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Bob Levey: Good afternoon, everybody, and welcome to this special edition of "Levey Live: Speaking Freely." For the next hour, we'll be taking your questions about -- and only about -- my April 25 column, which reported on the sex video controversy at St. Paul's School near Baltimore. A link to that column appears at the top of today's discussion.To say the least, it touched off a ton of response -- more than 400 e-mails so far, and enough phone calls to keep Verizon stock afloat for the next month. Without further ado, let's get to your questions.....Washington, D.C.: Bob,So where were the parents when this was going on? Growing up, my mother was home pretty soon after I got back from school. Lord knows I wouldn't have tried anything like that knowing she was right downstairs.And whatever made the kid decide that he was going to videotape it? Geez, when I was 16 that thought wouldn't have even crossed my mind!Bob Levey: No parents were anywhere to be be seen or found when the video was played. As for what went through the mind of the 16-year-old, I can only speculate. But I would bet it was an attempt to be cool in front of his peers, and to be one of the boys.Alexandria, Va.: I was a high school athlete, and so I can understand what a blow it was for the St. Paul boys to have their season cancelled. That said, I also admire the St. Paul's administration for taking the action they did. People are too inclined that let serious actions slide. I'm glad to see that these boys have to face real consequences for their actions. They will be better men for it.I do agree with your son, Bob, that 99.9 percent of boys wouldn't have left the room or reported what went on. However, that doesn't make what they did right. It was a serious matter, and St. Paul's took it seriously.Bob Levey: As I said at the top of today's show, I've spent the better part of the last two days reading reactions to the St. Paul's controversy. Only a handful of readers think the principal was wrong to expel the filmmaker. But the readership is split pretty close to down the middle about whether the lacrosse season should have been cancelled.Many readers say that a school has no business trying to regulate what goes on after school shuts down for the day. Others point out that this was a gathering of a school team -- which surely makes it a school event, where the school's honor code applied. I'm firmly in the second camp.A Comment: I really wish I could smash these pigs in their faces and teach them a lesson. The ones who watched and said nothing are more to blame than the one who made the video. The reason they said nothing is because they knew it was wrong and didn't want to get in trouble (cowards). At least the pig who made the video got the punishment he deserves, which was being expelled. The thing I worry about is that they will brush it off as no big deal when it is a VERY big deal. Is this something else the schools have to teach -- basic respect for one another? Whatever happened to "do unto others"? Young women are not toys to be played with, for God's sake and the world does not revolve around these jackasses. Thank you.Bob Levey: It's a very, very big deal, as you say, and for the reason you say.As the father of a daughter, it amazes and frightens me to see how young boys can dehumanize a woman, and think very little of it. There's about a mile of real estate between joking about "chicks" (which we did all the time when I was a high-school athlete) and watching (or making!) a videotape like this one. Alexandria, Va.: Bob,I went to a private school in Baltimore (not St. Paul's) 25 years ago. My impression that the private school community in the Baltimore area hasn't changed very much; it has only grown a bit over the years. The videotape incident doesn't surprise me. Things like this went on in the Baltimore suburbs 25 years ago. Jocks would "score" at parties, during study hall and the like, and then recount their exploits in vivid detail in the locker room, often with the coach's tacit acceptance. The only difference today is that we didn't have video cameras readily available. When you put a group of extremely affluent high school students in an unsupervised environment and then add jock entitlement in for some flavoring situations like this are not surprising. Adolescents don't make very good judgement calls when surrounded by their peers. Affluent adolescents, when given the the enhanced freedom that wealth can buy, can make very dramatic stupid decisions. Needless to say, I am not going to my 25th reunion next weekend. The incident at St. Paul's tells me that the climate that made me uncomfortable as a teenager still persists. Bob Levey: But those bragging orgies of 25 years ago were often embellished, or outright false. A video is a documentary record. So I don't see much comparison between the two.I'm not saying that actual sex didn't happen between teenagers 25 years ago. Of course it did. But humiliating a 15-year-old girl for all to see? That would have been less likely to have happened 25 years ago, I think, even if video cameras DID exist then. Herndon, Va.: Mr. L: This was not a "boys will be boys," but, let's face it, if one member of a group of male teens shows up with a porno film/tape, whatever, unless at least one person takes a stand against it -- everyone is going to watch. As far as the punishment -- I'd say it's fair. For those who worry about lost scholarships -- best to learn fairly early in life that bad decisions have bad consequences. Better to worry about the poor girl and what she faces. The boy who taped the encounter -- expel him from school at the least, and some kind of legal action should be taken by the juvenile justice system.Bob Levey: Yes, thanks for raising the point about the girl's future. That is central to this discussion.The punishments against the boys have been laid down, and the suspensions have been served. For them, in some way, the case is over.But the girl will pay a price for years, maybe forever. Can she ever trust a man again? Will she ever have a healthy attitude toward sex again? Not even years of psychotherapy could assure yesses to those questions.Georgia: I think the school did the right thing. Every time I turn around, I'm being told that "the only place kids learn morals is in the school." While I don't believe that teachers should take full responsibility