Mother’s Day weekend in 2015, my husband decided to go away to the beach with his sister and mom. I stayed home so they could enjoy their time together and bond. I decided that I wanted to try to surprise him and have some things outside taken care of before he got home on Sunday. I offered to pay my son and a few of his friends to help. One of these tasks was laying stones around our pool outside. Later these boys would testify that I never paid them, which I did, and the work wasn’t even completed 100%. From this incident, I learned to not pay until the job is completed. (Or at least only pay for the portion of work that was done). I had someplace that I needed to be later that day, my son and his friend NA were leaving to go to a minor league baseball game and the other boys of course wanted to get home to be with their mom’s. I ran to store to pick up some fried chicken and some “drinks”. I say “drinks” because this was twisted around to be beer, wine coolers, etc. No, this was my way of saying “something to drink”. I wasn’t able to say or show anything that NM or SH said or texted, but yet the DA allowed CH to testify that one this date that NM come downstairs and woke him up to tell him that I bought chicken and beer for everyone to drink. He claimed that when he came upstairs there was chicken and, in the garage, there was a fridge with beer in it. There may have been beer in that fridge, but I can assure that that I didn’t buy it for them or give it to them. The DA actually painted this picture for the jury that DG was riding around on my husband’s tractor with a beer in his hand mowing my grass. DG was in fact riding on the tractor. He had a radio flyer wagon hooked to it and was pulling around my younger son. They were also using the wagon to load items they were using for things they were completing for the yard. I mean let’s think about this, it’s Mother’s Day. Do you think that I was going to get kids drunk or even tipsy, then send them home to their moms? I knew I had to leave. I knew my son and his friend were going to a baseball game with his parents. I knew these other boys were going to be driving home. There were no photos of any of this happening. Other than the one that the DA was putting into everyone’s mind, all because a bunch of kids “said so”. Later that day, I did in fact go to my parent’s house because this was the day that my sister and brother-in-law announced they were pregnant with my nephew. The DA wanted to make it sound like this was an all-day affair that I was hosting. This really irritated my mother because she knew that I wasn’t around for the entire day. The bottom line in all of this mess is that we should not have been allowing these kids to be over as much as they were. The parents are the time didn’t seem to take any issue with it, the one parent asked if I was going to be adding their son as a dependent to our tax return. It was often, but it wasn’t excessive by any means. I just wish that it could have been property portrayed that they were at times coming to our home and then leaving to go to this other friend’s house that lived across in the other development. I knew that my son was there, but again I don’t know if these other boys told their parents that they were going there. I can understand that if they said they were going to our house, then as their parents I would expect them to be where they said they were going to be. I recall when my son first met NM and started hanging out with him. This boy’s mother would call my phone constantly. A few times, I would be out grocery shopping and she was asking why her son wasn’t answering the phone. She’d ask me if her son was at my house. It seemed clear to me that she had no clue where her son was, and he didn’t want to be found. I finally asked my son, “what is this kid’s deal?” I started to get the impression that something was going on with this kid that his mother was calling all the time asking about him, checking in on him, etc. I was getting frustrated because again, these were 16-17-year-old. I felt that if I needed to run to the store to get something, can’t kids this age be left alone? According to the DA, I was their babysitter, and their care was entrusted to me. I wasn’t aware that I was considered a babysitter or a caretaker, but hopefully all of you who are entrusted with the “care of someone else” take this into consideration so you aren’t found negligent down the line. I want to go over some definitions and explanations with all of you so you can keep this in context as we move forward in the story. I think that technically we can all agree that the legal definition of a child is anyone under the age of 18. So, when does a “child”, know right from wrong? I think again we can pretty much come to an average agreed conscience, but I decided to look. According to this NEWSWEEK article (https://www.qcc.cuny.edu/SocialSciences/ppecorino/ETHICS_TEXT/Chapter_2_Moral%20Development/Learning-Right-From-Wrong.htm#:~:text=To%20the%20legal%20system%2C%20the%20answer%20is%20clear%3A,so%20can%20be%20held%20responsible%20for%20their%20actions.): To the legal system, the answer is clear: children have the requisite moral sense–the ability to tell right from wrong–by age 7 to 15, depending on which state they live in, and so can be held responsible for their actions. If a minor commits a crime, they will not hesitate to “charge them as an adult” and say “he/she knew what he was doing”. In my case, they kept referring to these teens as minors (which they were), and how I corrupted them. How they got the impression that what they were doing was ok because of the time that I allowed it prior. They wanted to portray them as these young, helpless kids that didn’t know right from wrong. That I led them down this primrose path of destruction. You can’t have it both ways Mr. States Attorney’s everywhere! You can’t say that someone can be charged as an adult because it suits you to want to get a stronger penalty. You can’t say “they knew what they were doing and acted recklessly”, therefore we are charging them as an adult. Then you want to come back and when it suits you differently (ie: my case) and say that these was children, they were young and impressionable. They didn’t know, they weren’t adults. Where is the standard? Here is another fun fact, I bet many of you didn’t know. At least in the state of Pa, if a minor is 14 or older did you know that as their parent or guardian that you have NO say over their mental health? None, nada. When a minor needs to see a mental health specialist or have anything do to with mental health in general, if they are 14 or older as a parent you can’t sign for them, call for them, do anything on their behalf without their consent. (This was enacted in 2020 called Act 65 which replaced Act 147-https://www.paparentandfamilyalliance.org/mental-health faq#:~:text=In%20September%202020%2C%20PA%27s%20mental%20health%20consent%20law%2C,not%20be%20overridden%20by%20their%20parent%2Flegal%20guardian%27s%20refusal.) So again, if a “child” can make their own mental health decisions-aren’t we treating them in a way that shows that they have some sense of right and wrong? That they are mature enough to make certain decisions? Aren’t we also giving them keys and a license to drive a car? To get behind the wheel and make life changing decisions every day?
