Child prosecuted by Federal Government for Sex Crime on Army Base


Federal Circuit of Appeals Criminal Defense

Harken back many years ago when you had finished your first decade of life. What were your biggest concerns: delivering your newspaper route? making the baseball team? going to gymnastics practice? or helping your mother bake cookies?? All are very natural concerns and challenges for 10 year olds,

There is a 10 year old boy living on Fort Huachuca U.S. Army base in Arizona who has wildly different concerns—imagine being prosecuted by the federal government for engaging in sex acts with other boys (ages 5 & 7) simply because the acts occurred on a federal enclave!

The 10 year old was found delinquent under the “aggravated sexual-abuse” statute which makes it illegal to engage in a sex act with someone under the age of 12, regardless of whether physical force was used. The boy was sentenced to complete 5 years of probation, engage in mental health counseling, and register as a sex offender in certain states. The boy appealed this delinquency finding to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals arguing the statute was designed to target adult offenders, not juveniles. Additionally, the juvenile’s attorney argued that requiring a child under the age of 12 to register as a sex offender is inconsistent with the goals of rehabilitation that underlie the juvenile justice system. The case remains on the Ninth Circuit’s docket awaiting decision.

Believe it or not, almost 36% of all sex offenses that are committed against minors were committed by other minors and about 13% of these offenders were younger than 12. Experts in the field note that offenders younger than 12 were either abused or exposed to sex acts through viewing pornography. Mental health professionals recommend treatment, not prosecution, should be tried first on these youngsters. It is immutable that state juvenile courts are best suited to address this behavior and once the juvenile gets his act together, the records can be sealed. In contrast, the punitive federal system offers no such mulligan and a conviction for a sex offense would likely put the juvenile on sex offender registries for decades to follow. Currently, of the 220,000 federal inmates currently in the BOP, there are 96 juveniles who are being held in federal contract juvenile facilities.

Wall Street Journal Article – ” Federal Youth Case on Trial