We’ll start with this:
It was the early 1900s, and boys were supposedly in crisis. In monthly magazines, ladies’ journals and books, urgent polemics appeared, warning that young men were spending too much time in school with female teachers and that the constant interaction with women was robbing them of their manhood. In Congress, Sen. Albert Beveridge of Indiana railed against overeducation. He urged young men to “avoid books and in fact avoid all artificial learning, for the forefathers put America on the right path by learning completely from natural experience.”
What boys needed, the experts said, was time outdoors, rubbing elbows with one another and learning from male role models. That’s what led — at least in part — to the founding of the Boy Scouts in 1910.
Now jump forward about a hundred years:
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.
Prosecuting attorney James Landis explained the plea agreement in court, saying the “broomsticking” was a hazing ritual and a punishment, not sexual assault.
But legal experts, sex-crimes prosecutors and victims’-rights lawyers say the acts clearly fit the definition of sexual assault.
The pleas, which describe the assault charge as “a non-dangerous, non-repetitive offense,” have outraged parents who say their sons were victims of violent sexual attacks. The boys, who were 11 to 14 years old at the time, have had trouble going to the bathroom, sleep with clothes on, are afraid at night, and have undergone sexual-assault counseling
Here is the sick punchline:
Bennett’s father, Senate President Ken Bennett, R-Prescott, sat behind his son in court.A Prescott native and influential businessman, he has said little publicly about the case. After his son’s arrest, he issued a brief statement expressing concern as a parent.
Lawyers for Bennett declined to comment. But in a letter to the Yavapai County attorney, Bennett’s lawyers said he immediately “took responsibility for his role, showed remorse and admitted that this ‘hazing’ was inappropriate.”
They described Bennett as an honor student and active member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, planning to go on a mission in September. “A felony conviction for assault will make his desire to complete his mission impossible,” they wrote.
Looks like someone is giving the “missionary position” a whole new meaning.
John at Crooks & Liars has the unbelievable response from the Yavapai County Attorney, Sheila Polk.