Should older teens be held accountable for themselves?

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Grimmerick
Grimmerick Posts: 3,342 Member
FEBRUARY 28--A New York musician whom prosecutors described as an “Internet star” was sentenced this morning to five years in federal prison for exchanging explicit images with underage female fans.

During a hearing in U.S. District Court in Syracuse, Michael Lombardo, 25, was sentenced by Judge David Hurd for his guilty plea last year to a felony charge of receiving child pornography. Lombardo, seen at right, will also have to register as a convicted sex offender.

In a February 14 sentencing memorandum, prosecutors argued that Lombardo should receive 20 years in prison, the statutory maximum. Lombardo’s lawyers countered that the mandatory minimum, five years, was appropriate punishment.

Lombardo, a Berklee College of Music graduate, developed a large following of female teenage fans via a series of YouTube performance videos. Investigators contended that Lombardo, who also worked as a sound engineer at an upstate high school, then “took advantage of his position as an Internet star” to sexually exploit 11 minors (who sent the singer/songwriter sexually explicit photos and videos).

Pointing to a September 2010 online conversation with a 16-year-old girl, prosecutors noted that Lombardo was keenly aware that he was violating the law. During that exchange, Lombardo suggested to the girl that she delete chat logs and photos they exchanged since, “that’s like 5 years in federal prison and sex offender registration.” He added, “until you’re 18. Lol.”

In a sentencing submission, Lombardo’s lawyer described the convicted felon as a “sought-after musical performer, live and on the Internet, who developed a following of fans, some of whom became ‘groupies.’” The attorney added, “Approximately 80% of the females he engaged in cybersex with were older than 17.”

In an interview with a clinical psychologist, Lombardo stated that he was “approached sexually by female fans through the Internet and that he had responded to perhaps 30% of those overtures,” according to the defense’s sentencing memorandum. Lombardo estimated that he engaged in cybersex with “about fifty females and that probably 80% of them were adult.”

Lombardo told Dr. Norman Lesswing that his behavior was “stupid and dumb,” though he “denied that he manipulated, coerced or met with any of these females for the purpose of having sexual relations.” In fact, Lombardo added that he had “literally hundreds of opportunities, while touring, to ‘hook up,'” but only did so “with a college student on one occasion.”


For my part I definitely think 20 years is WAY too harsh a punishment for someone exchanging/accepting photos and having cybersex with older teens (16 or older) In my mind some of these girls should be held accountable as well for sending the images and doing these things they know they shouldn't.
He should definitely go to Jail but twenty years is really harsh. Especially when you see actual rapists getting 3-5 and out for good behavior or crowding.

What do you think? 20 years too much? 5 years not enough? Should these girls get in trouble for sending child pornography (nothing too harsh just letting them know how serious it is)?

Replies

  • rml_16
    rml_16 Posts: 16,414 Member
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    I think 20 years is harsh, but I also think he was well aware that he was doing something illegal and stupid. Self-preservation should have kicked in there somewhere. Geesh!

    At the same time, I remember being a 16-year-old girl, and I was hardly anyone's innocent victim. I was a little wild and stupid, too. But I was old enough and aware enough to know what I was doing.
  • Trechechus
    Trechechus Posts: 2,819 Member
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    20 years is definitely too long, but like rml said, he explicitly said he knew what he (and the girls) were doing was illegal. The girls need to be held accountable as well. They are old enough to know better.
  • wild_wild_life
    wild_wild_life Posts: 1,334 Member
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    I have to admit I'm not even clear what cybersex involves. Is it illegal to even receive images of minors that someone else took and sent you without your permission? Are you not allowed by law to respond to the minor? Not defending it, just not clear on exactly what happened or where the law stands.

    I get the impression that the sentences asked by prosecutors and pleas offered by defendants often have more to do with legal maneuvering that any concept of justice. But I agree 20 years is excessive.

