A 32-year-old guy in Ohio named Jeremy Bowlin had sex with a minor. That’s statutory rape. The girl was 16. That’s half his age. Bowlin was looking at about 10 years in prison, but plead down to one count of “unlawful sexual conduct” and got 10 weekends. That’s 20 days. That’s a pretty big difference, isn’t it?
To his credit, Bowlin had no prior criminal history (though that simply could mean he’d never gotten caught boning minors before), so that likely played a role in his sentencing as well. But bear in mind that despite Bowlin now being registered as a sex offender, which is pretty serious, the court didn’t find it serious enough to warrant weekdays in jail? Dude, seriously? Bowlin also had to pay a $400 fine and was ordered by the judge to have no contact with the victim, nor with anyone under 18–except his niece, who is a minor, and only when her parents are with her.
To a lot of people, Bowlin’s punishment seems pretty fair. We would almost agree with that, but then his lawyer fired off a remark that showed that he and likely his client are missing the point of all of this. Bowlin’s attorney, John Helbling, told the judge, “This particular individual came of her own free will, to hang out with Mr. Bowlin.”
So because a minor used poor judgment and came to hang out with a guy twice her age, it absolves him from the fact that he knowingly and deliberately broke the law? If you willingly wear a miniskirt and go to a guy’s house, is it okay for him to force himself on you? Of course not. In the same vein, even if the girl went to Bowlin’s house to hang out on her own free will, and even if whatever sexual contact Bowlin had with this minor was consensual, it’s still illegal in their state of Ohio. It’s still wrong. And, frankly, it’s still creepy that a guy would pursue a minor literally half his age so nonchalantly.
So many of you are so smart and more than capable of making your own decisions, but older guys have tricks they often use to manipulate younger girls–you may think they’re more mature and sophisticated than guys your age, right? But here’s the thing: if they really were so great, they would either find and have a girlfriend their own age or be mature and responsible enough to wait until you were the legal age of consent before pursuing any kind of relationship with you, period.
The fact that he and his attorney can’t seem to wrap their heads around that fact enough to take responsibility for his role in a crime makes him sound even more dangerous to us–if he doesn’t see why what he did was wrong, he’ll probably do it again. The only good thing about Bowlin’s bizarre sentencing? He’d only have time to “hang out” with minors on school nights.
Do you think statutory rape should be a crime? Do you think Scott Bowlin’s sentencing is fair? Do you think it should have been more harsh or more lenient? Have you ever been hit on by a creepy old guy? Tell us in the comments!