for a person to grow up well, I believe that there are far too many instances that prove that these kids aren't getting character education at home. You've got to draw some lines somewhere -- and I think the school did a fine job drawing them.This is all in addition to the fact that this girl was hurt in the process, just for the fact that she didn't know she was being taped.Even though "Boys will be Boys," they have to know that their bad actions will have consequences. I hope they have learned that from this.Bob Levey: I hope they learned from it, too. I can assure you that the rest of the world has. Coaches of boys' high school teams all over the country are meeting with their players to warn them about such behavior. So a lesson is being taught. Is it being learned? I hope so, although I do think many teenage boys would say that the biggest thing wrong with the St. Paul's story is that the kids got caught. Mt. Rainier, Md.: I guess my opinion is going to be very redundant, but for my two cents: The boy who had sex with a 15-year-old girl and videotaped it is a nasty bit of work, and at minimum should be bounced out of school. What he did was probably illegal and should be giving his parents all sorts of red flags. The 15-year-old needs counseling though she's probably figured out by experience that having sex is potentially dangerous. The teammates? Canceling the whole lacrosse season was probably more drastic than necessary, yet they are certainly of an age to find out there are real consequences for their behavior and that there are moral implications in tolerating ugly behavior. I might have just gone for canceling a few games, which would have been painful enough since they were high in the standings. But I like the school's priorities for sure. Bob Levey: Thanks for weighing in. I'd be very interested to know whether the 15-year-old girl has figured out that sex is "potentially dangerous." In one way, she must have known that already. In another way, that might have contributed to its allure. But for sure, she has now learned that sex is dynamite, and not just because of the possibility of pregnancy and STDs.Laurel, Md.: I think I'm going to have to disagree with you, Bob. Just because the lacrosse team got together after school doesn't necessarily make it a school event. Could just be that the team is a tight-knit circle of friends that got together after school to view this video.I think I'd also like to add that this certainly shoots down the notion that going to a private school makes for more moral students. Bob Levey: One more factor to throw into the mix: the lacrosse team gathered on the night that the video was shown because they thought they were going to watch film of an upcoming opponent. Doesn't that make the get-together a team meeting, in effect? I think it clearly does.Somerville, Mass.: I don't think I've seen the answer to this critical question: Did the players know that the girl wasn't a willing participant in the recording? The severity of the earned discipline strongly depends on the answer.On an unrelated note, is the sex act itself considered statutory rape in this case? I always thought 18-year-olds could only legally have sex with persons aged 17 and above. If so, this kid should be heading for jail.Bob Levey: They were made aware very early on the night of the showing that the girl had been filmed without her knowledge.The filmmaker isn't heading for jail because the Baltimore County state's attorney, Sandra A. O'Connor, has declined to bring charges. She said a trial could further traumatize the victim. Reston, Va., 20190: Bob,What did the parents of the boy who made the tape, and the ones who watched it, think of, and do about, the actions of their sons? What would you do?Doesn't taping sex acts involving minors violate several state and federal laws? What, if anything, are the police doing about it?Bob Levey: Not clear what action(s) the parents of the film-viewers have taken. The publicity lid has been clamped on this case very tightly. No one involved is saying a thing, and most have said nothing at any point since the story broke a month ago.If it were my son, he'd be "grounded" for a very long time, he'd be placed in counseling and he'd be attending a new school -- all at approximately the speed of light.Silver Spring, Md., 40+ Female: Bob:I can't believe that the parents of the lacrosse students haven't fomented a revolution about the forfeited season, demanding that it be reinstated. My experience with parents these days is that they foam at the mouth with outrage if someone dares even look cross-eyed (as my mother used to say) at their little darlings, They Who Must Be Obeyed.Condign punishment seems to have fallen out of favor these days. Saying you're sorry appears to be enough. Not this time.The boys in question got what they deserved. They need to suffer for what they did, and a forfeited season will probably hurt them most. Why is it that the "boys will be boys" excuse always hurts girls?However, no amount of forfeiting and expulsions will help the poor girl. I hope she's getting counseling (paid for by the perpetrators and their parents) and any other help she might need.Bob Levey: I, too, hope that the girl is getting counseling. But there's been no announcement about who might pay for counseling for her, and I haven't been able to unearth an answer on my own. For that reason, among many others, I wish the case had gone to trial, because I suspect a judge might have ordered precisely this (among other things).Laurel, Md.: I guess I didn't realize that the team thought they were watching film of an opponent -- I don't think you mentioned that in your column. In that case, you are definitely right.One question: Could it be possible that the lacrosse season was cancelled because everyone was suspended and there was no one to field a team? Or was this cancellation supposed to add to the punishment? Bob Levey: No, they could have come up with enough warm, male bodies to have fielded a team. The idea was to send a message that St. Paul's would not kowtow to its jock image or history -- that jocks wouldn't get special, coddling treatment. To that extent, I think this is a terrific message. Look what happens to jocks elsewhere in our culture. They steal from the college bookstore and the coach makes the charges go away. They utter bigoted stupidities about Jews and no one on the team gets