August 06, 2003

The New York Mets have halted negotiations with draft pick Lastings Milledge because of accusations he had sex as a 16-year-old high school student with 12- and 13-year-old girls.

posted by rcade to baseball at 07:07 AM - 43 comments

This worries me. It's kind of a gray area. If there was "victimization" involved, they yeah, sure, that's bad. And if he was hooking up with 12 year-olds, then that's definitely fucked up. But if this is just a Senior hooking up with a Freshman, it's par for the course in high school sports. (confession: I dated a sophomore when I was a senior in high school)

posted by Samsonov14 at 08:15 AM on August 06, 2003

This is what worries me, "The allegations reportedly stemmed from an unsigned letter that said his school should look into misconduct by Milledge, at the time a 16-year-old junior at Northside Christian School in Florida. Have the courage to publicly accuse instead of passing notes. I dated a junior in high school during my freshman year at college. I think the math works out because I was never accused of any wrongdoing.

posted by usfbull at 08:31 AM on August 06, 2003

This seems a bit odd to me, too, and I have to think there are numerous people out there who had relationships in high school with people two or three years younger. Though the circumstances of this guy's situation may show otherwise, at this point it seems wrong to single him out, especially when there have never been charges filed against him. I wonder if he's coming under this scrutiny as a side effect of the Kobe Bryant case.

posted by rcade at 08:51 AM on August 06, 2003

Umm, guys, if MY math works out, this kid was a junior in high school, while the girls would have been in seventh or eighth grade. That is an age and maturity difference that would raise at least some eyebrows. If you had a daughter in seventh grade, would you be pleased that she was running around with a guy who drove a car?

posted by wfrazerjr at 09:39 AM on August 06, 2003

Probably so, but still this happened all the time in my high/middle school. I don't think it's that far from the norm.

posted by corpse at 09:44 AM on August 06, 2003

It might raise your eyebrows if you were a ridiculously overprotective father, but I don't think it's even illegal, necessarily; I thought the rule was for most states, a 5-year difference if one or both of the parties was under the age of 18. And if we can't distinguish between a sophomore/junior dating 7th and 8th graders and, say, true pedophilia or actual rape.... well, that's just nuts. Besides, kids are not unliving china dolls- lord knows when I was 12 or 13, I'd have done backflips if a sophomore or junior girl (like Michele S.! Oh my god did I have a crush on her, but she was 3 years older than me!) in high school had wanted to have sex with me. I'd have had no clue what I was doing, etc, etc, but that doesn't mean nature didn't ensure those desires weren't stirring up in me at an age that would make the bible-beating moralists blush. The notion that a 12- or 13- year old girl wouldn't have the same urges (they mature faster, right!) is silly, and tries to give the female of the species a clitorectomy and put them on a pedestal, and that's completely wrong. Surely these poor young girls were victims, eh? Surely they were taken advantage of, unwilling participants? Because teenage girls are incapable of sexual feeling because everyone knows women are incapable of sexual pleasure, it's solely a male thing.... I'm just saying this whole thing sounds like both a smear job by some unknown enemy of the kid (the sending of the letter- the facts might be true), and another example of America's Victorian-era hysterical sexual idiocy.

posted by hincandenza at 09:50 AM on August 06, 2003

If you had a daughter in seventh grade, would you be pleased that she was running around with a guy who drove a car? No, but if the guy was 15 or 16 and they were sexually active, sending him off to prison as a child molester might be a tad harsh.

posted by rcade at 10:27 AM on August 06, 2003

A 12-year-old may have sexual desires, but I doubt a typical girl has the maturity to make life-changing decisions at that age. I grew up in a crappy part of the SF Bay Area (Vallejo), and I saw plenty of 13-, 14-, and 15-year old mothers. I'm not so naïve as to believe that this type of age difference was the only factor, but it was a factor.

posted by dusted at 11:55 AM on August 06, 2003

America's Victorian-era hysterical sexual idiocy. See above. It was his girlfriend people! "...expelled from Northside Christian as a junior because of sexual conduct with a younger girl -- Milledge admits to having had sexual relations with his then-15-year-old girlfriend." A 17 yr old dating a 15 yr old?! Call the Pope, cause I think we found a sinner.

posted by garfield at 12:44 PM on August 06, 2003

So let me get this straight the Mets are: Chubby Chasers - see Mo Vaughn. Queer - see Mike Piazza But they have a problem with this PR blip? This team employed Valentine fer chrissakes... aren't they used to bad PR at this point?

posted by lilnemo at 12:54 PM on August 06, 2003

garfield, the allegations that he "had been getting sexual favors from willing girls as young as 12 and 13" are in addition to the older story about his 15-year old girlfriend. Yeah, the old controversy was ridiculous, but the new charges are more serious.

