By Rajendra Man Singh….
I am surprised to find so much inconsistency between news reports dealing with what is the same basic situation. A link in Drudgereport, a popular news aggregation website, on June 29, 2016 reads, “UPDATE: Woman slept with ‘more than 30’ cops in Oakland sex scandal…” From a glance at the link, one would wonder why that was even a news-worthy piece, given that there are ample tabloid-like websites to cover such prurient subject matter. Upon clicking the link, one is taken to the Abc7news website news article titled, “I-TEAM EXCLUSIVE: Woman at center of Oakland police sex scandal speaks out.” Still one would wonder, “What’s a big deal? A woman had sex with numerous cops. So what?” However, upon reading the article, a clearer picture emerges.
The “woman” in question is an 18 year old girl who had sex with multiple law enforcement officers, some when she was still underage. It was obvious that the article tried to portray her as a loose “woman” who became a prostitute at age twelve. The article mentioned as many as 32 law enforcement officers of different ranks and departments. The article also mentioned that several law enforcement officers who had sex with Celeste Guap were cleared of all charges because “the incident was consensual, no one paid, and she was 18 at the time.” As she is just now 18, the legal age of consent in California, and this investigation has been going on for some time, one cannot help but wonder how factual this is.
The surprising part, the hypocritical part, is that nowhere in the news article do the words “rape” and “victim” appear. Any other news story involving sex between an adult man and a willing but underage girl, even when a girlfriend-boyfriend relationship exists and the age difference is not nearly so great, use “victim” to identify the girl and generally withhold her name. And the young man will most likely be charged with rape and face life on the sex offender registry. This is also the accepted practice in stories about underage prostitutes; their identities are protected, and they are considered “trafficking victims.”
Should not media reporting — and the law — be the same for everyone regardless of the situation of the underage person and regardless of whether or not the adult is associated with law enforcement? However, an accusation of “rape” does not seem applicable when one of their own gets entangled in the very laws of which numerous US citizens have been convicted, punished, and are still being penalized decades later, their lives and their families’ lives devastated, by their inclusion on the sex offender registry.
Will any of these law enforcement officers who had sex with an underage girl face the same fate as ordinary people? Only time will tell.
Will news reporting of such incidents continue to be rife with hypocrisy, or will all underage victims be victims and all adults be held to the same standards regardless of the circumstances and regardless of who they are? Only time will tell.