Thursday, October 13, 2011

She's Not Going to Win Mother of the Year

A 40-year-old woman is in big trouble in Waukesha, Wisconsin for something she allegedly did with her 16-year-old daughter. Wisconsin is famous for cheese, but this involved cheesecake.

According to the criminal complaint:

The woman — who isn’t being named in order to protect the identity of the victim — took pictures of her daughter dressing, her bare breast and at least one other picture of the two performing sexually explicit acts.

Taking pictures was risky, even if they didn’t do this…

The pictures were discovered by another woman who was using the mother’s computer to download a picture from Facebook.

Even if they didn’t let someone else use the computer, there’s always the risk of hacking, provided the computer is ever connected to the network.

The woman told police they had taken sexually explicit photos together in order to know if someone were using the computer without her permission, while the victim told police they made the photos as “a joke.”

The “why” doesn't really matter to the law. She could have helped her daughter make herself look like someone who was brutally murdered as a Halloween thing (or with her daughter pretended to be a murdering maniac) and taken a picture of that, but a picture showing her bare breast and whatever it was they appeared to be doing together? Nuh-uh. Not allowed.

The woman is charged with one count of incest and one count of possession of child pornography. If convicted, she faces up to 65 years in prison.

I notice that she isn’t charged with sexual assault or anything implying force. No indication is given that the daughter was anything but a willing participant. That being said, the age of consent in Wisconsin is 18. I have to wonder what charges there would be if the 16-year-old had taken nude photos of herself, or if she had taken one with another 16-year-old. And notice that the charge isn’t about having sex with a minor, though that would make more sense to me. It is about having sex with a close relative, which shouldn’t be a crime in and of itself. But then, the law in Wisconsin treats sex with a 16-year-old as a misdemeanor, unless they are married, and the charge applies to “sexual intercourse.” Can two women, under the laws of Wisconsin, actually have sexual intercourse? And I find it interesting that a 16-year-old can apparently get married in Wisconsin but can’t consent to sex… unless it is within marriage. Also, the 16-year-old can consent to getting married, but can’t consent to being photographed nude? So, the daughter could have gotten married, but couldn’t have legally posed nude for her own spouse?

I also notice that there isn’t a charge of abuse or neglect.

Was this a matter of an otherwise good mother who did something stupid? What does the daughter have to say about all of this? We let 16-year-olds operate heavy machinery at high speeds and get married. Surely she can have an opinion that should be taken into consideration, unless she is shown to be mentally incompetent?

The focus on this blog is rights for consenting adults, and I’m not asking for the age of consent to be lowered anywhere. But I do think there should be some sense and consistency. There is no indication that this was a situation with a predator who was looking to exploit images of a child. It will be interesting to see what the sentence ends up being.
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