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Bad Dads We Love: Chastity Cop

September 28th, 2010  |  by  |  Published in Bad Dads We Love

Actually, no love for this father. A San Jose police officer finds out his 14-year-old daughter was banging some skinny little slip of a 15-year-old boy, and decides to scare the young man by coming to his home in full uniform, handcuffing him and talking ominously about filing an “informational report” to the sexual assault investigator so they might “file charges … for having sex with a minor.”

That was the story as it went around the media last week. But there are more layers of outrage within this stinking onion of a story. For one, after the boy’s parents went to the police department internal investigators with the video below of the arrest (and who is “stupid” now, officer, letting yourself be filmed doing this?), both the teenage boy and the daughter were cited for having underage sex. This is disturbingly common behavior, essentially pursuing charges against people who bring a legitimate complaint about police misbehavior (no word on what will happen with the cop himself). But it’s also sublimely ridiculous, treating teen hormones as a matter of law, criminalizing consensual sex between reproductively mature humans. I know teens aren’t perhaps emotionally ready to handle sex. But they do get laid, and no amount of legal bullying is going to change that. Teenagers in freaking Iran have sex, uncowed by much harsher laws than even this cop is ready to contemplate.

The other thing that struck me is how this cop, in bullying the boy, shows himself to be a bully of a father as well. He talks about his daughter in this way:

“Are you aware that that girl isn’t even old enough to remember how to take care of herself when she has her woman thing every month? She has to be reminded to take a fricking shower a couple times a week. But she just wouldn’t do it. And there you are. You make me sick. Both of you guys.”

Leave aside the Archie Bunkerism about her “woman thing” (which was, funnily enough, falsely transcribed in the video below). These are deeply uncharitable and unkind words, and his efforts to basically try to gross out his daughter’s boyfriend strikes me as a fundamental betrayal of his daughter’s privacy and personhood. Though this must be the default stance of any father who still treats his teenage daughter’s body as if it were family property, a costly Persian rug that this boy has defiled with his fluids.

The arrival of this particular bad dad on my laptop screen reminds me of a passage from Michael Chabon’s lovely Manhood for Amateurs (thanks for the book, Gil!), in which Chabon finds this gripe against the God of the Old Testament:

In His infinite capacity to engineer and experience disappointment, in His arbitrary and capricious cruelty, and in the evident pleasure He derives from the exercise thereof, there is probably a sharp insight into the nature of fathers generally, since at one time or another, if not on a daily basis, each of us fathers is the biggest asshole in the world.

I unabashedly include myself in this group of occasional assholes, though I will venture to say this cop is closer to the “on a daily basis” kind of asshole. Video below:


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