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Do you recall how old you were when you first went “clubbing”? Were you 21 yet? Maybe you were only 18 and with your buddies from college during your first year away from home.

Now, picture this: a club full of teenagers, as young as 13 years old, bumping and grinding up against each other! I kid you not!

Certain clubs in New York have been promoting weekly parties for teens “19 and under” in all five boroughs, luring kids with online ads, a MySpace page and even paper fliers! Now, I’m not just talking about clubs in New York — some entrepreneurs are foolhardy enough to consider this an undeveloped market in Los Angeles and Chicago!

From a parent’s perspective, I am absolutely alarmed! These kids are way too young to be clubbing. Club promoters that encourage unsupervised behavior — like inviting 13-year-old girls to grind against 19-year-old men — end up corrupting minors.

According to a recent article on New York Post, Nina Perez, mother to a 15-year-old girl, came across a Web site that promoted parties for teens held at Club Deep on West 22nd Street. Perez described that the Web site posted pictures of “young people, half-dressed, having sex with clothes on.” The ads boasted, “No ID required” — some of the girls look only 12 and some of the guys look 25 … if not older!

See it for yourself on cinteenbash.com if you don’t believe Perez. With free admission before 8:30 p.m. and the promise of little adult supervision, young teenagers are drawn to the party, which doesn’t end until 2 a.m. As Perez said, “there are couples and even triples all over each other in sexual positions. There are live shows on stage for the crowd to watch, where a young man with only pants and a young girl in skimpy top, and practically no shorts, grind and imitate sexual intercourse!”

Perez’s 17-year-old son told her that although alcohol beverages are not served, kids drink alcohol the moment they’re out the door — and fights have even broken out. What could be worse than exposing your kids to violence, alcohol, and sex all at once, and as young as 13? Even Perez’s son doesn’t want his sister attending these so-called “parties” where girls strip away their clothes the moment they walk in the door, revealing bikini bras and shorts the size of postage stamps, according to an article in the New York Post.

As parents, we need to step up a notch; we cannot allow club promoters to bypass this one! Shouldn’t overtly promoting underage sex, as these clubs are doing here, be equivalent to acting like an accomplice to sexual contact or even statutory rape? Let me explain.

Statutory rape is the crime of sex with a minor under the age of consent, or in other words, the age at which individuals are considered competent to give consent to sexual conduct. Statutory rape differs from other types of rape in that overt force or threat need not be present. The laws assume that all sexual activities involving individuals below a certain age are coercive because the minor is considered by law to be incapable of giving consent to the acts. This is true even if both parties believe their participation is voluntary.

To complicate matters, however, few states use the term “statutory rape” in their criminal codes, and instead, simply call it rape or unlawful sexual penetration among a variety of other titles. This makes it difficult at times to identify the applicable laws because they are often embedded in the section of the code dealing with other sexual offenses, such as sexual assault or forcible rape.

Furthermore, the actual ages for these laws vary greatly from state to state, as do the punishments for offenders. Over half of the states have adopted the age of 16 as the legal age of consent, although the range runs from ages 14 to 18. These laws apply not only to sexual intercourse, but any type of sexual contact, like grinding in this case, is generally enough. Some states also have laws that take into consideration the age difference between both parties involved. In many states, the more years there are between the adult and the minor, the more serious the offense.

Therefore, statutory rape laws aim to protect minors based on the ideas that minors lack the experience possessed by legal adults to make mature decisions about sex and are less likely than adults to understand sexually transmitted infections, or to have knowledge of and access to reliable methods of contraception.

So, in applying these laws to our situation here, the clubs in major cities that promoted weekly parties for teens “19 and under” have undoubtedly provided a venue unsafe for young kids. And by condoning sexual contact between young boys and girls, such as grinding and lap dancing, the club promoters may be acting as accomplices to underage sexual contact.

Bottom line: The nightclub industry will not relinquish anytime soon, so it is up to us parents to let our boys and girls keep their childhood for as long as they can. Don’t let your kids be misguided by the ads and fliers when they ask for permission to attend these unsupervised teen "club" parties!

Source:
Statutory Rape: A Guide to State Laws and Reporting Requirements
Kid Raunch Clubs: Parents Aghast as Teens Bump & Grind

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Lis Wiehl joined FOX News Channel as a legal analyst in October 2001. To read the rest of Lis's bio, click here.