UPDATE: Colorado has what’s called a “Romeo and Juliet” exception to statutory rape. This type of law creates exemptions for consensual sex between someone 14 years or younger who has sex with someone three or fewer years older. Why this matters – Hick, tonight, was talking about someone who is 17 years old who is charged with statutory rape for having sex with a minor. He (or she) would only be charged is if this 17-year old was having sex with a 13-year old. We think we can agree that a 17-year old having sex with a 13-year old is not ok. Surely, Hick wasn’t complaining about charges stemming from a 17-year old having sex with a 13-year old…right?
Tonight’s debate didn’t go all that well for Gov. Hickenlooper. At one point, he appeared to defend teenage sex offenders, who were labeled sex offenders due to statutory rape. Is a 17-year old able to make a decision about sex as an adult? What about a 15-year old? A 13-year old? In other words, was Hick saying statutory rape is not rape? Is this Governor Hickenlooper’s Todd Akin moment?
Watch the clip:
From the debate:
Beauprez: On your official website, there’s something called the Colorado Violations Decision Making Process Users Guide. In fact, I downloaded and printed a copy here. Did you even know, according to your own standards, which were adopted in March of 2011, a sex offender could volunteer in child-related locations. That’s directly from the language of the document. And not have their parole revoked?
Hickenlooper: Again, I don’t have the document in front of me and I haven’t read it so….
Beauprez: But you approved it? This was approved on your watch? In March of 2011?
Hickenlooper: I have to see what the details of it are, in what context. You know there’s a number of issues around sexual offenders, you know a 17 year old is dating a young woman who is underage and somebody files a case against that, he becomes a sex offender. Now, I’m not sure if that’s fair or not fair, but that’s what sometimes happens. I don’t know if that’s what that is referring to or not. Maybe that person in certain situations is allowed, actually, I know by law they’re not, but maybe there’s some way in that that they’re allowed to do that.
Beauprez: Shaun, this is why public safety is an important campaign issue.
Here’s why this reminds us of that idiot running for Senate in Missouri, Todd Akin, in 2012. Akin used a phrase “legitimate rape” – as if there were some kind of “illegitimate rape”. According to Hickenlooper’s logic, is statutory rape not legitimate rape because it may or may not have been violent, may or may not have been consensual, may or may not have been between two people who were old enough to consent? What if just one person was old enough to consent? At what point does Governor Hickenlooper think rape is rape? And, by extension, when is a sex offender a “legitimate” sex offender?
Perhaps we should just leave you with President Obama’s words on the subject of rape from 2012, as reported on ProgressNow:
“Well, let me first of all say the views expressed were offensive. Rape is rape. And the idea that we should be parsing and qualifying and slicing what types of rape we’re talking about doesn’t make sense to the American people, and certainly doesn’t make sense to me.”