Should the Feds Be Prosecuting 10-Year-Old Boy As a Sex Offender?


U.S. prosecutors won a delinquency finding against a boy, 10, accused of engaging in sex acts with other boys on an Army base in Arizona. He was one of the youngest defendants ever pursued by the U.S. Justice Department, says the Wall Street Journal. The case, now being reviewed by the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, could open a new front in a debate about how to handle juvenile sex offenders. The boy’s appeal involves the question of whether children should be prosecuted for sex acts with other children under a federal law the boy’s lawyers say was designed to target adult predators. The fight highlights a debate over tagging juveniles as sex offenders, a label that can land them on registries that track offenders and limit where they can live. Defense lawyer Keith Hilzendeger calls the case “really overreaching on the part of the government.” Prosecutor Bruce Ferg counters that the prosecution “is the best thing that could’ve happened to the kid.”

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