Idaho’s Rape Law: Young Rapists Go Free?

In 2010 Idaho changed it’s Rape statute to decriminalize consensual sex between young lovers who are within 3 years of one another in age. So if a 19 year old boy has consensual sex with his 17 year old girlfriend, he cannot be charged with Rape. Prior to the change in the law, it would be Rape, even if the 17 year old lied about her age.

The law needed to be changed, it was insane that we were convicting young lovers with Rape, and then requiring them to register as a sexual offenders for life simply because they had consensual sex.

That is why I am amazed that there are people like Grant Loebs, an Idaho Falls prosecutor, who are sincerely fighting to have the law changed back. http://tinyurl.com/7k9q45j

Mr. Loebs claims that the law has been weakened and creates a class of victims that he now cannot help. What class of victims could he possibly be referring to? Mr. Loebs says it is young girls who are being initiated into gangs by having sex with each gang member. In the past he would charge them under Idaho’s Rape staute, but now that the statute has been amended, he no longer has that option.

So the solution? Well change the law back of course. And what about all those innocent young men and women who were being turned into sex offenders for life?  What are we to do about them? The prosecutors will probably have the same answer they had when they objected to the law being amended the first time. “Trust us, we will use sound discretion,” they say. We can hear this in Mr. Loeb’s answer to the Statemsan when he says “Back then, we never prosecuted boyfriend-girlfriend cases anyway. . .”

If Mr. Loebs is serious about this class of victims he wants to protect, why not propose a law against using sex as a means of being initiated into a gang? Isn’t gang initiation already illegal? The answer is Mr. Loebs is not serious about protecting this class of victims. Mr. Loebs is using this example as a means to invoke the legislature to amend the law back, so they can continue to fill their system up with unsuspecting young people.

The fact of the matter is, there is no good reason to go back to the archaic Idaho Rape statute of pre-2010. As a criminal defense attorney I know for a fact that the prosecutors of Idaho did prosecute boyfriend-girlfriend relationships. The typical case started with upset parents turning in the older boyfriend, and then pressuring the state to push the case forward.

As for what to do about all those poor girls who are being subjected to group sex as a means to being initiated into a gang? Prior to writing this blog I did a Google search for “Idaho Gang Sex Initiation” so that I could read some past news articles on this apparently pervasive problem. All of the search results returned back to Mr. Loebs statements to the Idaho Statesman. The problem appears to have been manufactured to make a point.

I challenge Mr. Loeb to give us specifics as to the cases he is referring to. The cases where poor victims are now without a remedy because of the law. I have no doubt that there are gangs in the United States that are involved in such initiations. I just see no evidence presented that those initiations are happening here in Idaho. Furthermore, gang recruitment is already illegal, and the current gang recruitment law can be amended to deal with issues like this. We do not need to bring back the draconian Idaho Statutory Rape statute. I guess this goes to show that when all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail.

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