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An American TravestyLegal Responses to Adolescent Sexual Offending$
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Franklin E. Zimring

Print publication date: 2004

Print ISBN-13: 9780226983578

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: March 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226983592.001.0001

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The Juvenile Sex Offender

The Juvenile Sex Offender

(p.38) Chapter 3 The Juvenile Sex Offender
An American Travesty
University of Chicago Press

This chapter focuses on the measurement and meaning of sex crimes committed by children and adolescents in the United States. The starting point for this analysis is not arrest statistics or survey research, however, but rather a fundamental distinction in U.S. law between minors and adults which has profound impact not only on the rate of adolescent criminal sexual conduct but on the nature of the conduct that is considered unlawful. The objective of the criminal law regarding the sexual conduct of adults is regulatory. Even at its prohibitory high watermark, Anglo-American law never sought to forbid sexual intercourse between consenting spouses, and current legal policy allows most consensual sex between competent adults. Among the 200 million persons over eighteen in the United States, there are tens of millions of acts of sexual intercourse each week, and most of these are not violations of any criminal code.

Keywords:   sex crimes, juvenile sex offenders, criminal sexual conduct, criminal code violation, sexual intercourse

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