Pennsylvania definition of corruption of minors explained:
§ 6301. Corruption of minors.
(a) Offense defined.–
(1) (i) Except as provided in subparagraph (ii), whoever, being of the age of 18 years and upwards, by any act corrupts or tends to corrupt the morals of any minor less than 18 years of age, or who aids, abets, entices or encourages any such minor in the commission of any crime, or who knowingly assists or encourages such minor in violating his or her parole or any order of court, commits a misdemeanor of the first degree.
(ii) Whoever, being of the age of 18 years and upwards, by any course of conduct in violation of Chapter 31 (relating to sexual offenses) corrupts or tends to corrupt the morals of any minor less than 18 years of age, or who aids, abets, entices or encourages any such minor in the commission of an offense under Chapter 31 commits a felony of the third degree.
(2) Any person who knowingly aids, abets, entices or encourages a minor younger than 18 years of age to commit truancy commits a summary offense. Any person who violates this paragraph within one year of the date of a first conviction under this section commits a misdemeanor of the third degree. A conviction under this paragraph shall not, however, constitute a prohibition under section 6105 (relating to persons not to possess, use, manufacture, control, sell or transfer firearms).
(b) Adjudication of delinquency unnecessary.–A conviction under the provisions of this section may be had whether or not the jurisdiction of any juvenile court has attached or shall thereafter attach to such minor or whether or not such minor has been adjudicated a delinquent or shall thereafter be adjudicated a delinquent.
(c) Presumptions.–In trials and hearings upon charges of violating the provisions of this section, knowledge of the minor’s age and of the court’s orders and decrees concerning such minor shall be presumed in the absence of proof to the contrary.
(d) Mistake as to age.–
(1) Whenever in this section the criminality of conduct depends upon the corruption of a minor whose actual age is under 16 years, it is no defense that the actor did not know the age of the minor or reasonably believed the minor to be older than 18 years.
(2) Whenever in this section the criminality of conduct depends upon the corruption of a minor whose actual age is 16 years or more but less than 18 years, it is a defense for the actor to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he reasonably believed the minor to be 18 years or older.
(July 1, 1978, P.L.573, No.104, eff. 60 days; July 11, 1996, P.L.552, No.98, eff. 60 days; Oct. 7, 2010, P.L.482, No.69, eff. 60 days)
2010 Amendment. Act 69 amended subsec. (a)(1).
1996 Amendment. Act 98 amended subsec. (a).
1978 Amendment. Act 104 added present section 6301. Former section 6301, relating to the same subject matter, was repealed November 28, 1973, P.L.341, No.117.
Cross References. Section 6301 is referred to in sections 3104, 6105, 9122.1, 9122.3 of this title; sections 5329, 6344 of Title 23 (Domestic Relations); sections 5552, 5920, 5985.1, 5993, 62A03, 9718.1, 9799.14 of Title 42 (Judiciary and Judicial Procedure); section 6138 of Title 61 (Prisons and Parole); section 3113 of Title 63 (Professions and Occupations (State Licensed)).
I’m also pretty sure that stating, “they were already corrupt” isn’t a viable defense. What are your thoughts so far on all of this mess?
Photo by Vaan Photography: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-man-mowing-the-green-lawn-12087398/
#Teens #Teenagers #TeenDrinking #Parenting #ParentingMistakes #CorruptionofMinors #Minors #MothersDay #SneakyTeens #TeenOvernights