she’s arrested for rape after pro se support petition

3

The story of Kimberly A. Baker, of Warrensburg, NY, leaves me with mixed feelings.  Usually, I like individuals to be fully informed when they enter the justice system.  This time, however, I can live with the fact that Ms. Baker might not have filed her petition for child support in Warren County’s Family Court, if she had been in possession of more information, in the form of a lawyer’s advice or a Court Help website with more detailed FAQs on child support and paternity issues.

You see, the respondent father in this child support case is 16 years old, and the child is two years old.  Ms. Baker is 22 years old.  This raised the suspicions of Court staff, who did the math and referred the matter to the criminal authorities.  As reported in the Glens Falls Post Star  (“Child support request leads to rape arrest,” Oct. 5, 2006)
“Baker’s arrest came about five weeks after she filed petitions in Warren County Family Court seeking child support for her 2-year-old daughter, Julianna. 

 

“She identified the father as a 16-year-old boy whom she told the court she had sex with on two occasions in September 2003, when she was 19-1/2, authorities said.   

 

“The problem is the boy would have been 13-1/2 at that point, well younger than the state’s age of legal consent of 17 for sexual relations. As part of the court proceedings, she gave a sworn affidavit admitting to having sex with the teen, officials said.”

 

Baker is not charged with forcible rape.  The statutory rape charge carries a possible prison term of 7 years.  (Note: a Post Star article, dated October 18, 2006, states that the police investigation has led to a second rape charge involving a 14-year old boy in 2003).

handcuffs Any feelings that I might normally have about better-informing pro se litigants of their rights, are overridden by my feelings — after a decade representing children in Family Court — that society must do much more to reduce sexual contact between adults and minors.  Usually, the issue concerns so-called “mature” men and young teen girls who like the attention of older males.  But, the prohibition should be enforced just as rigidly against adult women who prey on young boys — even though, as one interviewee noted on local television last night — “with boys this age, they’re usually lookin’ for something like this.”
      

In 1996, several articles appeared in the Schenectady Gazette about men having sex with under-aged girls.  In a lengthy Letter to the Editor, dated Feb. 21, 1996, I wrote:
“Clear evidence of such unlawful sexual conduct is readily available now in thousands of Department of Social Services and Family Court files. I urge our legislators to construct a constitutionally valid mechanism for family courts and local social services agencies to report such cases to local district attorneys.”

What do you think? Should Kimberly Baker have been warned by the Court not to file this support petition or swear to her sexual activity with a 13-year-old boy?  This is one case where I am pleased that court staff are not permitted to give legal advice.  

 

 

 

3 Comments

  1. Keith

    November 11, 2006 @ 10:04 am

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    No, I don’t think she should not have been warned. She admitted to a crime by filing the suit.

    However, I don’t think she should be arrested or charged until a thorough investigation uncovers criminal intent. In cases like this, a mature-looking 13 year old could possibly fool a profoundly unintelligent woman; the DA should determine whether or not she knew he was 13 at the time of the encounters.

  2. Steve

    December 20, 2006 @ 7:54 pm

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    It is really irrelevant whether she knew if he was 13. If a man has sex with an underage girl who looks to be around 19-20, he can still be arrested and prosecuted regardless of whether or not he knew how old the girl was, even if the girl lies to him! There should be no double standard for women.

  3. WRL

    February 23, 2007 @ 10:53 am

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    Although I understand that legally the 19 year old was in the wrong, has anyone interviewed the teen boy? While I believe that is quite an age difference, isnt the law supposed to protect victims, not create rapists? Was this boy a victim or an early bloomer? I know it seems a double standard that we may look at it differently had a 13 year old girl been with a 19 year old boy; but unless this girl held a position of authority with the boy, it IS very different. In effect, it is the same double standard that makes a boy a stud and a girl a slut. We can’t have it both ways. Instead of calling this a crime we should look at societial standards, and the effect it has on how these teens view the experiences. Some of our boys are emotionally ready for this experience because they have been taught it is good, even superior, to be sexually experienced. I think the real issue here is victimization. Some boys may very well be victimized by women,if they are made to feel used as with incest or intimidated into doing something he doesn’t want to do, especially at this young age, but this girl was also a teen when the event took place. Unless she had a position of authority with the boy, or was forcefull in any way, I cannot see this leaving him with a feeling of it being anything more than teen sex? Again, I think someone should ask him what he thinks of the experience. If he answers with a remenescent smile (which I have seen on men recounting their first time)let it be. If there were a victim here, don’t you think he would feel victimized? And if he does, THEN we should prosecute.

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