upset. Three of them rape a fellow Naval Academy midshipman and the civilian prosecutor allows them to escape all criminal charges. Jocks are not above the law!Chicago, Ill.: Why am I not surprised that this incident involved the lacrosse team? When I went to Georgetown, this would really only have been done by someone on the lacrosse team.Bob Levey: Aw, come on. Footballers could have done this, too, easily, don't you think?Winston-Salem, N.C.: Is this state's attorney (Sandra A. O'Connor) the same one that let the boys from Annapolis off the hook for their "rape" crime earlier in the year?Bob Levey: No, that episode took place in Anne Arundel County, where a different prosecutor sits.Bowie, Md.: More facts, please.What specific school rules were the filmmaker and viewers punished for? Does the school have specific rules against any of this, or was it a sort of catch-all honor code, moral turpitude violation?If the latter, I wonder what would/could have happened if the school was PUBLIC, not private one. If the persons involved had been adults, would watching the tape have been illegal?Bob Levey: The school's honor code says students will always strive to do "the hard right rather than the easy wrong." That's the language that covers this case. The headmaster said the boys violated this language because they didn't come forward and admit what they had done, didn't avoid watching the tape and didn't stop the tape.I can only guess what might have happened at a public school. Most don't have "hard right, easy wrong" language. And public school principals don't have nearly as much freedom or power as private school principals. I suspect the punishment would have been lighter.I'm no lawyer, but I don't think watching the tape is illegal for either an adult or a child. MAKING the tape is another story. Vienna, Va.: Bob, Sounds like the same freak incident in the movie "Carrie 2" -- only the girl got mad and killed and fried everybody. Heard anything about how the girl is dealing with being a victim?Bob Levey: No, I haven't. The rumor mill says the girl's family was thinking of moving to Florida, anyway. May they do so as fast as possible. By the way, the girl did not attend St. Paul's. It's all-boys after the fifth grade.Alexandria, Va.: My $0.02: The self-made porn star deserved to be expelled. I hope the girl's parents will take advantage of whatever legal recourse is available.The rest of the viewers deserved to be taught a lesson, but cancelling the season was probably a bit harsh. There could have been non-Lax players among the audience for all anyone knows.Question: If the team had merely known the tape existed, but never saw it, would they have been as "wrong" not to notify anyone?Bob Levey: But if the headmaster had cancelled only a couple of games, and ordered the boys to rake leaves on campus for three Saturdays, he would have been bombarded with this question:Aren't you going light on these boys just because they're lacrosse players? Ballston, Va.: Bob -- I missed out on -how- the school administrators found out about the incident? And, isn't playing an organized sport also about building "character?" Ironic, to say the least.Bob Levey: Word about the tape leaked to rival prep-school coaches, who told the St. Paul's coach, who brought it to the attention of the headmaster.By the way, the lacrosse coach (Mitch Whitely) deserves a tremendous pat on the back. He knew that the headmaster might crush his season, yet he told him about the episode, anyway. Yes, I know that it was the right thing to do, and that should have been the only consideration. But many coaches would have thought of themselves and their lacrosse seasons first, and about the moral issues second. Was the In-Crowd: I'm still interested why they very notion of "popular" is still being supported on the backs of the tormented. It must be some strong human nature for a group to raise selected members to exalted status and willingly accept abuse. So much for being an evolved species.Bob Levey: In an effort to be "popular," this filmmaker humiliated a girl in a huge way and brought down the house on himself and his pals. How very insecure this kid must have been -- how desperate for the approval of his peers.Fairfax, Va.: I think that the boy who made the tape should be expelled, and I hope it is used against him in the statutory rape case her parents should be filing! The boys who watched received suspensions for failing to bring the activity to light, but to cancel the whole season I think goes too far.The boys should have had to forfeit all games during the suspensions, but they should have been allowed to continue the season, unless the school has a policy about suspended players returning to sports teams.To link the lacrosse season to this event is wrong. This was not a team activity, and I'm sure that not EVERY member of the team was present, only a group of players who are friends. For the record, I am a 30-year-old product of a mostly-male military school in Front Royal, Va.Bob Levey: A statutory rape case would go nowhere. The girl clearly consented to sex.As for whether or not this was a team activity, refer to earlier Qs and As. This was a team meeting, where lacrosse film was the entire agenda. How does that not make it a "team activity?" Baltimore, Md.: Did anyone see some of the quotes from the parents of these boys? Very typical of these outer suburban, overly-moneyed boomer brats. "I can't believe they cancelled the season! My boy didn't make the film!" No wonder the kids think they're untouchable. I played high-school prep lax, and a lot of the parents of other players were good folks. But many more than you would think are these kind of self-absorbed (and often sexist and racist) brats. And people think our problems are in the inner city.Bob Levey: Many parents confuse defending their kids with raising their kids in the right way. Ask any teacher what I'm talking about. If she gives Johnny a B-minus on an English paper, some parents want her head -- when the point is that Johnny ain't doing the work!Silver Spring, Md.: Bob, my mouth dropped open when I read your column. Where did that boy get the idea to do something so terrible? Had he been in trouble before in any way? Didn't any of the boys get up and walk out of the showing or condemn the video? Bob Levey: No sign of this boy having done anything like this before. None of the boys got up and walked out, or c