This New Court Ruling Could Make Changing a Baby's Diaper a Crime

From Redbook

Changing your baby's diaper is just another part of a day in the life of a mom, right? Of course. But now, that daily act could be a much bigger issue for some moms.

Last week, a ruling in the Supreme Court of the State of Arizona determined that any act that involves "intentionally or knowingly" touching a child under fifteen's "private parts" would be deemed child molestation - and one of those very acts could be diaper changing. What?!

Essentially, it has to do with semantics. One of the problems in the ruling - which came after a man convicted of molestation appealed the court to interpret that the "touching" part of the ruling require sexual intent. Unfortunately, the court refused and upheld the original language.

That would mean even a doctor or a parent changing a baby's diaper would be breaking a law, even though they're just doing their jobs, according to the report. Yes, that sounds crazy, but the majority ruled that the laws should be applied literally, and "therefore require no mental state beyond a person's intentionally or knowingly touching a child's 'private parts.'"

Photo credit: Veravan Oudheusden/Getty
Photo credit: Veravan Oudheusden/Getty

A person won't necessarily go to jail as a result of this ruling, but it does mean that should they be prosecuted, they ultimately would have to prove they're innocent - an undertaking that would probably be really stressful to someone who was just doing their daily tasks. (The court did note that "prosecutors are unlikely to charge parents, physicians, and the like when the evidence demonstrates the presence of an affirmative defense.")

It's crucial to crack down on child molesters, but the vague language puts Arizona parents - who are just trying to clean their kids' germs - in an extremely precarious situation. Moms are saddled with enough stress as it is.

(h/t The Stir)

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