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Fayetteville Tries to Curb illegal Sex

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FAYETTEVILLE — Fayetteville has a big problem. Teenagers are becoming targets forsex.

From June 1996 to June 1997, 97 adults were charged with having sex with ajuvenile. Some cases involve military personnel preying on teenagers, butmost are civilians. According to Tracey Bass-Maynor of the FayettevillePolice Department, many of the perpetrators claim that they did not knowhow old their victims were.

But, in the Tarheel State, ignorance is no excuse. The law states, "Adefendant is not excused by being misled or mistaken about the victim'sage."

Lyteasha Bass is a student in Fayetteville. She says that shehas been approached by older men for sex. When she tells them she is only13-years-old, many of the offenders do not seem to care. She says thatsome of her friends are having illegal sex.

Police say that it is a matter of education. Girls should understand thathaving illegal sex is a serious offense. Men should understand that ifthere is any question about the age of the girl, they should abstain fromhaving sex, because they can be prosecuted.