Man Who Doesn’t Understand Consent Has ‘Fundamental Right to Sex’, Court Rules
By Victoria Friedman
Oct 4, 2019 - 3:29:53 AM
A mentally disabled man who does not understand consent and who presents a "moderate risk" of sexually assaulting women has a "fundamental right to sex", a court has ruled.
A 36-year-old man identified as JB has autism and impaired cognition and lives in a supported residential home. Since 2014, the local authority subjected him to a care plan which limits his freedoms due to his behaviour towards women and his lack of understanding of a woman's right to consent.
However, the man has won his case to have the care plan lifted. A Court of Protection judge ruling that despite the dangers he poses to women, he has a "fundamental right to sex", reports The Guardian on Thursday.
Mrs Justice Roberts said that insisting he understand consent before embarking on a sexual relationship was tantamount to discrimination because it would "impose on him a burden which a capacitous individual may not share".
The judge said the man "has already made it abundantly clear that he wishes his experience of life to include sexual relations and the ability to find a partner".
‘He is anxious to have a sexual partner and believes that the current restrictions represent an unfair and unwarranted interference in his basic rights to a private and family life," she added.
The judge acknowledged that as a result of her ruling the man might be exposed "to the risk of criminal prosecution" if he attempts intercourse with women against their will. But she said every person "is entitled to make the same mistakes which all human beings can, and do, make in the course of a lifetime".
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A clinical psychologist had earlier submitted a report saying the 36-year-old presented a "moderate risk" of committing a sexual offence against a woman.
The local authority had said in comments reported by the Metro that the man had been put on the care plan after he had been "behaving in a sexually inappropriate manner towards women".
The psychologist had noted that "this is most likely to take the form of sexual harassment through the form of repeated, unwanted sexually explicit messages". It was also revealed during the hearings that he had "limited social boundaries around women". This extended "particularly those who are vulnerable but also women in pubs or clubs whom he has approached whilst dancing".
The local authority warned that if unrestrained, the man might pose a "risk to potentially vulnerable females".
The authority is expected to appeal against the decision.
This is not the first time British institutions have made decisions with potentially dangerous consequences when managing the care of people with diminished responsibility.
Last year, The Times revealed that a court had authorised an autistic 23-year-old woman with an IQ of 52 to be "pimped out" for sex as part of a "learning experience". The woman was allowed to have sex with numerous male strangers because her carers thought that if she engaged in high-risk encounters, she might "learn from her mistakes".
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