Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sodomy of Boys is A-Okay

Can you imagine what would happen if the victims in this case were young girls instead of young boys? (Thanks to the reader who sent this story to me.)

The son of Arizona's Senate president confessed that he and another counselor shoved broomsticks and flashlights into the rectums of 18 boys in at least 40 incidents at a youth camp in June.

Now Yavapai County prosecutors say they will drop all but one assault charge and likely recommend little or no jail time if 18-year-old Clifton Bennett agrees to plead guilty.

A similar agreement has been offered to co-defendant Kyle Wheeler, 19, who faces an additional assault charge for choking three of the boys until they passed out.

Apparently, sodomizing a young boy with a broomstick and a flashlight does not constitute a sexual violation, merely a "hazing" (whatever that means).

Prosecuting attorney James Landis explained the plea agreement in court, saying the "broomsticking" was a hazing ritual and a punishment, not sexual assault.

....Landis said in court that the case was never viewed as "sexual in nature," in part because prosecutors could not prove Bennett and Wheeler had sexual intent. Parents of the victims said Landis told them privately that the incidents occurred while the boys had on clothes or swimsuits and that there was no evidence the defendants are homosexuals.

"We would certainly start from a different perspective if it was girls (as victims)," he said in court.

Wow, in a world where a man can lose his job for being falsely accused of trying to sodomize a girl, young men can almost get away scot-free if they actually sodomize boys. What a fair and just system we have.

Update: Sheila S. Polk, the Yavapai County Attorney, states that her office sees this case as a "hazing gone wrong" and not as sexual abuse:

There is absolutely no evidence that this was done with a sexual motivation. No penetration occurred, either in the anus or rectum. The victims were not secreted away to a hiding spot while this was done to them. It was done in front of the other campers. In fact, several photographs were taken by other campers. This is hardly the work of sexual predators. Rather, it is the work of two young men repeatedly making poor decisions. We all have heard reports of this sort of thing throughout the United States over many years: hazing gone wrong.

Was their conduct a good thing? No. Was it appropriate? No. Are they being held criminally responsible for their misdeeds? Yes. But to call this “sodomy” or “child molestation” when it clearly is not, harms these victims, unnecessarily taints these defendants and harms the criminal justice system in general. Quite frankly, it is slap in the face to child molestation and sexual assault victims everywhere to put this conduct in the same category.

Read the police report and see if you agree with her or not.


Blogger DADvocate said...

Happens in Ohio too. I blogged about this case a couple of weeks ago.

Andrew Selva, 46, was charged with 20 counts of rape, but as part of a plea deal, he was only convicted on two counts of sexual battery. Franklin County Judge John Connor labeled Selva a sexual predator and sentenced him to treatment, house arrest and probation -- a move that has infuriated prosecutors and legislators around the state.

In my blog I note how a teenager got more time for shoplifting than this guy got for rape. Certainly not a good way to show how much we care about our sons.

11:27 AM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger KipEsquire said...

You're completely missing the point. The issue here isn't the gender of the victims but the political clout of the accused's parent.

If Clifton Bennett were the son of Larry the Cable Guy, then there would have been no headline for you to blog about.

11:40 AM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Landis said in court that the case was never viewed as "sexual in nature,"

According to most feminists, no rape is sexual; it's about power.
So what makes this different?

So, remember, all you rapists out there, just call it 'hazing.'

These guys should be put in prison, then let's ask them if they still call it just 'hazing.'

11:45 AM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Uhh...the prosecuter said that if the victims were girls, it would be a different story. I understand that the perps got off in part because one was the son of a politician but it was made easier by the mere fact that the victims were boys. No one would have stood for girls to be treated this way--and especially not by men.

11:54 AM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the article acknowledges, intent isn't a requirement of prosecution for sexual assault. The prosecutor has basically innovated new standards for male sexual assault (e.g. avowed homosexuality ) and applied them to this case. It seems that SA was taken off the table at the outset.

9 will get you 10 that a deal had been arranged at the onset of the investigation and that this process has been choreographed towards a predetermined conclusion. They probably didn't anticipate much scrutiny.

12:18 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

Give me the prosecutors and a broom and I'll make a little demonstration for their benefit. I promise it'll be completely nonsexual. Might even clear up their mental haze.

