A 67-year-old man solicited a 13-year-old girl for sex. The judge called her 'an aggressor.'

A 67-year-old man solicited a 13 and 14-year-old to sexually abuse them. Then the judge called the girls "an aggressor."

In a normal world, when a 67-year-old man molests underage girls, he's 100% at fault. In a normal world, when a 67-year-old man pays money to underage girls in order to molest them, he's 100% at fault. He's the adult. He's the one who knows better. He's the one breaking the law and all standards of human decency by soliciting sex with girls who cannot legally consent to it.

But apparently we don't live in a normal world. At least not in the Kansas courtroom where a judge decided that 13- and 14-year-old girls are "aggressors" in the above scenario. That's right. Aggressors.


Raymond Soden pleaded no contest to soliciting a 13-year-old for nude photos and sexual acts through Facebook. He admitted to knowing her age at the time. No contest. He did it.

But Leavenworth County District Judge Michael Gibbens decided that Soden couldn't totally be blamed for being a disgusting perv.

“I do find that the victims in this case, in particular, were more an aggressor than a participant in the criminal conduct,” Gibbens said before Soden's sentencing. “They were certainly selling things monetarily that it’s against the law for even an adult to sell.”

“I think that a 13-year-old who offered what she offered for money is certainly an aggressor," the judge said, per the Kansas City Star, "particularly since she’s the one that had to travel to Mr. Soden.”

I see. So Soden didn't go to the girl's house and force her to perform sexual acts; she traveled to him and he paid her money. Surely that means the 13-year-old minor was basically forcing this 67-year-old man into being a pervy sexual criminal. Got it.

The perpetrator's sentence was reduced to less than half of the state's sentencing guidelines.

Judge Gibbens sentenced Soden to five years and 10 months, almost eight years less than the 13-plus years prosecutors were seeking based on Soden's criminal history. The Star reported that Soden had two prior criminal convictions for battery and sexual battery.

According to Kansas law, a judge has to have “substantial and compelling reasons” to depart from sentencing guidelines. In this case, the judge cited evidence that the young teens had voluntarily gone to Soden's house and taken money for what they did.

The mental gymnastics this judge had to go through to try to justify a 67-year-old's criminal child sex abuse must have pulled a muscle in his brain. That's the only explanation.

The judge is facing harsh criticism for his comments, because there's no other reasonable reaction to have in this case.

The fact that a judge seems oblivious to consent laws in his own state is baffling enough. The age of consent for sex in Kansas is 16, which means that any adult sexual contact with someone under age 16 is sexual abuse or rape.

But beyond the law, isn't this just common sense?

How can a 13-year-old child possibly be considered an "aggressor" when a 67-year-old solicits her for sex?. I don't care if she showed up at his door stark raving naked. I don't care if she suggested it. She is a child. He is an adult. He is the aggressor if any sexual acts take place. Full stop. End of story.

But the judge appears to be convinced that these girls deserve some blame. According to the Star, the judge questioned one girl's statement that she was "uncomfortable" with the sexual contact and doubted that the experience was traumatic for her.

“And so she’s uncomfortable for something she voluntarily went to, voluntarily took her top off of, and was paid for?” Judge Gibbens asked the prosecutor.

“Yes, judge," the prosecutor responded. "She was also a 13-year-old who under our laws can’t consent to anything.”

Judge Gibbens said he understood that, but then added, “I wonder what kind of trauma there really was to this victim under those peculiar circumstances.”

Good gracious. She's a child. He's an adult. She cannot consent. You cannot judge her trauma, Judge Gibbens. You should know better, and the fact that you don't puts a damning stain on our justice system.

via Travis Akers / Twitter

A tweet thread by Travis Akers, a Navy Lieutenant with 17 years of service, is going viral because it shows just how sweet children can be and also points to an overlooked issue facing military families.

In the early morning of April 12, Akers tweeted a photo of himself and his seven-year-old son Tanner who he affectionately calls "Munchie." Akers was moved because his son set his alarm clock so he could get up early enough to hand him a pocket full of Legos before work.

Tanner wanted to be sure his father had something to play with at the Naval Station Mayport in Jacksonville, Florida. "This was my daily morning trip to base, departing my house at six am for work," Akers told Upworthy.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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