Things are muddy and getting muddier in our society, and there are times when lines should be drawn in the sand and kept there. Here's one of them.
Earlier this week, TMZ not only reported on the alleged sexual relationship between a female adult, age 22, and a 14 year old boy - they posted his name and published his photograph.
What was the big draw for TMZ? The boy's father is a famous Academy-Award winning movie star, with an even-more-famous ex-wife (with her own Oscar, by the way).
What does TMZ's Harvey Levin say about this? According to AP, Levin's response is: "[t]he story speaks for itself."
Well, Mr. Levin - that's not passing muster - in fact, your response seems a tad smug to me. Shame on you.
Minor children need to be protected, and I for one, predict that TMZ (along with its owner, TimeWarner) gets sued by the parents of this boy, on his behalf. In fact, I would applaud the filing of such a lawsuit.
Why? It seems apparent that having to pay big bucks seems extremely appropriate here as a way of communicating that it's just plain wrong to reveal the names of minor children who have been victims of sex crimes. This is the very essence of allowing punitive damages in our judicial system, by the way.
While things are pretty murky in our country these days, there are still some bright lines on what we'll tolerate - and what we won't. Protecting children seems a no-brainer, even if there's a celebrity factor and even if it's a teenage boy - presumably a 9th grader - who may think it's cool to have a 22-year-old girlfriend.
How long will this boy be used before someone stands up for him?