At around 4:15 p.m. on Monday afternoon, a 12 year old boy allegedly attacked a 50 year old woman from behind in Coral Springs, Florida. According to police, the boy hit the woman from behind and then tried to pull down her pants. When the woman turned around, the boy struck her again. The woman then chased after the boy, he hit her for a third time, and then he ran off. According to WSVN-7, the boy will be held in juvenile detention for 21 days.
Generally speaking, there are two approaches to cases of this type. The first perspective is to punish this boy as hard as possible. Unlike drug abuse, theft, or even minor acts of violence, many people correctly believe that sexual offenders are sometimes incurable. As a consequence, those who adhere to this belief, maintain that such offenders should be locked up for as long as possible so as to protect society from their uncontrollable impulses.
The second approach calls for rehabilitation. On a personal note, I believe that some sex offenders are absolutely incurable. However, I do not believe that the facts in this case, at least at this early stage, show that the boy here is in this category.
Given his young and impressionable age, one has to believe that rehabilitation and rigorous mental health treatment is the correct approach.
Since the boy in this case is so young, there is a strong chance that he can be effectively treated by mental health professionals and rehabilitated to the point where he can function in society without having abnormal outbursts like the one alleged in this case.
As a criminal defense lawyer, this is the approach I would take. This case presents an opportunity for the criminal justice system, including prosecutors, to rehabilitate this child and correct aberrant behavior at an early stage.
It is worth noting, that while the boy’s alleged behavior is obviously very disturbing, no actual rape materialized and nobody was injured. Before I formulate a final opinion on this case, I would also like to know whether or not the boy and this woman were strangers or had some other kind of pre-existing relationship. When I say “relationship,” I do not necessarily mean a romantic one. Rather, when I first heard of this case through word of mouth, my initial impression was that the boy wanted to embarrass the woman by “pantsing” her.
For those who have never heard of “pantsing,” it is a juvenile prank done on an unsuspecting person simply top embarrass that person by pulling down their pants in public. Teenage boys do it to each other all the time.
However, if this was a completely random act committed by one stranger upon another, then it would appear to me that the boy suffers from some kind of mental health disorder.
However, before prosecutors and the courts make any final decision about how to proceed with this case, it is absolutely necessary to determine the true nature of this case.
If it is a juvenile prank, then it should be dealt with accordingly. However, if this is a sexually motivated offense, then the boy should be immediately subjected to rigorous mental health treatment that addresses his specific needs.