This week, a Swedish court ruled to acquit a 27-year-old man of raping a 13-year-old girl because her body was too "well-developed" for him to have guessed her age.
The ruling draws attention to the country's incredibly relaxed stance on sex with minors. According to The Daily Beast:
The ruling has called Sweden's sexual assault laws into question: legislation that states a defendant must "know" or have "reasonable grounds to believe" that the child is under 15, the country's age of consent. The statute also classifies having sex with someone below that age as "child rape."
According to police statements from the teenager, who remains unnamed, she had run away from her foster home and came across the defendant at a playground outside Stockholm. After explaining her situation—she was hungry, thirsty, and had no money or phone—he invited her into his home for a drink; although he initially denied it, the police eventually secured evidence that they had had sex.
Unfortunately, as The Daily Beast points out, this is not an isolated ruling—judges from London to Montana have ruled in favor of accused rapists, framing their underage accusers as temptresses or worse. The Swedish teen's lawyer, Goran Landerdahl, has outlined plans to take the case to the country's Supreme Court; however, legal expert Madeleine Leijonhufvud told TT News that chances of a victory are slim: "The Supreme Court has been very restrictive when it comes to applying legal sexual abuse clauses to cases involving young teenagers."
What a wonderful world.
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