12:32 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

In the linked story on the false accusation: Does anyone know of other examples where teachers have been fired for having pornography on their computers?

That is mentioned once, then dropped in the general outrage which sounds well deserved. The role of porn in determining intent to commit sexual crimes needs more attention.

How do we deal with fantasy lives when most people would never act out their fantasies in reality? What kind of "evidence" is this?

1:15 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now this is just the limit it shows the depths of depravation that these people have sunk to, and worst still the people who are condoning such acts. I would ask if these so called d0-gooders would they feel the same way if their sons or brothers or even themselves were subjected to such vile acts.

I don't know how these creatures because they do not deserve to be called human beings, (animals would not behave like them) can ever hold their heads up again.

2:06 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger Mark Daniels said...

I suspect political influence has a lot to do with this accommodation as well. In any case, it's outrageous!

Mark Daniels

2:49 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree that this was politics, no matter what else the prosecutor may have said to cover up that fact. Just look at what the Kennedys have gotten away with throughout the years.

4:10 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

the law should be done without favour. if your guilty your guilty. but the rich have always gotten away with murder sometimes literally. (alledgely).. naming no names.. i am not surprised anymore.

4:13 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger TMink said...

I am stunned. This is outrageous. Not sexual, how can that be said. Hazing does not involve rape. This leaves me speechless.

An important part of recovery from sexual abuse involves the responses of significant others. Here, the courts, a quite significant other, denied that they were raped. This will sentence the survivors to more difficulties, some for the rest of their life. I hope that they file a class action civil suit and bankrupt the organization. And I hope that the DA has an opponent next election.


4:38 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am waiting for someone to come here to write that:
1)These boys are just weenies.
2)They should have taken it as Real Men.
3)Women have been raped throught history, so it´s just payback time.

5:40 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

he he he he anonymous 5.40

5:56 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Wow, in a world where a man can lose his job for being falsely accused of trying to sodomize a girl, young men can almost get away scot-free if they actually sodomize boys. What a fair and just system we have."

Data please. No fair cherry-picking two cases to set side by side. For example, the Boston Globe a while back did a study about who gets ticketed vs. warned for similar degrees of speeding. On average, women got tickets less often than men for similar offenses, whites less often than blacks, elderly men less often than young men, etc. But just to show that there are statistical anomalies, the paper mentioned an instance of a young white woman getting ticketed for going 1 mile over speed limit, and a young black male getting away with a warning for speeding >30 miles over limit. How do we know the two cases you've chosen to cite are in any way representative of the larger population? Show us some actual data to back up your extremely broad claim.

5:58 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

dazed check the link please, a different colourded text

heres the long link for you


6:01 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The link just talks about that particular case. I don't see any data from a large, representative sample of cases. No numbers that show any kind of a trend or statistically significant bias in sentencing.

oh, and anonymous 5:40 - how is rape & sodomy even remotely comparable to the very reasonable expectation that a grown healthy adult will support him/herself (I'm assuming you're referring to the previous thread). Adults mooching off their parents = molested children? What's next, maybe compare the slackers to Holocaust victims?

6:33 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger BobH said...

To dazed&confused:

So you're saying that no conclusions can be drawn from single incident and, more importantly, the reaction of society as a whole or some portion of that society, to that single incident, right?

I might agree with the first part of the above statement, but I utterly and completely disagree with the second part. The societal reaction to an incident like this is much more important and instructive than the incident itself.

8:51 PM, April 04, 2006  
Blogger Assistant Village Idiot said...

bobh nails it.

Individual anecdotes tell us little. The reaction is more revealing.

I hope homosexual groups take up this issue. They are greatly offended that the molestation of boys is associated with adult homosexuality in the public mind, and go to great lengths to make sure that connection is not insinuated. Here's a perfect case. There was an explicit attempt to seek out if the perpetrators were homosexual and relate it to the case. Failing to find evidence of homosexuality, they concluded that the offenses were not sexual.

9:31 PM, April 04, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So its okay to sexually abuse someone if you take photographs?

