New Bill in Maine Makes "Visual Sexual Aggression" a Crime
It might be 2008 in the rest of the USA, but in Maine, it's 1984.
A new bill in the Pine Tree State would make it a crime to peer at children in public. It's been asserted that some legislators can justify making any action a crime--as long as they add the magic words "for the children" to the mix.
This Maine bill adds proof to that assertion.
State Rep. Dawn Hill, D-York, is the head cheerleader for a bill only a fan of police state actions could love.
Or a police chief.
Her involvement started when Ogunquit Police Lt. David Alexander was called to a local beach to deal with a man who appeared to be observing children entering the community bathrooms. Because the state statute prevents arrests for visual sexual aggression of a child in a public place, Alexander said he and his fellow officer could only ask the man to move along.
"There was no violation of law that we could enforce. There was nothing we could charge him with," Alexander said.
So that's the problem: police could only ask the man to "move along". The man had not committed a crime--at least outside of Maine.
In the movie, "Vanilla Sky", the state had a police crime which busted into people's home and prevented "pre-crime": crime that hadn't happened yet, but which was forseen by a committee of mutants who had the power to see into the future.
Maine doesn't have any prescient mutants that is known, but one suspects that Ray Dawn Hill or Police Chief Alexander would volunteer for the position. "Pre-crime" is their concern.
As long as it's "for the children", arresting someone who is denounced for "visual sexual aggression" is positively an advance in crime prevention for the determined duo.
Ray Dawn Hill will be watching you--to make sure you don't watch children
Also at DBKP.com: "Coming Soon: Thought Crime, Maine-Style"
So, besides consoling each other with "there ought to be a law" talk, what steps did Maine's finest criminal minds do next?
[Alexander] attended a talk with Hill a week later and brought the case to her attention. Hill pledged to do what she could, Alexander said, and the result was a change through the Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee in the House, which made the law applicable in both private and public places.
Alexander said he's grateful Hill was willing to take up the cause, and is hopeful the measure will clear the Senate.
"I'll be pleased that we were able to identify this flaw and take steps to rectify it," he said.
There's apparently been no thought--as there is many times in crafting "feel good" legislation--about the unintended consequences of have a law against unlawful looking. Just a rush to rectify something that might have been solved with a simple "move along".
Anyone who has children has seen other children play and let their minds wander back to when their own children were that age--and then on to whatever other times and places that such thoughts transport the thinker to.
Just be careful not to do that in Ray Dawn Hill's Maine or the thinker may be transported to jail.
It's little consolation to any Maine visitor who's denounced for "visual sexual aggression" that Hill's legislative handiwork is unconstitutional. That's court decisions and many lawyer's bills away.
In the meantime, if this becomes law, mark down Maine as a place where you better just keep your eyes to yourself--especially if you're in the company of children.
File this one under "Legislative Mischief".
hat tip: pat
* DBKP image
* Coming Soon: Thought Crime, Maine-Style
* Bill toughens law on visual sexual aggression against children in Maine
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