Eugene Volokh says this morning:

“A thoughtful acquaintance of mine sent around an e-mail expressing skepticism that what Mary Kay Letourneau did was all that bad. Many 12-year-old boys, he pointed out, would be quite happy to have sex with a 35-year-old woman. Perhaps this is even so for most 12-year-old boys, at least most of those who actually end up doing it. Nor would this be likely, he opined, to leave lasting psychological scars.

Well, maybe so; I can’t say that I feel deep pity for the boy because this woman had sex with him, or visceral outrage at the woman for doing so. Perhaps I should, but I can’t quite muster it — and, yes, I’d have a very different view of a 35-year-old man and a 12-year-old girl, because I do think (based on an admittedly nonexpert judgment) that this is more likely to involve manipulation and lasting harm. (That doesn’t by itself tell us what the law on this subject should be, of course.)

But Letourneau didn’t just have sex with him — she had two babies by him. Now that is a matter that leaves lasting (life-long) effects on many (I’d hope most) men, and certainly not one that the boy was prepared to thoughtfully embrace. Children can be a great joy, but also a great burden, one reason that it’s pretty important for people to think hard and maturely before having them.”

While I understand the response here, I’m repelled by the larger implications that Gene is apparently missing. He does mitigate this somewhat by suggesting:

“…she did take his freedom — the freedom to be a relatively carefree yet decent 18-year-old, and the freedom to have a family that he in some meaningful sense chose to have. And that is indeed something to feel outraged, and full of pity, about.”

But again, he’s pointing only at the individuals in the spotlight, and by my read seems to be suggesting… Perhaps unintentionally… That other than those in the spotlight, this was a ‘victimless crime’. I’ve always considered this phrase to be over used, given that there are damned few really victimless crimes…So I use it advisedly here, but it imparts the concept well, I think.

This was not a victimless crime… There are a number of others hurt by this as well. We should perhaps recall that she already had a husband and a family. What of their lives being ripped up by this action?  What of the parents of the then 12 year old, who now have this elephant in their living room for the remainder of their lives?

And what of the kids, themselves? I’m trying to imagine myself as such a kid, and what they would go through in life. I cannot.

There are just so many things wrong with this whole situation, I find it offensive that we limit our vocal objections to this, to those directly in the spotlight. As with most actions involving immoral behavior… ‘victimless crimes’ if you will… There are many more people being hurt here than just the ones you can see. And that hurt is very real.

It also interests me that the social left is apparently confused and so has been mostly silent on all of this.

I have no solid answers here, but I am concerned; What has Letourneau done to our society as a whole by forcing this situation on us?  And perhaps a larger issue; What have we done to our society as a whole by our rather confused societal response to her? What kind of precedent has this set for our future?