A thirty-one-year-old woman who dressed as a teenage boy pleaded guilty to sexual imposition, attempted sexual imposition and contributing to the delinquency of a minor yesterday after admitting that she used the disguse to try to have sex with a teenage girl.† The woman, Patricia Dye, is extremely petite and cut her hair short so as to look more androgynous.† She was arrested at the end of June after her 16-year-old “girlfriend” fled the hotel room where they were staying, and sentenced to six months in jail.† She’ll also have to register as a sex offender.
This of course raises the question: would Dye be receiving such a light sentence if she were a man?† Writing on Jezebel, Anna North points out that in Ohio, where the crime took place, the age of consent is 16, so statutory rape was not on the table.†
Sexual imposition, the crime with which Dye was charged, is defined as when “the offender knows that the other person’s, or one of the other person’s, ability to appraise the nature of or control the offender’s or touching person’s conduct is substantially impaired.”† Clearly, this was the case, but as North points out, sexual imposition is a misdemeanor, not a felony, so the sentence is relatively light.
The victim was clearly traumatized by the event.† In a statement read by the prosecutor, she explained, “Iím even scared to walk my dog.† I used to trust people. Now I donít.”† And police say that Dye “fooled around” and dated at least two teenage girls, although the charges were filed in connection with just one.†
I do think it’s important, though, to think about whether we take sex crimes by women less seriously than sex crimes committed by men.† Here, it seems as though it would have been hard to charge Dye with a more severe crime, but her sentence seems alarmingly light (although as many have recently discussed, being added to a sex offender registry can be an astonishingly harsh punishment).†
What do you think?† Should Dye have been given a longer sentence – and what does this say about the way that we deal with sex crimes more generally?
Photo from Flickr.