school activities. Generally, the adult males involved are there because they have boys of the same age there too, and the array of fathers with similar-aged boys ranks low in predation skills or impulses.

    YMMV.

  • bobby b

    Oops. #1 should read “If a boy has a proper relationship . . . “

  • Watchman

    Alisa,

    Letting individual families decide the fate of their children is hardly sensible. You are requiring the parent(s) to be primarily concerned with the children’s welfare, whilst not also being concerned with an ideology that is inimical to that welfare (most religions, feminism, socialism, watching Eastenders, Liberatrianism etc). I am not convinced many parents will get that balance right to be honest – not sure I would (I tend towards libetarianism and libeteenism…), plus I know my wife would disagree with me on this. I am always confused by the idea that a family is a good unit for decisions about the individual to be honest (and I come from a loving and supportive family).

    I think an arbitrary limit is the only answer myself, although there is no issue with this being debated and moved. It might not respect differences between individuals in terms of maturity, but frankly I am not convinced (sorry Perry) that many 13-year old boys are mature enough to make a sane decision about clothing or music taste, never mind a sexual relationship – and the outcome of the first two is only ridicule and bad photos (and some dubious suggestions on your music streaming app of choice in a few years). I’d doubt half of sixteen year olds really can make that sort of decision either – so this is probably about the right place for the line on that basis…

    I don’t favour a unified age limit though, since that removes the ability of people to change things. A single limit for each type of autonomy is fine; a unified limit means you have to tie your understanding of when people can consent to sex to when they are suited to voting to when they are able to take intoxicating substances responsibly (this last one obviously being an oxymoron). These are actually different questions, so why we would we expect to have the same answer? And if we do, doesn’t the fact this will be an average result in an issue that e.g. people are not legally able to have sex when they are fully able to make the relevant decisions but are able to vote without having the necessary maturity (and yes, voting does require more maturity than sex, not that either are done with much maturity by many people…). After all, if you’re going to have an age limit for an activity, for which their is a convincing case from this thread, then the only logical reason for setting this is that you think that is the appropriate age for that activity. To just blithely assume that the appropriate age for all activities falls at once strikes of a bureaucratic fiction.

  • Alisa

    Watchman, in your first paragraph, substitute parents/families with government/strangers. The rest of your comment may be read in a similar manner. We live in an imperfect world, but there are less and more imperfect ways to organize it. YMMV, but it is still your mileage.

  • bobby b

    ” . . . I am not convinced . . . that many 13-year old boys are mature enough to make a sane decision about clothing or music taste, never mind a sexual relationship . . . “

    My oldest son is 26. I’m still waiting.

    (What the hell is a “beyonce”?)

  • My view FWIW.

    1) The anecdote told by Ellen (February 21, 2017 at 4:33 pm) shows the (rational and just) catch22 of the age of consent situation. If you’re mature enough to have sex before the age of consent, you’re mature enough to wait till the age of consent. If you’re not mature enough to postpone gratification, you’re not mature enough to make that decision. BTW, I knew a similar case to Ellen’s: a girl fell madly in love with an older (almost 10 years older) man when she was 13 – and (perhaps helped by his high-minded affection for her) – controlled herself until her age meant that marriage and sex were lawful. (I cannot guarantee the two occurred as perfectly in that order as some Victorians might approve, but close enough.) Her parents found it (rather obviously) necessary to ask both her and him their intentions and, with some understandable difficulties, came to trust them both during her pre-consent years.

    When you combine the above with the dangerous combination of judicial activism + interpretable rules (under which it is OK for a certain left-approved film director to do, but a crime for a certain right-wing debater to discuss), then an objective age of consent is easy to defend and hard to replace.

    2) That Salon deleted all its pro-paedophile articles before attacking Milo is one of several reasons why the irony is strong with me, as it is with Alisa (February 21, 2017 at 8:01 pm), when I find evidence to “knock me over with a feather” of how calculated the whole hit job is.

    3) I have a day job so have not (or not yet) checked Sarah Hoyt’s links to the whole of what Milo actually said to correct for hostile bit-quoting, etc. From what I currently know, I would strongly disagree with certain remarks of Milo, but would rather debate it with him than silence him. However that would need the ability to have an adult conversation about this adult topic, and that is what those who launched this intend to prevent.

  • Paul Marks

    In the 19th century the struggle was to increase the age of consent – in order to prevent children being sexually exploited, now things seem to be going in to the reverse.