posted by dusted at 01:36 PM on August 06, 2003

More serious? Sexual favors from willings girls...Sound the alarm! Idiotic sexual hysteria

posted by garfield at 01:44 PM on August 06, 2003

....from my memories of being a late bloomer(grumble, grumble), 12 and 13 yr old girls are usually hanging onto/out with 14 and 15 yr old guys, due to their quick maturation. Typical, right?. So, there was a slightly larger age gap in this instance. I don't see the problem. Even if the letter of the law somehow contorts that into criminality, it still doesn't make it wrong. Both parties are getting what they want, right?

posted by garfield at 01:53 PM on August 06, 2003

I just hate it when the, 'letter of the law somehow contorts things into criminality'. Got to remember that one for my next speeding ticket. Both are getting what they want? I hope you're kidding with that crap, garfield. Simply because a 12 or 13 year old girl may be physically and, in some limited ways, emotionally more mature than 12/13 year old boys doesn't make them par with 16 year olds. A 16 year old boy (particularly a popular, standout athlete 16 year old boy) can certainly hold huge sway over a girl of that age. We should be as careful in assuming that 'willing' was an accurate adjective as we are in our assumption that the incidents happened at all.

posted by kloeprich at 02:38 PM on August 06, 2003

Lastings Milledge? That name is almost as good as Virtus Bologna!

posted by worldcup2002 at 02:45 PM on August 06, 2003

Virtus Bologna? What about Skipper Bologna?(full disclosure: some flash)

posted by lilnemo at 03:44 PM on August 06, 2003

A 16-year-old having sex with a 12-year-old is an example of "Victorian-era hysterical sexual idiocy?" Here's the bottom line, people: If you haven't taught your 16-year-old, shaving, car-driving son that he shouldn't be putting his penis in 12-year-olds, willing or not, then you have failed as a father. Period.

posted by wfrazerjr at 03:54 PM on August 06, 2003

The law ain't always right, and I think that point really isn't up for debate. Regarding the issue of protecting the innocent girls who can't wait to please the popular older boys, well, an argument can be made to this end, as at that age girls are much more emotionally fragile. But however it is formed, it would seem impractical to me. Teens have sex. Isn't attracting the popular boy's attention a large part of the socialization process at that age? And from the sound of it, the multitudes of girls sure didn't seem to have a problem with it, they just told the wrong people (meaning sufferers of the above bolded malady) and someone freaked out.

posted by garfield at 03:59 PM on August 06, 2003


posted by kloeprich at 04:00 PM on August 06, 2003

You to wfraze that is.

posted by kloeprich at 04:01 PM on August 06, 2003

A 16-year-old having sex with a 12-year-old is an example of "Victorian-era hysterical sexual idiocy?" No, viewing it as appauling is the example.

posted by garfield at 04:04 PM on August 06, 2003

BTW, I'm not saying making a 12 yr old girl a sexual object is right. I'm just saying they are trying to be, for a plethora of reasons, and the boys are too.

posted by garfield at 04:06 PM on August 06, 2003

had been getting sexual favors from willing girls as young as 12 and 13 I remember seventh grade vividly and what I remember is that the hottest girl in my seventh grade was Amy Theisman (Yep, Joe Theisman's daughter) and she hung out with older guys. I'm suprised that no one's mentioned that in the seventh grade it was really cool to hang out with older kids and the best looking girls absolutely did (much to the frustration of their same age male peers). And 7th grade girls aren't that naive, not the cool ones at least. The popular girls were already smoking, drinking, hooking up, going to clubs (this was 84' before the drinking age was raised in DC), they had fake ID's and were passing themselves of as 18 year olds. Sure most high school kids would think it's a little lame, maybe a touch weird for a high schooler to fool around with a junior high schooler but this story sounds pretty normal to me.

posted by Mike McD at 04:10 PM on August 06, 2003

thank you

posted by garfield at 04:13 PM on August 06, 2003

This is nuts. I actually know lots of 7th graders and lots of 16 year olds, since I work with them every day. Anyone with their eyes open knows both groups have a tendency to think they’re ready for all kinds of things they haven’t the first clue about. They might not be naive about their sex appeal, but they are shockingly ignorant about the consequences of their actions. Most of they simply aren’t equipped to make good judgments about big things like sex, and they prove it over and over again if you follow them around for any period of time. Both parties’ tendency to “give in” may be understandable and, lamentably nowadays, normal, but that’s not a reason accept it and get on with our other business, is it? On another note, who here supports the Mets for saying, in effect, “Wait a second. Let’s get this thing cleared up before we spend money on you. `Cause we’re pretty sure we don’t want this mess in our house”? If the Kobe situation isn’t in the background, does this situation play out any differently?

