Remember a song from the '70s by Ray Stephens called "The Streak"? It was a humorous, musical tribute to a fad that had become popular mostly on college campuses but occasionally showed up in other places.
I suppose there were some sort of charges brought against those young men who chose to discard their clothing and dash across football fields or through farmers' markets--at least the ones they could catch. It would have had something to do with public nuisance or public indecency and would have involved a fine and possibly a few days in jail. The boys involved would undoubtedly have faced more grief once they got home than they did at the police station.
Had we been told then that in a few decades, young men who engaged in such behavior would have been charged with a criminal act, a sexual crime, and would have been forced to be listed as a sexual criminal on something called a sex offense registry, we would have laughed in disbelief.
This is what happened to a young man, only 15, really still a child, named Christian Adamek. Christian lived in Huntsville, Alabama, and was apparently a popular and well-loved boy with many, many friends in his high school. Scarcely two weeks ago, the last week in September, during a Sparkman High School football game, Christian streaked across the field.
Christian faced immediate and serious consequences. He would be subject to school disciplinary action, something that would be expected. It may have included expulsion. However, school authorities decided that this was not sufficient.
Principal Michael Cambell said, "There's the legal complications. Public lewdness and court consequences outside of school with the legal system, as well as the school consequences that the school system has set up."
Indecent exposure in Alabama, as it is in many, probably most, of our states, is linked to the state's sex offender laws, meaning that had he been convicted of that offense, he would be required to be on the sex offender registry.
One week later, on October 2, Christian hanged himself. He died two days later. His mother, his brother and sister, his boy scout troop, and his many friends, teachers, and neighbors all mourn his death.
I did not know him, but I am choked with fury and grief and despair at his death. My heart actually hurts.
If his high school administrators had any choice, as it appears they did, in turning this over to legal authorities, then damn them. And most of all damn a system that equates a silly, stupid, schoolboy stunt with an actual sexual crime. Damn a system that grows stronger and stronger by touting claims that it is all about protecting children when what it does is destroy children.
How many more children will be destroyed, sacrificed on the alter of the sex offender registry, before we decide we have had enough?
God keep you in His care, Christian, and may He give comfort to your family and friends. Rest in peace, Christian, rest in peace.