    As for Roman Law – one School of Thought held that adulthood should be decided by a physical test (is the girl menstruating – have the testicles of the boy dropped) the other School of Thought held to a fixed age.

  • Laird

    Well, so far here we’ve discussed the legal age for consensual sex, drinking alcohol, joining (or being drafted into) the military, driving, and voting, but those are all special cases. So far, no one has mentioned the two most important reason for having a general “age of majority” in the first place: being held responsible for criminal acts committed, and entering into legally binding contracts.

    Most crimes require mens rea, or bad intent, and the law presumes that in general someone under a specified age is incapable of forming such intent because he lacks the mental maturity to do so. That makes sense to me, provided that the general rule can be overridden where appropriate, which (in the US, anyway) it can; minors are routinely tried as adults for especially heinous crimes. And contracts are everywhere: signing a lease, subscribing for cell phone service, buying a car, getting a credit card, opening a bank account; the list is endless. One of the necessary elements of a valid (i.e., legally enforceable) contract is the capacity to understand what one is doing. It’s useful to have a “bright line” test for that, so the counterparty can enter into the contract with assurance that it’s enforceable. Within reason, I’m comfortable with pretty much whatever the relevant jurisdiction collectively decides (16, 18, 21, whatever), again provided that there is a mechanism to override the general rule. And (at least in all jurisdictions I know of) there is: a minor can petition a court for a declaration of emancipation, which confers upon him the prerogatives of adulthood, and a court can likewise declare a person incompetent, which renders him ineligible for such. To me, that seems a pretty good system.

    As to all those “special cases”, the reasons for each are different and so it’s only natural that the resulting ages should be, too. Driving (on public roads, shared with other drivers) requires a reasonably well developed set of motor skills and a certain level of emotional maturity. 16+/- seems reasonable there. And note that the “driving age” does not apply on private property, so a minor child can, for instance, operate machinery on the family farm. Again, perfectly reasonable. If the military wants to establish a minimum age for enlistees (to ensure adequate physical development or whatever) that’s its prerogative; I don’t think of it as a “law” (even if codified) as much as simply a job requirement established by an employer. Consent for sex is somewhat different: as Alisa says, with girls there’s the pregnancy issue, and there’s always the problem of abuse of authority, so I think having some rules limiting the age differential is appropriate. But otherwise, once puberty is reached I don’t think it’s the state’s place to restrict sexual activity; that’s the job of parents, churches and societal pressures generally. The same with consuming alcohol: no statutory age limit, but you’re responsible for whatever actions you take while intoxicated (such as drunk driving). Beyond that, it’s a decision for parents. (My father permitted the kids to drink a little wine with dinner, even at young ages. He thought it promoted responsibility, as well as an appreciation for wine. I think he was right.) And voting certainly requires emotional maturity which, frankly, too many supposed adults lack. I would raise that age, at least to 21 (35 would probably be better!). There is simply no comparability between casting a responsible ballot and shooting the enemy, or drinking, or having sex. The mental attributes are entirely different, as should be the ages.

  • JohnW

    Milo’s statement – cut from the leaked video – that the current legal age of consent is “about right” seems perfectly reasonable to me.

  • Mr Ed

    And voting certainly requires emotional maturity which, frankly, too many supposed adults lack. I would raise that age, at least to 21 (35 would probably be better!).

    But since the Democrats are so much more bi-partisan, statesmanlike and mature than Republican Party Reptiles, should not the age for voting Democrat be raised to 100?

  • Niall.

    If you’re mature enough to have sex before the age of consent, you’re mature enough to wait till the age of consent. If you’re not mature enough to postpone gratification, you’re not mature enough to make that decision.

    Yup.

  • Fraser Orr

    I wonder if the outrage would have been the same were Milo having sex with a woman at that age (as our host tells us he did.) I wonder if the age of consent should be different for men and women.

    The press has done a lot on female teachers diddling their male students, but I think in truth society’s collective horror at this is really more about political correctness than any real belief that the boys are actually damaged by this. But perhaps I am wrong. Or perhaps sex really is different for boys and girls, or perhaps the difference is to do with society inculcating certain views about studs and sluts that make it different.

    However, what I wonder about most is Alisa’s comment above, namely that to be treated as an adult you should behave as an adult, that is to say take responsibility for your basic needs to house yourself, feed yourself and clean your own toilet. There are surely some issues with this but it is an interesting idea. Problem is that were that the case I think the average age of emancipation in America would be about 25.