    Holding the minors accountable is an interesting idea. Seems like they engaged in illegal activity as much as he did.
  • Bahet
    Bahet Posts: 1,254 Member
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    It's kiddie porn. Imagine that your least favourite politician was in possession of kiddie porn. You'd probably call him a pedophile and demand he be locked away for life. I don't care if the girl is 16. She's still a child and he's a pedophile.
  • castadiva
    castadiva Posts: 2,016 Member
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    When, as the OP pointed out, actual rapists are getting just a few years, 20 years for non-contact sexual behaviour with a minor (who is certainly old enough to know better, in this case) seems absurd. Unfortunately, the law is miles behind when it comes to cyber-crime of all sorts, and I think it is likely to remain a catch-up game for some time. I too, like wild_wild_life (and I'm sure many prosecutors/defence attorney, even judges and other law officials), would like some clarification of the law in this area particularly, to reflect the changes technology has wrought. 'Revenge' porn, social media threats of sexual violence or death, are just two other areas where the law needs to prioritise adaption to technology. In this case, it's clear Lombardo was aware there could be repercussions for his actions, so I have no problem with him facing some penalty/censure, but this seems out of proportion, rather like the woman in Florida who shot a pistol in self-defence, harmed no-one, and is facing 60 years in jail...

    There's been a recent discussion in the UK about age of consent laws - to me, they should, within reason, reflect the actual state of play, rather than an idealised notion of when we (as a society) would like teens to be sexually active. Sixteen, unless a person is mentally challenged, is more than old enough to understand both sexual behaviour and the law, and in the present day, it's difficult to argue that a person of this age is still a child in this regard, unless their upbringing has been extraordinarily sheltered. That said, there are significant problems with any move to criminalise minors for sexual conduct whilst underage - could lead to victims of abuse and incest being prosecuted, for example.
  • rml_16
    rml_16 Posts: 16,414 Member
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    rather like the woman in Florida who shot a pistol in self-defence, harmed no-one, and is facing 60 years in jail...

    20 years, not 60. And she shot a gun into the air in a populated area. It's pure luck she didn't hurt anyone. I still think it's excessive, but this idea that she didn't do anything wrong is a lot of hype. She put lives in danger.
  • castadiva
    castadiva Posts: 2,016 Member
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    rather like the woman in Florida who shot a pistol in self-defence, harmed no-one, and is facing 60 years in jail...

    20 years, not 60. And she shot a gun into the air in a populated area. It's pure luck she didn't hurt anyone. I still think it's excessive, but this idea that she didn't do anything wrong is a lot of hype. She put lives in danger.

    I gather the retrial has opened up the possibility of 60 years - the prosecutor has said they will ask for consecutive, rather than concurrent, sentences. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/blogs/gone-viral/os-60-years-warning-shot-florida-20140303,0,6377431.post

    My understanding is that she shot within her house, when she was under attack by her husband - not wildly, and without cause, in a generic outdoor area, where anyone could have been hurt. Many commentators seem to believe she should have been exonerated entirely under Stand your Ground laws. Not the point of this thread, of course, but definitely an example of the punishment not fitting the crime, either way you look at it, and with either sentence. She didn't kill anyone, whether due to luck, or ineptitude. Many who intended to kill, and succeeded, have been given lighter sentences, which provides some parallels with the situation under discussion in the thread.
  • rml_16
    rml_16 Posts: 16,414 Member
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    rather like the woman in Florida who shot a pistol in self-defence, harmed no-one, and is facing 60 years in jail...

    20 years, not 60. And she shot a gun into the air in a populated area. It's pure luck she didn't hurt anyone. I still think it's excessive, but this idea that she didn't do anything wrong is a lot of hype. She put lives in danger.

    I gather the retrial has opened up the possibility of 60 years - the prosecutor has said they will ask for consecutive, rather than concurrent, sentences. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/blogs/gone-viral/os-60-years-warning-shot-florida-20140303,0,6377431.post

    My understanding is that she shot within her house, when she was under attack by her husband - not wildly, and without cause, in a generic outdoor area, where anyone could have been hurt. Many commentators seem to believe she should have been exonerated entirely under Stand your Ground laws. Not the point of this thread, of course, but definitely an example of the punishment not fitting the crime, either way you look at it, and with either sentence. She didn't kill anyone, whether due to luck, or ineptitude. Many who intended to kill, and succeeded, have been given lighter sentences, which provides some parallels with the situation under discussion in the thread.
    She was standing outside when she shot. And bullets go through walls. People have actually been killed by stray bullets going through walls.

