Jezebel‘s Anna Merlan flagged the story of a 12 year-old girl who was allegedly raped in the bathroom of a CVS pharmacy in Texas on October 16. Well, maybe not rape-raped, if you know what I mean. According to ABC affiliate KTRK’s headline, the man “Had Sex With 12 Year-Old Girl,” and the station broadcast a confusing detail in its report, from Southside Place Detective Michael Kelly:
“She was not necessarily all that unwilling, but at the age of 12 it doesn’t matter.”
I can’t even begin to decipher what the fuck that’s supposed to even mean, but just for clarity’s sake, a person either consents to sex, or does not consent, in which case it is rape. If someone doesn’t necessarily not consent, then they haven’t consented, and if a person is a child, they cannot consent.
The remark has sparked widespread outrage, for obvious reasons, but what really confuses me is that the station’s reporter notes, in the next instant, that “In Texas, you don’t have the right to consent to sex until age 17,” which is another way of saying that children are legally incapable of consent.
So, they know the girl was unable to consent, yet the word “rape” appears nowhere in their story, not even the not necessarily that bad “statutory” kind. In fact, the way they put it, it sounds like the girl committed the crime by maybe consenting when she had no right to.
The Southside Place Police need to get themselves a PIO, and KTRK needs to fire whoever decided to broadcast and publish this story in its current form.
Here’s the text of KTRK’s story, in case they try to memory-hole it:
Southside Place Police are looking for a man who allegedly had sex with a 12-year-old girl while inside a CVS store.
The attack happened at about 2pm on October 16, according to Detective Michael Kelly. He says surveillance video from the CVS at Bellaire and Stella Link shows a man in his 20s briefly walk inside the store, and then leave. Minutes later, the 12-year-old victim entered the store following her mother and grandmother. Police say the girl went off by herself. The man entered again and quickly approached the girl. “They went off into a corner and there were times when he was not fully clothed,” said Kelly.
Kelly tells Eyewitness News the man coaxed the girl then into the women’s restroom where they allegedly had sex. “She was not necessarily all that unwilling, but at the age of 12 it doesn’t matter,” said Kelly.
In Texas, you don’t have the right to consent to sex until age 17.
CVS customers say this is the first they’ve heard of the attack. “I think it’s morally reprehensible and inexcusable,” said customer Susan Gallagher.
CVS spokesperson Michael DeAngelis said, “The safety of our customers is our highest priority and we are fully cooperating with the police in their investigation.”
Police describe the man as white, in his mid to late 20’s with a goatee, and a distinct hairline. The girl reported that he had hairy arms with tattoos and specks of what could have been paint on his clothing.
If you recognize this person of interest, police would like to hear from you. You can reach Southside place police at 713-668-2341.