  • Alisa

    If you’re not mature enough to postpone gratification, you’re not mature enough to make that decision.

    True, and postponing gratification is often necessary – question is, how necessary it is in the case Niall described, or in similar cases? Should a person postpone sexual gratification just because of arbitrary laws that may get them and their family in legal trouble? Sure. Is this a sufficient argument for having such laws in the first place? Well, that is the debatable part, and my guess is this argument becomes circular in at least some cases.

  • Alisa

    Fraser, I began working at age 14, which was about half a century ago, and was perfectly legal at the time (provided I stayed in school and only worked during summer breaks – which I did, and which was very common for good kids from good homes). Only about 30 years later it was no longer legal for kids that age. These laws do vary with countries, but I understand this to be a common trend throughout the West. Have the kids undergone such a drastic evolutionary (or maybe counter-evolutionary) change during such a short period of time? I doubt it. The cultural change is extreme, but not irreversible, I think.

  • Watchman

    Alisa,

    Wierd – I started working at about 14 around 30 years ago (never for a career, but for the money (and something to do during a holiday)).

    Anyway, apart from illustrating regional differences, you earlier suggested I substitute family with government in my comments. But I never suggested government – I suggested (admittedly not very clearly) the rule of law. Admittedly this is likely to be filtered through government but I do have the weakness of believing democracy produces better results that patriarchy (in the proper, non-feminist sense – irritating that I have to say this…). In effect we do need a simple and clear rule (note that family consent would require verifying both age of the person and the particular permission – not an easy process for teenagers fancying sex, unless you want some form of recognised scheme for acknowledging majority, which might just require government (I can’t see how this would work as a private initiative)). You either know you are in the right or in the wrong – anything beyond that gives far more power to government than being the locus of a simple decision about where the line sits would do. We don’t want government having grey areas to exploit, and the easy way to do this is to require them to produce laws in black and white.

  • Fraser Orr

    @Alisa
    Fraser, I began working at age 14, which was about half a century ago

    That is a really good thing, but unless you were supporting yourself, I don’t think it would necessarily be an indication of your emancipation. Though no doubt you were more ready for it than many 30 year olds living in their parent’s basement.

    > Have the kids undergone such a drastic evolutionary (or maybe counter-evolutionary) change during such a short period of time?

    I’m not particularly arguing against you here, but I will say this: kids haven’t changed much but society has changed a lot, and in two important ways.

    Firstly, parents’ risk tolerance for their children is much lower. When I was a kid we had this big open area behind where I lived called “the quarry.” It had been a stone quarry and also farm land. Consequently, the place was littered with dangerous tunnels and rusting farm equipment with gigantic blades, a huge rusting combine harvester springs to mind. Needless to say, this was very attractive to us all and we played on it all the time including the rite of passage, crawl through the rat infested underground tunnel or you are a sissy (which was the WORST thing to be.) The thought of this, or of my children doing this is utterly horrifying to me from my adult, and apparently sissy, perspective.

    Second, and perhaps more importantly, we don’t live in factory driven economy now. Now we live in an information economy, consequently, children do need a much higher level of education than they did before. I’m not claiming they are getting it from the dreadful schools and colleges, but for sure spending more time learning is a legitimate change that children should be doing.

    But I do lament the loss of the kid starting his little paper round business. It is a big loss in the burgeoning gig economy.

  • staghounds

    Alisa, as far as fellow colleagues being sexually involved, as a boss I’d be against it- economically involved, or anything else. I don’t want my employees thinking of their fellows as sexual partners, debtors or lenders, or baby sitters for that matter. Because some proportion of my employees will soon think of each other as cheating exes, deadbeats, greedy moneylenders, or bad caregivers.

  • Alisa

    but unless you were supporting yourself, I don’t think it would necessarily be an indication of your emancipation.

    Of course not. I only brought this in answer to your point on the shift in age perceptions (the 25-year-olds you mentioned), and that shift did in fact occurr for all the reasons you mentioned and then some – precisely what I meant by ‘cultural changes’.

    Incidentally, I was not supporting myself, just making some pocket money during the summer to use for the rest of the year. I was also far from ready at that age to become independent, although I remember some of my peers who seemed mature enough or very close. It is very much an individual matter, and that is the gist of my entire point.

    staghounds, I absolutely understand your take on this, although I imagine other employers may see this differently. In any case, you know best what’s best for your business, and that’s how you should run it.