posted by jason streed at 04:41 PM on August 06, 2003

yeah, jason, I think the Mets can more easily shrug off an alleged sexual assault on an 18-yr-old (note "legal" age) vs sexual assault on a 12-yr-old. There's immediate statutory rape involved in the latter case, regardless of any arguments re: "consensuality".

posted by worldcup2002 at 06:57 PM on August 06, 2003

This is not a question of law. It's a simple queston of morality, and whether a 16-year-old should know better than to have sex with a 12-year-old, whether the younger party is willing or not. I thought maybe I was in the minority on this one, so I asked the staff at my newspaper. Five people in the office, and all five said while it may not be illegal, it's certainly not kosher. The 16-year-old should definitely have enough sense not to "give in," if that's the way you want to put it. Another point: What the hell is wrong with this kid that he can't find girls his own age? You have to figure he's the stud athlete at his high school. He can't find 16-year-olds that are interested? Yes, I know he had a 15-year-old girlfriend ... that apparently didn't stop him from going younger. Isn't that a sign that maybe there's a problem here?

posted by wfrazerjr at 07:16 PM on August 06, 2003

Let's be careful here - while the sheriff's dept. is taking the charges seriously (as they should), the actions allegedly took place two years ago and the investigation was brought on by an unsigned letter. The whole idea of it is enough to turn my stomach (I guess I'm a ridiculously overly protective father) but the timing and nature of the complaint is certainly suspicious. It's at least as likely that someone's trying to smear him as it is that these activities would coincidently come to light just as he's about to get rich. Let's afford him some innocence until more information is released.

posted by kloeprich at 07:48 PM on August 06, 2003

Comeon guys, do you remember what junior high and high school was like? From how I remember high school in most cases it would pretty lame to hook up with a sevie, even an eight ball would be stretching it, but it would depend on the girl. If she was really hot and hung out with older kids it might be totally normal. Especially at Catholic schools where all the grades are stuck together. What I'm trying to say is this doesn't sound like it's far from the norm. Furthermore, I wouldn't want or expect to lose a job because I fooled with a younger girl when I was 16.

posted by Mike McD at 09:18 PM on August 06, 2003

wfrazer: It is obviously a question of morality (and I have no argument against this action not being kosher). However, the weight of the law also falls more heavily in this case than in Kobe's case, because of the age of consent of the victim. I'm just saying the legal issue and "12-yr-old" probably made it really easy for the Mets to say, "Whoa! Let's get as far away from the stink that this is going to raise. Now!" Sex with a minor is illegal, isn't it? (Lawyers, I need a consult!) In Milledge's case, this is a felony, regardless of arguments about consensuality. (Whereas in Kobe's case, they do have to determine if it was consensual. The morality of that whole mess is also not a point to be argued. Kobe was wrong, whether he forced the girl or not.) Although, even if there ends up being a good case against Milledge, I wonder what charges can actually be brought against him, given that he, too, was a minor at the time.

posted by worldcup2002 at 09:28 PM on August 06, 2003

BTW, I may be totally out of touch on this issue. Maybe the norms have changed since I was in high school. It seems like any sexual contact is taken much more seriously these days. I was never comfortable with what a lot of my friends did in high school (grabbing asses, tits, one girl had her skirt & underwear pulled down around her ankles in a crowded hallway) and would be probably get you in a lot of trouble now. But I think you have to know the circumstances as well. Take the underwear/skirt attack, it sounds bad, but the depanter and the depantee were good friends; she laughed it off and just attacked him with her friends and pulled his pants down (didn't get his underwear though so it wasn't as embarassing). Even though it wasn't something I was comfortable doing, as far as I know, none of the girls ever complained and no one ever got in trouble.

posted by Mike McD at 09:40 PM on August 06, 2003

WC: Here's a site that answers your question. It boils down to an age of consent issue - 16 in most states, Florida included. From what I know, since Milledge was 16 at the time, it will be up to the DA to decide if he's tried as an adult. And since that's the age of consent it would seem likely he would be.

posted by kloeprich at 10:27 PM on August 06, 2003

Looking into the background of this story further, I found something amazing: The high school that kicked Milledge out, allegedly for having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, knew about that accusation for more than six months, but waited to expel him until his team was done with their season. Milledge was one of the top prep prospects in the nation, so I don't expect that the Mets will drop him short of an actual accusation in court -- something that people should note has not happened here.

posted by rcade at 10:50 PM on August 06, 2003

kloeprich: Dang, that puts Milledge in more potential legal trouble, I think. And rcade: The info you gave really makes Milledge's high school look very very bad. Now, those were adults making that decision, and, what was practical, not what was right, won the day. Not that I'm surprised.

