TO THE EDITOR: We were shocked by the article published in last week's paper.
The idea that a young man of 17 could be charged with a felony and face up to a $100,000 penalty and/or 40 years in jail because he and his girlfriend of 15 slept together (by mutual consent) is a miscarriage of justice. Even if at his hearing or trial a decision is rendered in his favor, the charges may shadow him for the rest of his life.
As ministers, we strive to be advocates for purity, but sometimes both young and old people fall prey to temptation. We understand that the young woman was one year younger than the age of consent and certainly see the goodness of the law that protects the young and vulnerable.
Indeed, perhaps even before this comes to trial, an appropriate penalty like community service or some other creative and fair resolution will be decided on by the court, but the very real prospect now threatening the young man is nothing less than draconian. Also, the article suggests that the girl's parents were at home at the time and that the boy spent the night in the girl's bedroom. If this proves to be true, what is the accountability of the parents?
Finally, let the reader consider the general moral atmosphere of our times. Jesus said, "He among you who is without sin, cast the first stone." The question is "Can any judge or jury, indeed can any man or woman in this county really cast the first stone at this young man?" We think not.
If the information in the article is accurate, a grave and perhaps irreparable wrong has been done.