It is no secret that state and federal authorities take sex crimes very seriously. Police and prosecutors are very aggressive in their attempts to uncover unlawful behavior, file charges and ultimately see that a person is convicted and sentenced for sexual misconduct.
However, there are some who would argue that the laws and penalties for certain violations are too extreme and harsh. For example, Canada recently granted a Florida mother asylum after she was charged with having sex with her son's 16-year-old friend. She was convicted on numerous counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor and was facing 30 years in prison. According to reports, Canadian officials agreed that the punishment she was facing here in the U.S. was considered cruel and unusual.
Reports indicate that the 47-year-old mother and her son's friend had consensual sex less than a half dozen times. She was arrested for engaging in a sexual relationship with a minor, as Florida law prohibits anyone over the age of 24 from having sex with anyone who is 16 or younger. After she was convicted, the woman was facing three decades in prison.
After the sentence was announced, the woman fled to Canada with her son and husband. She petitioned for and received status as a "protected person" and was granted asylum. This is notable because it illustrates just how harsh the woman's punishment was viewed. Canadian officials agreed that because the sex was consensual and the teen was 16, which is the age of consent in Canada, sentencing the mother to 30 years in prison was considered cruel and unusual.
Of course this is a rather unique case. However, it does highlight the fact that punishment in the U.S. for certain sexual offenses is much more aggressive than is considered appropriate by others. Anyone facing similar charges may want to consult an attorney who can work to defend a person and protect them from these overly harsh or inappropriate sentences.
Source: New York Daily News, "Florida mom who had sex with teen son's friend gets asylum in Canada," Michael Walsh, June 10, 2014