1158 L Fri 22 Mar 2002
In recent days I have been reading accounts on the internet
by a girl, claiming to be 15, having sex with a 20 year old.
I have commented on what she has written before. My response
to this is along the lines of:
Where I am from it is illegal for a 20 year old to have sex
with a 15 year old. This is described in "Easy guide to
your rights in Australia" (Reader's Digest Australia, page
38): "Generally it is an offence to have sex with an underage
child, even with the consent of the child. What is "underage"
varies according to the circumstances and individual State and
Territory laws. In Victoria, no-one can have sex with a child
under 10. Neither can anyone have sex with a child aged 10 to
16, unless that person is less than two years older."
Jesus lists fornication as a sin in Mark 7:21 "For it
is from within, from the human heart that evil intentions come:
fornication, theft, murder ...".
Fornication means people who are not married to each other
Others can comment and disagree with me, which they do. There
are a wide range of laws, community standards and responsibilities
I should sort out. What can I publish here about it? What contractual
obligations do I have to the site owner where this is being written?
What are the laws where she is? What moral and legal responsibility
do I have to report and try to stop what is happening? What will
be pastorally effective? What legal responsibility do I have
not to disclose what is happening? It is only a virtual community,
but it gives me some sense of the difficulties being faced by
churches and schools.
The Age and The Australian newspapers have lots of stories
today about people trying to deal with the problem of adults
having sex with children.
The Age, page 3, written by Farrah Tomazin, Selma Milovanovic:
Teachers had sex with pupil
Two former Wesley College teachers were found guilty yesterday
of having a sexual three-some with an under-age student. ...
After more than a day of deliberations, the jury of eight
men and four women found the pair had engaged in a range of sexual
acts with the 14-year-old girl ...
According to the article Elspeth McKenzie and Trevor John
McKenzie were remanded for sentencing on a date to be fixed.
The Age's editiorial:
A sanctimonious snub to the G-G
It is going to far to suggest Dr Hollingworth's
school visits threaten pupil's welfare
It is Peter Hollingworth's unfortunate destiny to have been
cast as the lead in a national morality play. ...
The Australian's editiorial:
Flawed laws force kids to suffer in secret
An alleged pedophile is accused of abusing children at a church-run
school in Adelaide. Most parents aren't told. Niether is child
welfare. Police charge him but he flees. Laws stop publication
of his details or the school's. Years pass. The polic don't chase
him. More years go by. Then the parents revolt, the church comes
clean, the man is found and he'll face trail. What's the problem?
The problem is that it took up to 16 years of suffering before
anyone got anything resembling justice or the full story. The
church, the police and community services are to blame, but so
is everyone who allows the law to erect a wall of secrecy around
abuse cases. ...
On page 6 it has:
Advice line for sex victims
A toll-free national telephone line will be set up to offer
advice to victims of sexual abuse within the Anglican church,
after Australian bishops this week agreed to a range of strict
new proposals to deal with the problem. ...
On page 8:
Pope concedes sex shame
VATICAN CITY: Pope John Paul II has broken his silence on
the sex abuse cases rocking the Catholic Church, saying the "grave
scandal" was casting a "dark shadow of suspicion"
over all priests.
In an annual message to priests worldwide, the Pope said yesterday
"as priests, we are personally and profoundly afflicted
by the sins of some of our brothers, who have betrayed the grace
of ordination. ...
Hopefully we are learning how to deal better with problems
of fornication and adults having sex with children. It highlights
the importance of the teaching in the Catechism of the Catholic
2353. Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried
man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity
of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered
to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children.
Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the
Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 22 March 2002.