A draft-law seeking to crack-down on sex with underage teens has been presented in parliament by ruling PS Socialists.
The proposal seeks to criminalise “any sexual act” between ‘adults’ (over-18s) and younger teens – namely ‘kisses, cuddles and other actions classified as ‘acts of sexual relief’.
Explains Diário de Notícias the crime of “sexual acts with adolescents” is already covered by article 173 in the Penal Code.
What this new proposal means to do is reinforce the wording, which at present refers to “abuse of inexperience”.
The plan is to make sex with young teens a ‘public crime which can be denounced to the authorities by anyone’.
But legal experts are already querying the ‘constitutionality’ of the plan, suggesting it “violates the right to sexual liberty”.
Said expert in criminal law Inês Ferreira Leite: “You cannot limit sexual liberty without a reason, ie consider that all sexual acts between adolescents of 14-16 and someone older (who could be just 18 or 19) are crimes”.
DN adds that it has tried to contact the MPs behind the proposal (Filipe Neto Brandão, Susana Amador and Pedro Delgado Alves) to find out what their motive has been in seeking this re-write of article 173.
“None of the MPs were available”, says the paper, though its journalist was referred to the Lanzarote Convention and other legal frameworks forged by the European Council.
Again this hasn’t cut much ice with legal experts who argue that abuse has to precede any crime, and that in many cases the teens involved could be perfectly content with what is happening to them.
As for commentaries on this story, one said simply: “In the time of my grandparents, who married when they were 16, this would have seen them both in jail…”
Another remarked: “A girl of 16 to be prohibited from dating an 18-year-old boy. How innovative…”