3:26 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

dazed first anonymous 5.40 was using humor, 2ndly its a symptom of men need to be punished ideal thats so pervading the entire culture. how somehow men deserve things like that to happen, if you have ever seen some tv shows and discussions online about similar things. women laughing at the idea of men having their penis's chopped off. thinking its funny for men to be sodomised. and that men should be men (aka women slaves) and accept it. as a real man will move past it.

if you read dworkin the most man hating feminist, she spews out so much anti male hatred, and she actually condones men abuse. and that if men complain they are somehow people to look down upon for complaining.

4:29 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Today Fox is reporting another case of woman on boy rape in a school in Delaware. Is it me or are these cases coming in more and more frequency? Are there as many cases of men raping school girls, or are they just not reported because they are not "man bites dog" stories? I'm not sure, but it does seem strange that so many women feel compelled to have sex with their charges in our publc schools. One can only surmise that either these cases have not been reported in the past, or that the frequency of woman on boy rape is increasing with the "sexual empowerment" of women.

10:26 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Re: the man who lost his job after being found not guilty ... They also found porn on his computer at school. (He claimed others had access to his machine. Convenient.) Poor example to support your arguement, unfortunately.


10:26 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Wow, I would hate to have you on my jury. The man was found not guilty and others had access to his computer. One of the points I made was that this man was charged not with sodomizing the girl but "trying to" and was looking at up to 30 years in jail just for trying whereas these "broomers" in the other article actually admitted to their conduct (and in addition, choked some of the campers until they passed out). I think it is an excellent example of the injustice of our system.

10:43 AM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But repeat after me: America has the best justice system in the world.

10:56 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger David Foster said...

I wonder if "anonymous", above, has conducted a comparative study of other justice systems throughout the world?

11:54 AM, April 05, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

Is anyone else having trouble getting the police report to open or is it just me and my out-of-date computer system?

2:48 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading the report, I can see where the DA would come to the conclusions that she did, however the alternative is very disturbing to me. While one can argue that the intent was not to sexually assault the victim, it seems to me that in this case, the intent was to humiliate and assault the victim, and that they chose to use a sexual method to do so. It is to me the equivalent of groping or grabbing a female's chest, or genitalia, and is quite disturbing. These boys were using the threat of sodomy against a bunch of children, which is disturbing to say the least. While I might not call this rape in the same way that I would call it rape if someone were forced to perform oral sex or were sodomoized, this certainly qualifies to me as assault, and could be considered sexual battery.

I am disturbed that the junior counselors also choked their victims. This is something that could easily go wrong and result in permanent harm.

I definitely think that this case warrants more than one charge and minimal jail time. While one can look at this as hazing, and I'm sure that the junior counselors thought that that was all they were doing, they were humilating and assaulting these children, and could have damaged them permanently. Further, although it may not have occurred to them, they were using a sexual method to do it. That alone should have gotten them at least one sexual battery charge, and multiple counts of assault.

2:53 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Do you think personnel decisions should require the same standard of evidence as criminal trials?

Should there be different standards for government and private employers?

3:13 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All this is happening in a country where psychologists sexually assault patients in their offices.

6:37 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, someone in a position of authority decides to choke my child and threatens to sodomize him ?

Well, only once. Talk about invoking a really, really primal parental response.

Rope, tree, some assembly required.

I have no idea what the parents in question are like. But the DA may not have done the defendants any favors.

9:08 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

drj, yes, I was unable to access the police report.

We're in AZ; I read about this travesty yesterday, I think, and was as horrified as many other commenters. As for the prosecutor's "justification" on the basis that no penetration occurred, didn't these two guys plead guilty to sodomy? I'm pretty sure that does, by definition, involve penetration. And in the case of females, penetration by any implement--human or inanimate--is still sexual assault.

I'm also hoping to hear of a huge outcry. I'm sure the prosecutor can't be compelled, now, to change the deal, because it's done. But when election time rolls around. . . . And if those two guys don't find themselves becoming victims, perhaps several times over, I will be surprised.

The whole thing is sickening. More and more, I wonder about the evil that lurks in the hearts and minds of "humanity."

11:20 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great comment earlier about rape being about power not sex.

The other point I thought about was to look at the date of the police report: December (compared to the events in June). Anyone really think that it would have been six months before someone spook up if the victims were female?