    If she wanted to fire a warning shot, she could have fired at the ground but she fired into the air.

    Is 60 years way too much? Absolutely. But the point is, she DID do something dangerous and illegal that could have cost lives. It's akin to driving drunk. Did you kill someone or even cause an accident? Maybe not. But you still broke the law and endangered lives and should be prosecuted.
  • castadiva
    castadiva Posts: 2,016 Member
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    rather like the woman in Florida who shot a pistol in self-defence, harmed no-one, and is facing 60 years in jail...

    20 years, not 60. And she shot a gun into the air in a populated area. It's pure luck she didn't hurt anyone. I still think it's excessive, but this idea that she didn't do anything wrong is a lot of hype. She put lives in danger.

    I gather the retrial has opened up the possibility of 60 years - the prosecutor has said they will ask for consecutive, rather than concurrent, sentences. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/blogs/gone-viral/os-60-years-warning-shot-florida-20140303,0,6377431.post

    My understanding is that she shot within her house, when she was under attack by her husband - not wildly, and without cause, in a generic outdoor area, where anyone could have been hurt. Many commentators seem to believe she should have been exonerated entirely under Stand your Ground laws. Not the point of this thread, of course, but definitely an example of the punishment not fitting the crime, either way you look at it, and with either sentence. She didn't kill anyone, whether due to luck, or ineptitude. Many who intended to kill, and succeeded, have been given lighter sentences, which provides some parallels with the situation under discussion in the thread.
    She was standing outside when she shot. And bullets go through walls. People have actually been killed by stray bullets going through walls.

    If she wanted to fire a warning shot, she could have fired at the ground but she fired into the air.

    Is 60 years way too much? Absolutely. But the point is, she DID do something dangerous and illegal that could have cost lives. It's akin to driving drunk. Did you kill someone or even cause an accident? Maybe not. But you still broke the law and endangered lives and should be prosecuted.

    Er - she was indoors. From The Guardian "Alexander said that after fleeing into the garage she found herself unable to escape, because the garage door was locked". I also don't understand how a warning shot can be construed as illegal (dangerous, fine, but if gun-ownership is legal, then shooting a gun without intent to wound or kill must also be legal, no?) , but that's a topic for another day. We've got off-topic, though, so I'll leave it there!
  • rml_16
    rml_16 Posts: 16,414 Member
    Options
    rather like the woman in Florida who shot a pistol in self-defence, harmed no-one, and is facing 60 years in jail...

    20 years, not 60. And she shot a gun into the air in a populated area. It's pure luck she didn't hurt anyone. I still think it's excessive, but this idea that she didn't do anything wrong is a lot of hype. She put lives in danger.

    I gather the retrial has opened up the possibility of 60 years - the prosecutor has said they will ask for consecutive, rather than concurrent, sentences. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/blogs/gone-viral/os-60-years-warning-shot-florida-20140303,0,6377431.post

    My understanding is that she shot within her house, when she was under attack by her husband - not wildly, and without cause, in a generic outdoor area, where anyone could have been hurt. Many commentators seem to believe she should have been exonerated entirely under Stand your Ground laws. Not the point of this thread, of course, but definitely an example of the punishment not fitting the crime, either way you look at it, and with either sentence. She didn't kill anyone, whether due to luck, or ineptitude. Many who intended to kill, and succeeded, have been given lighter sentences, which provides some parallels with the situation under discussion in the thread.
    She was standing outside when she shot. And bullets go through walls. People have actually been killed by stray bullets going through walls.

    If she wanted to fire a warning shot, she could have fired at the ground but she fired into the air.

    Is 60 years way too much? Absolutely. But the point is, she DID do something dangerous and illegal that could have cost lives. It's akin to driving drunk. Did you kill someone or even cause an accident? Maybe not. But you still broke the law and endangered lives and should be prosecuted.

    Er - she was indoors. From The Guardian "Alexander said that after fleeing into the garage she found herself unable to escape, because the garage door was locked". I also don't understand how a warning shot can be construed as illegal (dangerous, fine, but if gun-ownership is legal, then shooting a gun without intent to wound or kill must also be legal, no?) , but that's a topic for another day. We've got off-topic, though, so I'll leave it there!
    No. There are laws regarding where a person is allowed to fire a gun. You cannot legally fire a gun (except specifically in self-defense and in that case, you're shooting to injure or kill) within so many feet of a residence.

