Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Protesting Girl’s Mom Charged with “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor”.

I first came across this story from
Protesting Girl’s Mom Charged with “Contributing to the Delinquency of a Minor”.

On April 7, 12 year old Frankie Hughes and her mother, Renee Lynn Espeland accompanied Christine Gaunt on Gaunt's third sit-in protest at the federal building where Sen. Harkin and Sen. Grassley of Iowa have their offices.

The three are part of the Peaceable Assembly Campaign which seeks an end to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, and end the Israeli "occupation" of, so-called, Palestinian land.

After the Senators' offices had closed for the day, police were called in when Gaunt refused to leave. Although she claims not to have encouraged her daughter, Espeland allowed the 12 year old to stay behind in the office where Gaunt and Hughes were subsequently arrested for trespassing.

The following day, Espeland was ticketed by Des Moines police for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Police say Espeland "knowingly encouraged and contributed to her daughter's arrest."

According to reports in the Des Moines Register, Police Sgt. David Murillo said: "I understand and fully appreciate a person's constitutional right to free speech. However, this was a case of bringing a child into a criminal arena."

I believe the arrest of the 12 year old and the ticketing of the mother was entirely appropriate under the circumstances.

Of course, we have freedom of speech and the freedom to lawfully assemble and protest the actions of our government officials, but we do not, however, have the right to trespass in a Senator's office after hours.
Had the arrest occurred on the sidewalk outside the office, I'd agree that the situation was uncalled for. Protesting - whether the protest is against abortion or the war in Afghanistan - is admirable, but there are limits. We can not take over government offices in protest.

Would the Progressive be as sympathetic towards the 12 year protester had she been staging a "sit-in" in the Senator's office to end abortion ?

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