11:29 PM, April 05, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew I should have talked to Bruce before posting a comment. He always has more information and had seen the police report. His comment was that, if that had been done to one of his kids, he'd want the abusers dead. But he did not find fault with the end result of the case. The prosecution's conclusions make more sense to me, now; they did not suggest that the accused were innocent of wrong doing. This wasn't sodomy (the boys all wore clothing), it wasn't rape, but it was humiliation. It was wrong. Stupid, even. As for the choking, the guy who did that needs some enforced anger-management work, among other things. There are appropriate means of discipline, and kids who don't know them shouldn't be counselors.

1:09 AM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger DRJ said...

I agree with Dr. Helen, Anonymous @ 2:53, Teresa, and other commenters who find this result shocking. My only additional thought focuses on the attitudes expressed regarding hazing.

For the record, I don't agree with the County Attorney that this was merely "hazing gone wrong". But even it was, so what? Hazing is serious and each year results in needless injuries and deaths. This hazing included choking CHILDREN to unconsciousness and, at a minimum, pretending to sodomize them. The fact that this involved 11- and 12-year-old children makes it even more offensive and troublesome, not less. I don't like hazing at any age but at least with high school and college students they have some ability to walk away or to protect themselves. These boys apparently had no choice but to submit, but the County Attorney treats this as a "boys will be boys" hazing gone wrong.

These boys attended this camp because they were viewed as potential leaders. How sad that this was their reward. And the lesson they've learned is that justice may suffer if your abuser has connections.

1:09 AM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger Mercurior said...

i bet there wont be much of an outcry, as they are only boys. its seems to me that the laws now in the UK and in the US, are more and more focused on womens rights, rather than humanity, there should be laws that protect both equally. but there isnt. men are becoming in my opinion 2nd class citizens, no wonder there is so much male apathy about. i suffer from it too. as other posters have put, if it was a girl it was done too, then you would have had riots, parades for the poor girls.. but for boys... nothing

5:27 AM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger Eric said...

"There was an explicit attempt to seek out if the perpetrators were homosexual and relate it to the case. Failing to find evidence of homosexuality, they concluded that the offenses were not sexual."

Suppose a group of gay men had done the same thing to girls. Would their homosexuality give them a similar pass?

Why should it?

11:07 AM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger Ric said...

Are there really some actions which are always sexual in nature?

Hate speach is problematic in the same way.

How can you know intent.

"Landis said in court that the case was never viewed as "sexual in nature," in part because prosecutors could not prove Bennett and Wheeler had sexual intent."

I am bothered by the large number of men who are now labeled as 'sexual'"x" - preditors, violators, or whatever legal term is preferred where you live.

So, I am glad that without intent, this is going forward as assault.

But again, are there some actions which are sexual by their very nature?

"Darren Blacksmith said...

So its okay to sexually abuse someone if you take photographs? "

I believe it is generally ok to pay for sex if a video camera is present.
- pay for sex is generally regarded as prostitution, and not acceptable.
- video taping and paying the actors, is creation of art (ie porn) and is.

"Eric said...

Suppose a group of gay men had done the same thing to girls. Would their homosexuality give them a similar pass?

Why should it?"

To add on to this thought -
What if a priest had done this. As the priest is ostensibly non-sexual ( abstenent )

Pesky problem intent.

2:25 PM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger TMink said...

OK, I read the police report. There certainly were sexual aspects to this perpetration. On one occasion a victim reported having the broomstick rubbed on his gneitals and at LEAST one child reported anal penetration. One of the defendant states that "not all" the broomings went that far.

The only persons who state that these were not sexually motivated was one of the perpetrators and the assistant DA.

Newsflash:Perpetrators are not reliable witnesses. Ask a perpetrator what they were doing and they will say things like "I was helping him explore his sexuality" or "I was teaching him about sex like a good mother does" or "Well, she wanted it and I said OK because she begged me." This is what they say.

This incident is obviously sexual abuse. It involves touching and penetration of the the botom and anus, it was coerced, threats were used to keep it secret. The children were also taught gasping, and were one at least one occasion slapped in the face while unconscious. Gasping is dangerous, children and teens die from it.