posted by worldcup2002 at 11:00 PM on August 06, 2003

Kloeprich raises an interesting point: whether or not they can try him as an adult. All the shit I did as a kid and got busted for (B&E, public intoxication X2, disturbing the peace, destruction of public property, trespassing - only three separate incidents, by the way), don't show up on my record. It was all wiped clean, and except for my 22nd birthday on Spring Break (Well, when are we gonna get rowdy?), I've never been in trouble since. Only internet nerds like you guys now know what happened in my past, because we have laws that protect kids from having their names published in the papers. It's pretty messed up to bring up these issues now. Or maybe a better way to say it would be that it's pretty messed up to publish these issues now. Shouldn't the name of the accused be protected since he was a minor at the time? He hasn't even been in court yet! If he's found guilty when tried as an adult, then fine. Otherwise leave him alone until we know the facts.

posted by Samsonov14 at 11:12 PM on August 06, 2003

A 16-year-old having sex with a 12-year-old is an example of "Victorian-era hysterical sexual idiocy?" Here's the bottom line, people: If you haven't taught your 16-year-old, shaving, car-driving son that he shouldn't be putting his penis in 12-year-olds, willing or not, then you have failed as a father. Period. I'd like to point out that oftentimes, no matter how good of a father you are, your kids may still have sex, even with someone 3 or 4 younger or older than them. Yes, you will not know this, they will not tell you. You could be a priest that reads scripture to them everyday, they will still defy you.

posted by corpse at 08:31 AM on August 07, 2003

Yes - I think when we start playing the moraility game then we start to drift into troubling waters. I'd try to give him the benefit of the doubt - no further allegations of inappropriate behaviour seem to be forthcoming that would indicate a anit-social perversion, i.e. he's 22 and still loving the junior schoolers - and there are numerous potential mitigating factors that can result in a severe misrepresentation of him as an adult. This is the Mets being cautious in light of the Kobe situation. It should not be interpreted otherwise. Plus - I went to a prep school that had Kindergarten to Grade 13 for a time - age becomes less of a factor in those closed environments.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 09:55 AM on August 07, 2003

Okay, is the real issue the fact that the guy was 16 and she was 12 or just the fact that she was 12 years old? People seem to have an issue because she was 12 and didn't know any better... but trust me, in the age of Britney Spears and the internet, 12 year old girls know what's up... so, let's not go there. Also, the guy was 16 years old... so WHAT?? would we even be having this conversation if he was 13 years old and she was 12? DEFINITELY not. It wouldn't even come up... now, what's really different mentally about a 13 year old and a 16 year old... do you really learn maturity from being a freshman in high school and being a junior in high school? i don't think so... you're still looking to get laid at that age group... no matter what age the girl is. If we assume that the sex was consensual, are you saying that this guy should have looked at the naked 12 year old girl in his bed who wanted him and said "Sorry, I can't do this... you're too young". Name me one 16 year old who would take the high road like that... and if you know someone like that, he's probably STILL a virgin to this day. You want to talk about atrocious age differences?? Let's talk about Justin Timberlake and Cameron Diaz or Ashton Kutcher and Demi Moore... now, there is some injustice, man.....

posted by jhwoo82 at 02:22 PM on August 07, 2003

Name me one 16 year old who would take the high road like that... and if you know someone like that, he's probably STILL a virgin to this day. It happened to me. I said no. She was 14, I was 16. Later that month, I met someone who was 18 and fucked up your little thought there. The high road leads you to pretty good places, actually. After going through ages 13 and 16 in the last decade, I can tell you there are HUGE differences between the two. At 13, my life was playing baseball. At 16, I had a different piece of wood in my hands. Big difference. The kid shouldn't be shunned for life, but kudos to The Mets for thinking ethically.

posted by therev at 04:49 PM on August 07, 2003

I think jhwoo was using hyperbole to make a point. Yes, some kids would say no, most wouldn't. But now I am curious therev, why did you say no? Was she too young?

posted by Mike McD at 04:56 PM on August 07, 2003


posted by therev at 05:18 PM on August 07, 2003

Yes, there are huge differences between 13 and 16 -- but these differences are different in girls than they are with boys, and if you think otherwise you are deluding yourself. Those differences are partly why older guys hook up with younger girls. I mean, you just showed that yourself. When you were 13, you were playing baseball; when she was 14, she was about to have sex with you.

posted by mkn at 04:51 AM on August 08, 2003

I've always been troubled by attaching essentially arbitrary ages to behaviours simply because of the lowest common denominator. It's Ok at 16 but not 15 to do this, 18 and 21 for this and that and so forth. I suppose it's only practical in legal terms, but don't let it govern your judgement of people. I'd like to think this guy deseves the benefit of the doubt and not some unbridled hysteria sponsored by our ridiculous puritan underpinnings - which is what I really think. That and racism.

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 10:40 AM on August 08, 2003

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