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The Obvious Next Step in Zero Tolerance

Prosecutors in Grant County, Wisc., have filed charges of first-degree sexual assault against a 6-year-old boy after was found to be “playing doctor” with a 5-year-old girl. The boy’s family has been forced to hire a lawyer for the boy, who calls the charges “crazy.” Child behavior experts consider such activity normal, even before considering the boy is developmentally disabled — the lawyer says his maturity level is below that of a normal 6-year-old. Plus, state law makes it clear the boy is too young to be prosecuted with a crime. But prosecutors are pushing the case forward anyway, and have told the family they are looking into labeling the boy a “sexual predator.” District Attorney Lisa Riniker says she doesn’t want to jail the boy, but rather get a judge to force the boy’s family to submit him to treatment. The family says he is already under treatment. “You’re going to have to prove a criminal act,” Circuit Court Judge Edward Leineweber warned. “If he was 2, would we be here?” But the judge refused to dismiss the case, noting that “Even the most immature 6-year-old could appreciate” the “concepts” involved in the case. (RC/Wisconsin State Journal) ...Even though a lot of adults have a hard time grasping the concepts of the case.
Original Publication Date: 15 May 2011
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 17.

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