Patricia Dye, the 31-year-old woman who pretended to be a a teenage boy named Matt to lure other girls, is confounding prosecutors in Ohio: They can’t find a felony rape charge to stick to her.
Facing only misdemeanor charges, including contributing to the delinquency of a child (one victim ran away from home to be with Dye), Dye could spend nine months in a county jail at most; no prison time is possible. She’s plead not guilty. And yet she stands accused of engaging in sexual relationships with at least three teenage girls, with one crucial factor being whether any of the girls were under age 16, and thus lacking informed consent when the activity took place. Unlawful sexual conduct of a minor, which is a felony, applies only to victims under age 16.
But while felony rape charges exist for adult men who go after women, nothing is on the books for women who target women, says Matt Nolan, a prosecutor’s office spokesman, who notes that “prosecutors also were stifled by the absence of Ohio law making it a crime to pretend to be a different gender to pursue sexual relationships,” reports the Dayton Daily News.
And that’s actually the most harrowing part of this: Prosecutors want it to be a crime for someone to misrepresent their gender?
Tracey Steele, director of Wright State University’s Criminal Justice program, says Ohio law already addresses adult male pedophiles who pose as young boys or girls online. But it’s quite problematic if we’re looking at somebody endorsing a law that would make it a crime to not be forthright about one’s gender. It would open yet another legal blackhole for trans people, who could be accused of lying by “victims” for “pretending” to be something other than their biological sex.