4:06 PM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger benning said...

Actually, if a Priest had done this I would want the Priest defrocked! Aside from that the press would be falling all over themselves to air this! Nothing gets in the way of a negative story regarding the Church. Nothing.

I should be shocked by this, but I'm not. This just makes me tired. It happens over and over again, and all anyone gets is a slap on the wrist.

Debra LaFave, anyone?

4:12 PM, April 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


If a priest had done it, can we assume a bishop would have covered it up?

4:34 PM, April 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's interesting to compare this to Cory Maye:

Case 1: Perpetrators, including the son of a powerful local politician, sexually abuse young boys. The prosecutor decides to only prosecute for assault and they get a slap on the wrist.

Case 2: Cory Maye, a black man, shoots and kills an intruder who smashed into his home. The intruder turns out to have been a policeman, and again the son of a powerful local politician. The police and prosecution trump up weak evidence and Maye gets the death penalty.

The lesson: Try to be on the same side as the son of a powerful local politician.

6:18 PM, April 06, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm confused and I can't open the report.

Part of Helen's post indicates that the boys were actually sodomized. But the DA and at least one comment on here indicates that they were just threatened with it.

Which is it?

11:09 PM, April 06, 2006  
Blogger Helen said...


Sorry about the report--some people are reporting they cannot open it--I am not sure why.

The prosecutor says that the boys were not sodomized as the broomstick and flashlight went over the boys clothes. The report says that the perpetrators took the end of the broom off to expose the metal end and pushed it against the boy's genitals. The report goes into more detail but this was obviously much more than a threat--some of the boys described humiliation, embarrassment that they were touched there etc. I guess it all depends how you define sodomy or what sex you are to define sexual abuse.

6:39 AM, April 07, 2006  
Blogger TMink said...

Hmmm, defining sexual abuse. I think sexual abuse is different from rape in that rape is an adult on adult type crime. Sexual abuse for me is a term that refers to children being perpetrated by older children or adults. For me this is s distinction of terms, not trauma.

Now physical abuse does not involve either contact of sexual "organs" or sexual excitement on the part of the perp. For instance, a man who collected and saved the pubic hairs from his daughters was perpetrating sexual abuse because he got off on it. No penetration, no contact, but it was a sexual fetish for him, hence sexual abuse. Sexual abuse carries that extra icky factor. Rechnical term that.

If the boys had been broomed in the armpit, it would have been physical abuse. As they were broomed in the genitals and anus it was sexual abuse. IT has that extra icky factor, no?

It is an old myth that penetration is necessary for sexual abuse. PLENTY of abuse can happen with no contact at all. A boy is chained to the parent's bed and they have sex with him awake and in the room while the woman tells him that his father will never save him because he loves her not him. Sexual abuse. It afects his sexuality, disturbs his normal and healthy sexual development and functioning. No contact, no penetration. A mother "washes" her son to orgasm in the tub at bath time, no penetration, sexual abuse a plenty.

I think it was Yoko Ono who made a film called "Rape" in which she and a camera team stalked an unwitting victim, filming the event. It was not rape because there was no sexualized intent or contact or content, it was plain old physical abuse.

People make the same mistake about neglect which is a form of negative abuse. Abuse is positive, it inflicts, neglect is negative in that it denies. We think of neglect as less damaging, in my practice I have not found that to be the case. Also, neglect seems to be more often perpetrated by women. Seems, I have no statistics.

Some of the hair splitting and minimization occurs because these topics are difficult to hold. It sucks to think about them. We don't like thinking that men can be perpetrated, we like to think of them as our protectors. We don't like to think of women, much less mothers, as abusers, it is scarry to do so. I think at least some of the problem is unconscious avoidance. Some is more incidious, but hopefully not too much.


3:03 PM, April 07, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Clearly, the victims were humiliated and hurt, in a sexual manner, in plain view of their peers, and I understand photographed.
Whatever the perpetrators motives, and whether the victims were penetrated, or even clothed, they were brutalized. As far as I am concerned, this is rape. A 24 year old scool teacher would be punished for the mere suggestion.
Is it just me, or does that camp smell like Abu-Ghraib?

3:06 AM, April 15, 2006  
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