  • Alisa

    Second, and perhaps more importantly, we don’t live in factory driven economy now. Now we live in an information economy, consequently, children do need a much higher level of education than they did before. I’m not claiming they are getting it from the dreadful schools and colleges, but for sure spending more time learning is a legitimate change that children should be doing.

    I never mentioned factories (although I did work in one for one summer). Someone still needs to wait tables, clerk and man checkouts at stores, etc. My very first job was washing dishes – they still wash dishes in restaurants, I imagine.

  • Some above have speculated that leaving home and becoming self-supporting could indicate you are mature enough to decide about sex. The latter part of this distressing account concerns a boy who did exactly that at 14 but, working with older men, was too young and inexperienced to see trouble coming. (WARNING: it’s not a happy read; skip it if my description gives you enough for this comment.)

    Obviously there was no element of consent in the events described towards the end of that link, but it shows how a 14-year-old (one nominally living an adult life and having a gay relative and theoretical knowledge of all that) failed to recognise a risk that someone four years older would probably have at least thought of. Thus it seems relevant also to the case of formal consent. A 14 year old can live by themselves and earn an adult wage and think themselves informed about worldly matters, yet still lack much of the robustness that only a few more years will give them.

  • Alisa

    Niall, that was to long for me to extract the relevant part – could you tl;dr it here, or just tell me if you think that whatever happened to that kid couldn’t have happened to someone 4-years his senior, or to the same kid if he still lived with his parents?

    Also, the fact that someone lives on his own does not always mean that he’s ready for it – some times it happens when there is no other alternative for that young person, and that’s not what I meant at all.

  • Plamus

    Alisa:

    Someone still needs to wait tables, clerk and man checkouts at stores, etc.

    In the US, it’s not uncommon to have a cashier to ring up and bag the rest of your groceries, and then have to call someone else to ring up and bag your booze, because as a minor (<21) they are not legally allowed to sell you alcohol.

  • AmyH

    Milo was abused at 13 by a man (and a priest at that). I think he does not want to see himself as a victim so he rationalizes that he he was old enough to want what happened. Milo does not advocate for pedophilia even if he is wrong about the nature of the power relationship between himself and the priest who abused him.

    What he has done is talk about the all to common grooming of young confused teenage boys by older men.

  • AmyH

    Also… this issue is actually two issues. How young is to young to have sex and, as a separate issue, is it OK for much older men to have sex with boys under 18.

    I would say that 13 is too young regardless. I would also say that their is such a thing as punching in your own weight class. Even if 14, 15 or 16 year olds are old enough to have sex, it is an abuse of power, and extremely morally if not legally wrong, for much older individuals to have sex with them.

  • Alisa

    Yep Plamus, I know.

  • Alisa (February 22, 2017 at 11:47 pm): “Niall, that was too long for me to extract the relevant part – … just tell me if you think that whatever happened to that kid couldn’t have happened to someone 4-years his senior, or to the same kid if he still lived with his parents?”

    The quoted interview bit that starts “Well, I was just sort of naive” and carries on to “I just didn’t know” is a much briefer and less detailed summary of the event than further on in the article. As the words I’ve quoted suggest, he interprets it as the ignorance of a 14-year-old failing to notice an obvious warning sign. Had he been living at home, that would have prevented it trivially, but also he’d have mentioned the thing that puzzled him and his parents would have told him what it meant, and what danger it could point to. And I think that, other things being equal, an 18-year-old, or even a 16-year-old, would have been less naive.

  • Alisa

    Thanks Niall – I searched the page for the beginning of the interview, and am saving it for later reading, as it does look rather interesting.

    For now though and within the context of our discussion here, this bit struck me immediately
    – and I must add that I did suspect to find there something along this line, as I suggested earlier:

    His mother kicked him out of home.

    Well, there you have it, as I suspected: this kid was not ready to go into the world on his own, but rather found himself in that situation not through his own initiative, but through someone else’s (his ‘domineering mother’ in this case). As I said yesterday, this kind of situation was abosulutely not what I had in mind. I am talking about largely functional families, where the relationship between the parents and their child is healthy, and where the latter begins to assert his own individuality and independence, to the point where his particular preferences and lifestyle become increasingly incompatible with that of his parents. What I am saying is that at that stage it is worth it, subject to the realistic judgment of the parents, to examine the possibility that the child is no longer a child, but a young adult, who may be ready to take full responsibility for his own life. It obviously doesn’t have to happen all at once (‘first find a job, see how you are doing’ and that kind of thing). There are many different ways to go about it, but simply kicking a kid out of the home because he wouldn’t go to church is obviously not one of them.