    I know people outside the US think our gun laws are wild and crazy and we're just running around shooting in the streets, but that isn't how it works.

    And shooting into the air is specifically illegal in Florida.
  • rml_16
    rml_16 Posts: 16,414 Member
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    And this is important to this case:
    An argument ensued, and Alexander said she feared for her life when she went out to her vehicle and retrieved the gun she legally owned. She came back inside and ended up firing a shot into the wall, which ricocheted into the ceiling.

    Why didn't she just leave?
  • castadiva
    castadiva Posts: 2,016 Member
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    And this is important to this case:
    An argument ensued, and Alexander said she feared for her life when she went out to her vehicle and retrieved the gun she legally owned. She came back inside and ended up firing a shot into the wall, which ricocheted into the ceiling.

    Why didn't she just leave?

    Because the garage door was locked (specified in the Guardian quote) - she couldn't get out. Thanks for the info about gun laws, though - interesting information.
  • rml_16
    rml_16 Posts: 16,414 Member
    Options
    And this is important to this case:
    An argument ensued, and Alexander said she feared for her life when she went out to her vehicle and retrieved the gun she legally owned. She came back inside and ended up firing a shot into the wall, which ricocheted into the ceiling.

    Why didn't she just leave?

    Because the garage door was locked (specified in the Guardian quote) - she couldn't get out. Thanks for the info about gun laws, though - interesting information.
    Garage doors don't lock. You push a button and they open. Unless they have a garage door that's completely different from any garage door in any other home in the country. And even if it was locked, she was inside. How could she not unlock it??? There is usually the big door that opens for the cars and then a regular door that you can walk through. Unlocking it would be a matter of turning the lock -- less than a second and not exactly difficult.

    It says "she went back inside." So she was in the garage with a gun and he wasn't in the garage with her if she had to go back inside to shoot in his presence. She left the situation, got her gun and went back into the situation where she "feared for her life."

    My point is, regardless of the Guardian story (and let me tell you I was a reporter and the story you see is rarely the full story), she was convicted for a reason. It looks like she deserved the guilty verdict, even if the sentence was harsh.

    There is also a little blurb in the story I found stating she pled no contest to assaulting him a second time even AFTER all of this went down. She had a restraining order against him, yet continued returning to the situation.

    According to the article, she was at the house to retrieve some of her belongings and she expected he wouldn't be there. If you have a restraining order, you would be advised to not set foot on the property without a police escort, and especially not to remove any property without a police escort. This woman is not the innocent victim she's being portrayed to be. There is a political agenda here.
  • doorki
    doorki Posts: 2,611 Member
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    And this is important to this case:
    An argument ensued, and Alexander said she feared for her life when she went out to her vehicle and retrieved the gun she legally owned. She came back inside and ended up firing a shot into the wall, which ricocheted into the ceiling.

    Why didn't she just leave?

    Because the garage door was locked (specified in the Guardian quote) - she couldn't get out. Thanks for the info about gun laws, though - interesting information.
    Garage doors don't lock. You push a button and they open. Unless they have a garage door that's completely different from any garage door in any other home in the country. And even if it was locked, she was inside. How could she not unlock it??? There is usually the big door that opens for the cars and then a regular door that you can walk through. Unlocking it would be a matter of turning the lock -- less than a second and not exactly difficult.

    It says "she went back inside." So she was in the garage with a gun and he wasn't in the garage with her if she had to go back inside to shoot in his presence. She left the situation, got her gun and went back into the situation where she "feared for her life."

    My point is, regardless of the Guardian story (and let me tell you I was a reporter and the story you see is rarely the full story), she was convicted for a reason. It looks like she deserved the guilty verdict, even if the sentence was harsh.

    There is also a little blurb in the story I found stating she pled no contest to assaulting him a second time even AFTER all of this went down. She had a restraining order against him, yet continued returning to the situation.

    According to the article, she was at the house to retrieve some of her belongings and she expected he wouldn't be there. If you have a restraining order, you would be advised to not set foot on the property without a police escort, and especially not to remove any property without a police escort. This woman is not the innocent victim she's being portrayed to be. There is a political agenda here.

