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Ethical Treatment for All Youth

Email: etay@ethicaltreatment.org

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My son was convicted of sexual assault on a minor for consensual teenage sex. He was 18 (a very young 18) and since his girlfriend (who initiated the sex) was not yet 16, he was prosecuted. He was a virgin, she was not.
The punishment for this crime in Vermont is up to 20 years in prison, so we agreed to a "deal" with the prosecutor. He spent a month in jail, and is now serving 3-8 years on probation.
He attends sex offender counselling weekly, has a curfew and many many other restrictions difficult for a young man his age to follow. It has been almost 3 years now and his fear of returning to jail has helped him abide by all his probation requirements. (He was beat up while in jail-someone found out he was in for a sex offense)
He had to sign a contract when he entered treatment agreeing to aversion therapy, penile plythsmograph, and lie detector tests. It also stipulated that therapy may involve masturbation to certain materials provided and revealing his thoughts to the group about this.
He is not allowed to live with us, as we are "unfit parents." (The prosecutor called us this in court because we returned the "victim" to her foster home when she ran away on a cold November night, and we were not supposed to have contact with her.) I guess the legal system would rather have seen her expire from hypothermia on our front steps.
I could go on all night about the injustices suffered but I'd rather put them out of my mind. The more I fight the system the worse it gets for my son. Five years ago if anyone told me this would happen I would never have believed it. My grandmother married when she was 15 and my grandfather was 20. I guess today, he would be a felon.
Carolyn Demers
Swanton, Vermont
submitted Fri, May 21, 2004