  • bobby b

    “I am talking about largely functional families, where the relationship between the parents and their child is healthy, and where the latter begins to assert his own individuality and independence, to the point where his particular preferences and lifestyle become increasingly incompatible with that of his parents.”

    What about the other 70% of the world? We need legal codes mostly to deal with those whose moral grounding is more tenuous. The bright, happy kid with the great home life seldom needs the crude direction that laws confer.

  • Alisa

    What about the other 70% of the world?

    So now we are writing laws for the world? In the world where I live, the statistics are more or less the other way round, and I suspect the situation is similar in your neck of the world as well. In places where that is not the case, they have more serious problems than the age difference between parties to sexual encounters – such as, where’s my next meal going to come from and when, and will whatever-passes-for-my-home be bombed today or tomorrow.

  • Alisa

    We need legal codes mostly to deal with those whose moral grounding is more tenuous.

    That is what we have now, and it sort-of works – I am not attacking the current legal arrangement, and if you read my comments, you saw that. I am suggesting another way – one of dealing with these issues on the basis of assigning responsibility on a case-by-case basis, rather than on a uniform one-size-fits-all age. Feel free to pass.

  • rxc

    @WBO
    Spent my 18thbirthday in boot camp.
    I recommend it.
    and start to be able to legally maim and kill other people.
    You’re a twit.

    I don’t think you understand my point. I had to wait till I was 22 to get into boot camp, and I consider it to have been a very uplifting and informative experience. I would highly recommend it for everyone. Seriously. No snark. I don’t condemn the people who have to do those jobs, because I used to be one of them, and think that it is sometimes necessary to kill people and destroy stuff. I am just pointing out the inconsistencies of modern definitions of “adulthood”.

  • Alisa (February 23, 2017 at 9:14 pm): “His mother kicked him out of home”

    No, that is a little too brief (I referred you to a small part of the article adequate for one aspect – it was not adequate for other aspects).

    ” … as I suspected: this kid was not ready to go into the world on his own, but rather found himself in that situation not through his own initiative,”

    The full detail is that his mother certainly does not emerge as a paragon in his account – quite the reverse – but in fact (evidently at the end of a period of parental demands and teenage rebellion) demanded a very minimal courtesy “or get out” and he, like the prodigal son, chose to leave – and not to return – ‘through his own initiative’.

    My more general point is that just as kids choose to have sex underage precisely because they are not mature, so kids will chose to leave the parental home in wrath rather than endure some telling off precisely because they are not mature enough to live on their own. “The prodigal son” is the archetype of a very common event, which inspired the story of Peter in Cranford and of countless real-life stories.

    Therefore I think your criteria defensible in theory but circular in practice. The rubric “is mature enough to leave” (IIUC) seems to be as self-referential – and as un-ameanable to objective judging – as “is mature enough to have sex” would be. Both the criteria of ‘asserts his own individuality and independence’ and (in a sense) the criteria of parental consent to the departure are formally present in the above case. He did manage to find a place to stay and a job that earned enough to keep him – indeed, ‘good money’ as he puts it.

  • Alisa

    My criterion is very general and very flexible, subject to individual circumstances and preferences. With the emphasis on individual (as in individual families). His mother should have not kicked him out, and she should have tried to keep him from leaving even if he was the one who insisted on leaving. However, it is clear that she was not willing to be flexible, and probably neither was he. Well, both found out the price of inflexibility, the hard way. Life is never perfect, for anyone.

    Still, in this particular case, I’d wager that this kid would have gotten into sexual trouble even after the magic age of 18 (or whatever other magic age), independent of whether he stayed at home or not – this, almost entirely due to his mother’s inflexibility and her religious dogmatism. But I’ll try to find time later to read the whole thing before I jump to uninformed conclusions.

  • Alisa, by all means read the whole if you have time and interest, remembering my N.B. that it is not a happy read.

    My belief FWIW is that probably even a couple more years would have seen him just sufficiently more worldly-wise to hear an alarm bell as the situation developed.

