No one is legally permitted to molest children; that is, to touch them sexually or induce them to engage in sexual intercourse. In the case of Percy v. State of South Dakota, decided by the United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, in 1971, the Court, citing South Dakota law, defined molestation in this way: “Any person who shall willfully and unlawfully commit any lewd or lascivious act upon or with the body, or any part of member thereof, of a child … with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying the lust or passion or sexual desires of such person, or of such child, shall be guilty of the crime of indecent molestation.”
The majority of civilized human societies have made the collective decision long ago that children are emotionally incapable of making any kind of rational, informed, knowledgeable decision to engage in sexual intercourse. Therefore, all such societies prohibit children from engaging in sexual intercourse with each other or with adults.
Sexual predators and molestation apologists often argue that youngsters crave sex. However, the pervasive stereotype of the hormone-drenched adolescent is frequently proven patently false. In the 2003 book Sexual Revolution by sexual researchers Erica Jong and Jeffrey Escoffier, the authors assure readers that, “Many girls are still sincere and even lyrical about saving themselves for marriage.”
The commonsense rationale behind this collective decision is that children do not possess sufficient experience, wisdom, understanding, or judgment regarding what sex really means for them. For instance, children cannot understand the full panoply of long-term consequences that sexual intercourse may entail, such as the real possibility of the transmission from an infected sex partner of dangerous sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Children are equally incapable of genuinely comprehending the possibility that a pregnancy can often result from even a single act of sexual intercourse in those cases where young girls are currently menstruating.
Therefore, you've already been inculcated from an early age to understand and respect the sanctity of society's precious children. It's okay for parents to entrust their most valuable treasures — their children — to you for several hours each day because you are the kind of moral, ethical, well brought-up, law-abiding person who would never dream of violating the rights of children by tricking them into engaging in sexual intercourse.
Because you understand that you're one of the guardians of society's innocent children, you protect children from sexual predators to the best of your ability and you help students concentrate on what's important in their lives — gaining education. Kids aren't capable of giving themselves sexually with any kind of understanding because they haven't yet discovered exactly what their personality is, so they don't even know what they're proffering.
Also, they haven't learned to distinguish truth tellers from liars — even you might not have perfected that skill yet — so they don't even understand what they're getting. Kids who don't even know that haircuts won't harm them are in absolutely no position to say that sex won't harm them.
Some child molesters even face capital punishment. Consider that in 2006, according to an article on the Jurist Legal News and Research website, Oklahoma became the fifth state in America to permit capital punishment for child molesters convicted of multiple offenses. The other states imposing the death penalty on repeat-offending child molesters are Florida, Louisiana, Montana, and South Carolina.
Moreover, the harm that children suffer from being coerced into having early sex isn't limited solely to physical damage. In the article “Paedophilia: Plague or Panic?” in the December 2000 issue of The Journal of Forensic Psychiatry and Psychology, American psychologist Donald West warns, “Clinical evidence amply demonstrates that sexual molestation of children can cause immediate distress followed by severe, long-term psychological damage. …”
And psychology professor James Mannon of DePauw University, Indiana, in his article “Domestic and Intimate Violence: An Application of Routine Activities Theory” from the Spring 1997 issue of Aggression and Violent Behavior, warns of the “long-term emotional and psychological damage suffered by victims of child sexual abuse.”
In addition, even the molester himself may be required to suffer greatly after engaging in unlawful sexual intercourse with a child, because the criminal penalties nationwide for such malfeasance are often quite severe, including lengthy imprisonment and hefty fines.
But there's more. Just take a look at the federal Sexual Offender Act passed by the United States Congress in 1994. The statute is commonly referred to as Megan's Law, to honor seven-year-old Megan Kanka of New Jersey. In 1994, Megan was raped and murdered by a repeat sex offender who — unknown to the Kankas — lived just across the street.
Megan's Law now requires convicted sex offenders to register with local authorities whenever they establish residence in a particular community. The law also requires authorities to make such residence information public, including posting it online. States determine the exact nature of the information that must be posted, but at a minimum it generally includes the offender's name, address, photograph, and details of his crimes.
There's even more. In the instructive case of Kansas v. Hendricks, decided by the United States Supreme Court in 1997, the Court outlined the steps whereby a state may commit a convicted child molester determined to have a “mental abnormality” to a psychiatric institution for an indefinite period of time.