    I don't know enough about the story to speak about the particulars but I wanted to point out that every single house that I have lived in that had a garage (I have had upwards of 25 addresses in my life) has had a lock on the garage door.
  • rml_16
    rml_16 Posts: 16,414 Member
    Options
    And this is important to this case:
    An argument ensued, and Alexander said she feared for her life when she went out to her vehicle and retrieved the gun she legally owned. She came back inside and ended up firing a shot into the wall, which ricocheted into the ceiling.

    Why didn't she just leave?

    Because the garage door was locked (specified in the Guardian quote) - she couldn't get out. Thanks for the info about gun laws, though - interesting information.
    Garage doors don't lock. You push a button and they open. Unless they have a garage door that's completely different from any garage door in any other home in the country. And even if it was locked, she was inside. How could she not unlock it??? There is usually the big door that opens for the cars and then a regular door that you can walk through. Unlocking it would be a matter of turning the lock -- less than a second and not exactly difficult.

    It says "she went back inside." So she was in the garage with a gun and he wasn't in the garage with her if she had to go back inside to shoot in his presence. She left the situation, got her gun and went back into the situation where she "feared for her life."

    My point is, regardless of the Guardian story (and let me tell you I was a reporter and the story you see is rarely the full story), she was convicted for a reason. It looks like she deserved the guilty verdict, even if the sentence was harsh.

    There is also a little blurb in the story I found stating she pled no contest to assaulting him a second time even AFTER all of this went down. She had a restraining order against him, yet continued returning to the situation.

    According to the article, she was at the house to retrieve some of her belongings and she expected he wouldn't be there. If you have a restraining order, you would be advised to not set foot on the property without a police escort, and especially not to remove any property without a police escort. This woman is not the innocent victim she's being portrayed to be. There is a political agenda here.

    I don't know enough about the story to speak about the particulars but I wanted to point out that every single house that I have lived in that had a garage (I have had upwards of 25 addresses in my life) has had a lock on the garage door.
    Hmm. I've never seen one.

    But even so, was it a lock that you couldn't unlock from the inside?
  • doorki
    doorki Posts: 2,611 Member
    Options
    And this is important to this case:
    An argument ensued, and Alexander said she feared for her life when she went out to her vehicle and retrieved the gun she legally owned. She came back inside and ended up firing a shot into the wall, which ricocheted into the ceiling.

    Why didn't she just leave?

    Because the garage door was locked (specified in the Guardian quote) - she couldn't get out. Thanks for the info about gun laws, though - interesting information.
    Garage doors don't lock. You push a button and they open. Unless they have a garage door that's completely different from any garage door in any other home in the country. And even if it was locked, she was inside. How could she not unlock it??? There is usually the big door that opens for the cars and then a regular door that you can walk through. Unlocking it would be a matter of turning the lock -- less than a second and not exactly difficult.

    It says "she went back inside." So she was in the garage with a gun and he wasn't in the garage with her if she had to go back inside to shoot in his presence. She left the situation, got her gun and went back into the situation where she "feared for her life."

    My point is, regardless of the Guardian story (and let me tell you I was a reporter and the story you see is rarely the full story), she was convicted for a reason. It looks like she deserved the guilty verdict, even if the sentence was harsh.

    There is also a little blurb in the story I found stating she pled no contest to assaulting him a second time even AFTER all of this went down. She had a restraining order against him, yet continued returning to the situation.

    According to the article, she was at the house to retrieve some of her belongings and she expected he wouldn't be there. If you have a restraining order, you would be advised to not set foot on the property without a police escort, and especially not to remove any property without a police escort. This woman is not the innocent victim she's being portrayed to be. There is a political agenda here.

    I don't know enough about the story to speak about the particulars but I wanted to point out that every single house that I have lived in that had a garage (I have had upwards of 25 addresses in my life) has had a lock on the garage door.
    Hmm. I've never seen one.

    But even so, was it a lock that you couldn't unlock from the inside?

    Depends, some can be difficult to unlock others consist of a key lock on the track. They are not meant to be day to day locks like front doors and such.