Schoolboy pranks may be treated as felony sex offenses, reports the Portland Oregonian.
The two boys tore down the hall of Patton Middle School after lunch, swatting the bottoms of girls as they ran — what some kids later said was a common form of greeting.
But bottom-slapping is against policy in McMinnville Public Schools. So a teacher’s aide sent the gawky seventh-graders to the office, where the vice principal and a police officer stationed at the school soon interrogated them.
After hours of interviews with students the day of the February incident, the officer read the boys their Miranda rights and hauled them off in handcuffs to juvenile jail, where they spent the next five days.
Now, Cory Mashburn and Ryan Cornelison, both 13, face the prospect of 10 years in juvenile detention and a lifetime on the sex offender registry in a case that poses a fundamental question: When is horseplay a crime?
Even juvenile sex offenders who commit real offenses usually don’t pose a threat when they grow up, writes Maggie Jones in New York Times Magazine. Ninety percent will not become adult sex offenders. But they may be on sex offender registries for life.