    “My criterion is very general and very flexible, subject to individual circumstances and preferences.”

    So perhaps what you are saying is that someone you knew well enough to assess, and whom you regarded as mature enough to leave home, would also be someone you would regard as mature enough to make their own decisions about sex. In that case, we’d agree about this not being usable as a legal rule but as a personal philosophy.

    My rule (“mature enough to do = mature enough to wait”) would still see us disagreeing on the philosophical plane, but not very strongly, since my rule does lead to the paradoxical effect that those whom I assess as sure to pass it are those I (sort-of) think don’t so very much need to. My rule has a safety-first effect – since the mature wait, their behaviour is the same as that enjoined on the immature. I therefore don’t have to have a strong opinion about who is who. And FWIW (not much, I’m guessing, on a libertarian blog 🙂 ), my rule is easily aligned with a legal rule.

  • Alisa

    So perhaps what you are saying is that someone you knew well enough to assess, and whom you regarded as mature enough to leave home, would also be someone you would regard as mature enough to make their own decisions about sex.

    Not necessarily – my original comment was not made specifically regarding sex, but as a general answer to Patrick’s question ‘who is an adult/where do we draw the line’. What it means is that if the parents feel that their presumably adult child is ready to leave in every respect other than sex, then maybe it’s not yet time for them to let him or her go. Although I still think that such a disparity is not very likely – but of course I could be wrong about that.

    In that case, we’d agree about this not being usable as a legal rule but as a personal philosophy.

    That is the whole point: to not have a legal rule in a one-size-fits-all form or shape, but instead to hinge the whole thing on the assignment of responsibility – after all, that is the only aspect of the lives of others that should be of concern to the surrounding society: who will take responsibility if (or rather when) something goes wrong, affecting it (the society) in some way? As far as I can tell, that is the whole reason we have legal age for this and for that, as others here have pointed out. So, under the legal-age arrangement, responsibility for the actions of individuals is (almost) automatically transferred to them from their parents past the Magic Age (with the rather useful exceptions mentioned by Laird), whereas in my system this transfer of responsibility is negotiated between the parents and their children whenever both of these parties feel is appropriate in their particular case. Not perfect – nothing ever is, but seems preferable to me, as a more individualized approach than the one we currently have.

    And FWIW, I don’t think that your rule is incompatible with my system 🙂

  • Mr Ed

    The human capacity for foolishness in mating-instinct related activities, regardless of age, is almost unlimited, it seems. After all, even socialists have parents. Right now the BBC is wondering out loud if‘catfishing’ should be a specific crime, i.e. having a fake profile on a dating site.

    Anna Rowe had a whirlwind romance with Antony Ray after meeting him through the dating app Tinder.
    But their 14-month relationship came crashing down when she discovered his profile was a fake.
    His name was not Antony and he was not single.
    In fact, he was a married dad who had initially used photos of a Bollywood actor on his profile and had lured in other women too.
    “He used me like a hotel with benefits under the disguise of a romantic, loving relationship that he knew I craved,” says Anna.

    Perhaps an alarm carillion might have rung when he turned out not to be a Bollywood actor?

    But there are more serious cases:

    Last month, university professor Judith Lathlean revealed how she was tricked out of £140,000 by a gang using a fake profile.

    Ife Ojo, 31, and Olusegun Agbaje, 43, were jailed in 2016 after conning a woman out of £1.6m using a fictional character.

  • Laird

    Last month, university professor Judith Lathlean revealed how she was tricked out of £140,000 by a gang using a fake profile.

    Ife Ojo, 31, and Olusegun Agbaje, 43, were jailed in 2016 after conning a woman out of £1.6m using a fictional character.

    I’m not sure what this has to do with the “age of consent” issue. (And my initial response to reading these is to snort “a fool and his money are soon parted.” Stupidity is its own reward.) But in any event, defrauding someone out of money is both an old-fashioned crime and a garden-variety tort, both of which can be handled perfectly well by the current system. No need for some new “law” to be twisted and abused beyond recognition or reason by ambitious prosecutors. There are too many such laws already.

  • Mr Ed

    Laird, quite simple. Stupidity/being a naïf is not necessarily a matter of age. Can/should ‘the law’ protect us from, ultimately, our own folly? As you say, too many laws. But at least with a minor, there is the hope that a less foolish instar might arise.

  • Julie near Chicago

    Let me second Laird on “we already have fraud laws”! Resoundingly !!