US: Parents could soon face paedophilia charges for changing toddler’s nappy504 views
‘Parents and other caregivers who have changed an infant’s soiled diaper or bathed a toddler will be surprised to learn that they have committed a class 2 or 3 felony,’ say dissenting justices
Parents in the US could be prosecuted for changing their child’s nappy, following a recent court ruling.
The Supreme Court of the State of Arizona issued a decision interpreting a state law to criminalise any contact between an adult and a child’s genitals.
The court upheld the case of a man who reportedly appealed his conviction for sexually molesting his step-daughter.
It examined the language used in the state’s sexual abuse laws and ruled that any contact with a minor’s genitals should be conisdered molestation or sexual abuse – with no requirement of proof of sexual intent.
The 20-page ruling defines “sexual contact” as “any direct or indirect touching, fondling or manipulating of any part of the genitals, anus or female breast by any part of the body or by any object or causing a person to engage in such contact.”
It later cites the child molestation statute, stating: “A person commits molestation of a child by intentionally or knowingly engaging in or causing a person to engage in sexual contact, except sexual contact with the female breast, with a child who is under fifteen years of age.”
Legal analyst Monica Lindstrom said the wording of the ruling suggests merely changing a child’s nappy could make an adult culpable of being charged. She told Fox10 News: “The statue says intentionally or knowingly having sexual contact.
“Sexual contact is just the direct or indirect touching of the genitals. That is where the changing of the diaper could come into play.”
The ruling states: “Prosecutors are unlikely to charge parents, physicians and the like when the evidence demonstrates the presence of an affirmative defense.”
But the dissenting justices write: “Parents and other caregivers who have changed an infant’s soiled diaper or bathed a toddler will be surprised to learn that they have committed a class 2 or 3 felony.”
The ruling provoked anger on social media. One Facebook user, Emily Dawson Areinoff, wrote: “What does this mean for daycare providers, non-parental caregivers, and schools who serve special needs kids? They are vulnerable as it is. Our society is so weird and sad about bodies.”
Another, Guenevere Nelson-Melby, wrote: “I feel physically sick thinking of all the ways this is going to be misused.”