On Oct. 4 my son, now 20, was sentenced to three years in prison. He was convicted of statutory rape, having had consensual sexual relations with a minor.
When this occurred, my son had recently turned 19. Although the girl was 14, she told him and members of my family she was 18. Since she looked to be 18, no one had any reason to think she was not the age she said she was.
At my son's sentencing, Judge Albert M. Pickett said he could not believe a man could not tell the difference between a young girl and a teenager.
These days, you can't always tell. There are so many young girls out here who are physically built like teenagers; they dress like these older teenage girls, and they go around lying about their ages. They are successful in their deceptions because of their physical appearances.
Judge Pickett also said, "Let the word get out." What word is Judge Pickett getting out? That it doesn't matter that these young girls are lying about their ages?
That it doesn't matter that these young girls are even out here pursuing these young men when they don't have any business even going around them? There are a lot of people like me, who know some young girls between the ages of 14 and 16 who look 18. So, for Judge Pickett to make that statement shows he is out of touch with what's going on.
It is not fair to just throw a 20-year-old young man in prison on the basis of a judge's personal opinion. Young men who knowingly have sexual relations with minors should be punished; but what about young men who are being lied to? What are the courts telling these young girls? Today, it is my son; tomorrow, it may be yours.
Yolanda Maldonado, Augusta