The world has gone completely mad.
A boy in Grant County, Wisconsin has been charged with sexual assault after getting caught playing “butt doctor” with a 5-year-old girl and her brother last fall. The girl said the boy had only touched her on the outside. The girl’s mother, however, suspected that the boy had put his finger in the girl’s anus.
The boy, whose identity is protected, had previously undergone medical exams where a rectal examination was required. As a result, play-acting of this scenario would be entirely developmentally normal for a child of six. As well, children of this age very frequently “play doctor,” due to a natural curiosity about their own bodies and the bodies of other children.
But this time, the boy has been charged with sexual assault. The parents of the boy say that their child is being unfairly persecuted because the girl involved is the child of a well-known local political figure. And the parents are fighting back. They have filed suit against the local district attorney as well as against a local sheriff and social worker, asking them to stop trying to coerce their son into admitting guilt and stating that the charges have caused irreparable damage to their son. Their child, they claim, now suffers from anxiety, depression, sleepless nights, a fear of going to school and a fear of being sent to jail.
What kind of a world do we live in where a six-year-old can be prosecuted by the courts for sexual assault? Yes, children who play doctor need to be taught respect and boundaries. Yes, children need to learn not to touch each other inappropriately. But to prosecute a six year old for sexual assault? Really? Can we not apply a little common sense?