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Allen begins his submission by stating that “Beginning on Jan. 1, prostitution by minors will be legal in California. Yes, you read that right.”
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One website, Mad Patriots, linked to Allen’s column with its own post: “Sick, Perverted Liberal California Just Legalized CHILD PROSTITUION.” Among the untruths, the website restates: “Immunity from arrest means law enforcement can’t interfere with minors engaging in prostitution – which translates into bigger and better cash flow for the pimps.”
Allen is referring to Senate Bill 1322, by state Sen. Holly Mitchell, D-Los Angeles, which decriminalizes prostitution for minors by barring officers from arresting people under 18 for soliciting sex or loitering with intent to commit prostitution.
It generated significant legislative debate over whether the new approach is sound public policy, but it is false to say the law “legalizes” child prostitution in California.
Those soliciting the sex and those arranging the clients can still be charged with crimes. People caught having sexual conduct with minors can be charged with penalties ranging from misdemeanors to felonies carrying life terms, depending on the ages of those involved and the individual circumstances of the offenses.
It’s also wildly misleading to equate decriminalizing minors with law enforcement not being allowed to interfere with minors engaging in commercial sex acts. Under the law, officers who encounter minors doing so must report the circumstances to the county child welfare agency as abuse or neglect.
Commercially sexually exploited children, based on the bill’s analysis, may be taken into temporary custody “if the minor has an immediate need for medical care, or … is in immediate danger of physical or sexual abuse, or the physical environment” or the child’s unattended status “poses an immediate threat to the child’s health or safety.”
Under statutory rape laws, minors are not legally permitted to consent to sex – for money or not – and Mitchell’s law does not change that. Mitchell and supporters argue that sex workers should be viewed as victims rather than criminals. Her bill was supported by the Alameda County district attorney, American Civil Liberties Union of California, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice and the National Association of Social Workers.
In opposing the bill, the California District Attorneys Association acknowledged that “minors engaged in prostitution are often the victims of human trafficking.” But the group said the solution in the bill could “undermine law enforcement’s ability to address those exploiting such minors.”
Allen makes other misleading statements.
He includes a quote from Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley stating that decriminalizing child prostitution “opens up the door for traffickers to use these kids to commit crimes and exploit them even worse.” O’Malley initially opposed the bill, but ultimately signed on as one of its highest-profile supporters.
Report: DEA agents had ‘sex parties’ with prostitutes hired by drug cartels.
A sign with a DEA badge marks the entrance to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Museum in Arlington. (Jonathan Ernst/REUTERS)
Drug Enforcement Administration agents allegedly had “sex parties” with prostitutes hired by local drug cartels overseas over a period of several years, according to a report released Thursday by the Justice Department’s watchdog.
The report did not specify the country where the parties occurred, but a law enforcement official familiar with the matter identified it as Colombia.
Seven of the 10 DEA agents alleged to have participated in the gatherings — most of which took place at an agent’s “quarters” leased by the U.S. government — admitted to having attended the parties, the report found. The agents, some of whom had top-secret security clearances, received suspensions of two to 10 days.
Former police officers in Colombia also alleged that three DEA supervisory special agents were provided with money, expensive gifts and weapons from drug cartel members, according to the report.
“Although some of the DEA agents participating in these parties denied it, the information in the case file suggested they should have known the prostitutes in attendance were paid with cartel funds,” according to the 131-page report by Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz.
The findings were part of a much broader investigation into the handling of allegations of sexual harassment and misconduct from fiscal 2009 to 2012 at federal law enforcement agencies — the DEA, the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Horowitz said the investigation was “significantly impacted and unnecessarily delayed” by repeated difficulties his office had in obtaining relevant information from the FBI and the DEA. When he did receive the information, he said, it “was still incomplete.”
In a statement, a spokesman for the Justice Department said officials took the issues raised in the inspector general’s report seriously and are “taking steps to implement policies and procedures to help prevent them from happening in the future.”
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