John Lilburne's journal about the problem of adults having sex with children and attempts being made to deal with it.

 

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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 having sex.

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

Vanda Carson

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 Church:

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 young.

Copyright J.R. Lilburne, 22 March 2002.

 

Other sites:

The Australian Editorial

The Pope's letter

The Age

The Australian