Thursday Open Thread

It’s Thursday!

Here’s a story that’s ripe for discussion: Should this man be labeled a sex offender for sleeping with his own wife?

The future couple met at a mutual friend’s house when Frank was a senior and Nikki was a freshman, and a relationship quickly blossomed. It soon became sexual, a fact that Nikki eventually admitted to her mother. After ongoing arguments with her daughter over her relationship with Frank moving too fast, Melissa Ostman took her daughter to the local police station and reported Frank for having sex with a minor in an attempt to throw a scare into him.

A day later, Ostman returned to rescind her complaint, but it was too late. Her daughter told the police interrogator that the sex was consensual, but was taken to the hospital to be examined for rape. The case was now in the hands of the state, which charged Frank with statutory rape. In order to avoid jail time, he pleaded guilty and accepted seven years of probation, which also required having to register as a sex offender…

During his probation, Rodriguez was not allowed to talk to Nikki or go to public places like swimming pools or football games where children might be present. He also was not allowed to vote and had to perform 350 hours of community service while also attending regular counseling sessions for convicted sex offenders.

But the biggest blow may have been being forced to move out of his home because he was not allowed to be under the same roof as his 12-year-old sister. “If I had known the implications,’’ Ostman told Marie Claire, “I wouldn’t have done it.’’

Despite the limitations of Frank’s probation, the couple eventually reconnected, married and started a family. When they had their first daughter, Rodriguez was not allowed to live in the house because he was on probation, so he lived there illegally, engulfed by paranoia and fear until his probation ended in 2003.

Fifteen years later, Rodriguez is still on the sex offender registry. He cannot work for a major corporation or coach his daughters’ soccer teams. He must notify law enforcement when he travels out of state.

Texas is expected to modify its sex offender law this fall, at which time Rodriguez can petition to be removed from the sex offender registry. What do you think? Does he belong on that list? Or was this a major parenting fail on the part of the girl’s mother? Who is now his MIL. Awkward.

What’s on your mind today? Chat away!


Wednesday Morning Open Thread

What’s up?

As a contractor at MomsRising, I was thrilled to see our organization make Forbes’ “Top 100 Websites for Women.” Also, MotherTalkers is a contributing blog to MomsRising — so go us!!

In case you want to catch up on the Elena Kagan hearings, MSNBC is live-blogging it. Also by MSNBC: the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has seen a 33 percent increase in the number of age discrimination complaints filed during the last two fiscal years compared to the prior two fiscal years.

More babies and small children have died in locked cars this summer since a California professor started tracking these numbers, according to the Associated Press.

A 31-year-old Florida teacher was sentenced to 10 years in prison for having sex with two of her students, according to ABC News.

Neeta aka “navajo” at Daily Kos wrote a loving and fitting tribute to her Navajo mother, who passed away on June 25. I enjoyed reading about the family’s Native American roots, history and seeing the photos so I thought I would share.

In other Daily Kos news: a stay-at-home dad wrote about the wonders of playdates. I agree.

The Momologie newsletter had fun tips and ideas for food and decorations for the 4th of July. Do you have any plans for trips, parties or fireworks?

Should there be a minimum age for nurses to hand out condoms in school? A school district in Massachusetts is having this debate after coming under fire for a policy that would, technically, allow it to give condoms to students in elementary school, according to CNN.

Jill Richardson, who has contributed food diaries here at MotherTalkers, just wrote an excellent article on school lunches at AlterNet. The relaxed USDA guidelines for school lunches are an ongoing discussion at her equally excellent blog La Vida Locavore.  

In celebrity gossip break: Lauryn Hill is back! (Sort of.) NPR interviewed her and she revealed that she had a nervous breakdown 11 years ago and has rarely performed since. But she has had her hands full. She now has five children with longtime love, Rohan Marley, son of reggae legend Bob Marley.

What else is in the news? What’s up with you?