WA: Say what? Child sex victims must prove they’re not wed to abuser? Scrub this law now

[thenewstribune.com – 2/17/21]

Part of the job of a lawmaker is to be a law eraser. Washington legislators are sometimes asked to scrub anachronistic language from the statute books, not just because it’s embarrassing and offends our contemporary values, but because it can have damaging consequences today.

Consider laws from the early 1900s that condoned sex between adults and children as young as 10 years old, as long as they were married.

Believe it or not, this language has persisted for more than a century in state law, making Washington one of a handful of states still stuck in the dark ages. It’s a holdover from an era of underage brides, shotgun weddings and powerless children forced to grow up much faster than they should.

Sadly, the legacy of harm continues. Legislators this year are poised to end it.

Read the full article


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I would think the fact that the child isn’t married at all would be sufficient proof that the child isn’t married to the accused abuser. I agree that the law is stupid and archaic, but the article’s author is GROSSLY misrepresenting its effects.

It also demonstrates that states just want their registries as fat as possible, and that there are a lot of registry nazis in legislatures that want to punish individuals for crimes committed in other states.

Also, if marriage was used as a defense, wouldn’t it be the accused’s burden to prove he/she was married to the victim?

Proving one is not married is required in more areas of law than just this one, and in each of them it’s very difficult. How does one prove a negative?