Certain aspects of caring for a baby are unavoidable. Such as changing diapers. As much as we’d all like to skip that duty now and again, we just have to take a deep breath (or not, as the case may be) and get on with it. But some parents in Arizona are wondering if they’d be better off leaving their kid in a dirty diaper following a controversial court ruing in a sexual abuse case.
The Supreme Court of Arizona ruled that any contact with a minor’s genitals should be classed as molestation or sexual abuse, regardless of whether there was any proof of sexual intent, after examining the language used in the state’s sexual abuse laws.
The wording of the ruling defines “sexual contact” as “any direct or indirect touching, fondling or manipulating of any part of the genitals, anus or female breast by any part of the body or by any object or causing a person to engage in such contact.”
It also cites the child molestation statute, stating: “A person commits molestation of a child by intentionally or knowingly engaging in or causing a person to engage in sexual contact, except sexual contact with the female breast, with a child who is under fifteen years of age.”
According to legal analyst Monica Lindstrom, this means parents could be prosecuted for changing their child’s diaper simply because it involves contact with their genitals. The same goes for bathing.
Although the ruling states, “Prosecutors are unlikely to charge parents, physicians and the like when the evidence demonstrates the presence of an affirmative defense,” plenty of people are angry that there’s scope for it to be applied in situations where there was most definitely no molestation of a child.
Hopefully most parents will understand that they’re not going to be charged with a felony for changing their baby’s diaper. But what about non-parental diaper changers, such as day care providers and teachers of special-needs kids? In those cases, relationships are different, the lines are less defined, and the ruling could be used to cast doubt on the actions of innocent people.
Babies need their diapers to be changed by an adult, period. This isn’t something that should ever have to be argued in a courtroom. After all, isn’t it more abusive not to change them?
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