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August 26, 2014

Study Suggests Arizona More Lenient on Potential Sex Offenders

An alarming new study indicates that the crime of soliciting sex from a minor in Arizona carries a shorter sentence than other serious offenses. A study conducted by the anti-sex trafficking group Shared Hope International and Arizona State University is raising some important questions about existing legislation. Soliciting sex to minors in Arizona is a […]

 

 

Study Suggests Arizona More Lenient on Potential Sex Offenders

An alarming new study indicates that the crime of soliciting sex from a minor in Arizona carries a shorter sentence than other serious offenses. A study conducted by the anti-sex trafficking group Shared Hope International and Arizona State University is raising some important questions about existing legislation.

Soliciting sex to minors in Arizona is a heinous crime, punishable by up to 24 years behind bars. Yet, a conviction may result in a light sentence of three months, far below the maximum penalties.

The report highlights Arizona as being considerably less harsh on individuals soliciting sex from children compared to the national average. The average amount of time an offender is jailed in Phoenix is 90 days – areas like D.C. & Baltimore mandate 180 days.

Somewhat contradicting the findings, the study also indicates the average time served in Phoenix is significantly higher than the rest of the country. Phoenix convictions mandate 4.7 years as compared to 1.3 in areas like D.C. & Baltimore. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Portland & Seattle mandate 86.3 days spent in jail for convicted offenders.

Although no individuals studied were convicted of sex-trafficking, the study suggests there is judicial leniency regarding the very crime fueling its market. Representatives behind the Shared Hope International group suggest these offenders are not facing the full letter of the law.

The research was the first of its kind – focusing solely on criminal outcomes for the demand regarding sex trafficking. Researchers compiled figures pulled from “johns” arrested for soliciting sex and undercover cops involved in sting operations.

Some critics suggest the research is flawed, statistics pulled from an extremely limited sample size – many individuals involved in the study did not actually sexually abuse a minor. Policy makers report they’re open to a dialogue founded on sufficient data that more accurately reflects the trend.

Original story reported by AZ Central.

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