In Arizona, a new court ruling just upheld a law that can make it a crime for parents and/or caregivers to bathe children or change their diapers. This is not a joke — although it definitely should be.
The state supreme court in Arizona has upheld a state law on appeal that could result in criminal charges against caregivers who change diapers or bathe the young children under their care, the reason being that the person could touch the genital area of the child, and that is what the law is trying to protect against.
The law forbids anyone from touching “any part of the genitals, anus, or female breasts” of children under age 15. This does not require that the contact be inherently sexual. If the contact happens at all, it can be criminally prosecuted.
This is making headlines because the Arizona court for the first time actually confirmed that no sexual motivation was required for the law to be valid. Therefore, the law does not have to differentiate between caregivers and parents and complete creeps. Parents could be prosecuted even for changing their children’s diapers if they inadvertently touch the kid’s genitals.
Even though the law stated that its intent was to prevent “child molestation” and “sexual abuse,” the court did admit that no exceptions would be made for parents bathing or changing the diapers of their children.
The court refused to “rewrite the statutes to require the state to prove sexual motivation, when the statues clearly contain no such requirement.” The court pretends to help parents out because they said parents could defend themselves from the charges by claiming at trial that they had “lack of sexual motivation” as an “affirmative defense” — but that could require parents to go to court, spend money and be humiliated literally every time they decided to wash their children.
So the court’s reasoning is that we should always trust prosecutors never to make bad charging decisions. Apparently they don’t remember the Duke lacrosse case or the recent prosecution of Baltimore Police officers.
The Arizona attorney general, Mark Brnovich, needs to show some bravery, admit his mistake and get this law changed. And mindless, power-hungry attorneys like Diane Hunt should question their commitment to ethics before arguing such a horrible case before a court of law. Shame on both of them.
Most parents will go to any lengths to care for and protect their children. This law needs to be challenged again and again until it is taken off the books or significantly modified.
H/t reader kevin a.
* * *