Imagine taking your 16-year-old daughter to the store and having a pervert aim a camera up her skirt and take pictures. You would expect the man to be arrested, tried and convicted for being a peeping tom. But if you live in Oklahoma, you would be wrong. Only two out of the three steps in the process happened; the pervert was not sent to jail. (The American Heritage College dictionary defines a “pervert” as “one who practices sexual perversion” and “perversion” as “a sexual practice or act considered deviant.” In my opinion, this man is a pervert.)
Instead, the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals ruled 4-1 to dismiss the charges because Riccardo Gino Ferrante and the young girl were both in a public place when he decided to photograph her private parts. The “brilliant” piece of judicial reasoning behind this travesty of justice goes something like this: The “Peeping Tom” statute requires the victim to be “in a place where there is a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy.”
When did being in one’s underpants while wearing clothing over them not constitute a reasonable expectation of privacy of your private parts?
The 16-year-old teenager was not Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan or Paris Hilton out and about town sans panties. Unlike those celebrities, the teen was not dressed for and ready to be photographed getting out of cars without a care as to who sees what they are purposely revealing. According to FoxNews.com, “Testimony indicated he followed the girl, knelt down behind her and placed the camera under her skirt.”
This is the case of a young girl’s sense of safety, privacy and decency being violated by a pervert with a camera.
If the young girl had turned around and kicked that man square in his private parts, she would probably have been charged with assault. I guess it would not have been considered self-defense against a pervert, as the appeals court says he did not commit a crime.
Isn’t it interesting that the U.S. Supreme Court managed to find a right to privacy in the penumbras of the Constitution to support abortion, but the Oklahoma courts cannot find a right to privacy of your body parts while wearing clothing?
Ladies in Oklahoma, you might want to reconsider your wardrobe for spring and summer. Put away those billowy skirts and flowery dresses; you should probably follow Hillary Clinton’s lead and wear pantsuits! You will be somewhat warmer than may be comfortable, but you will not be enabling those peeping toms to snap pictures as you are freely walking and enjoying the public spaces and properties around your state. Make it more difficult for the perverts and maybe they’ll move on to Arkansas or Kansas.
Public schools, public libraries and government buildings are places that women will want to avoid. According to the appeals court, unless you are in a lady’s restroom or locker room, views of your panties are fair game. Since the girl that was photographed without her consent was a minor, it seems that children in schools are also fair game. Perverts can have a field day snapping pictures of children at recess on the playground.
This brings up an equally egregious case in the Seattle area. Jack McClellan, a self-proclaimed pedophile, created a website for pedophiles wherein he posted pictures of young girls he had snapped at playgrounds, family-friendly events, or anywhere there were young girls gathered, and rated the locations on a scale of one to five hearts, a five-heart location being full of young girls. The website also provided a guide to pedophiles on how not to get caught. A Foxnews.com article quotes Rebecca Hover of the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Department as saying, “As disturbing and offensive as we find this, there’s no evidence of a crime, or even suspicion of illegal activity.”
That website has since been taken down by the Internet service provider. After moving to California and then back to Portland, Oregon, Mr. McClellan is considering starting up his old website again. The Foxnews.com article said about his first website, “McClellan says his purpose is to promote association, friendship and legal, consensual hugging and cuddling between men and pre-pubescent girls. He admitted to FOX News that his ‘age of attraction’ is between 3 and 11 years old.”
What is wrong with our laws today that actually having your privacy violated in a most humiliating way is allowed, even of minors, as long as it happens in a public place?
It is a sad day indeed when a pervert has more rights than his victim.
Brenda Zurita is the Research Fellow for the Beverly LaHaye Institute.