Monday, January 23, 2006

Why She Had Sex With A 13-Year-Old Boy?

NEW ZEALAND - Briar Dravitski last week became the first woman sentenced for sex with an underage boy under new laws which treat male and female offenders equally. Today she tells Irene Chapple the teen came on to her, and that she wasn't the first woman he had had sex with.

Solo mother Briar Dravitski - who last week escaped jail for having sex with a 13-year-old boy - says the teen came on to her when she was drunk and "I wasn't his first".

Dravitski, 23, the first woman sentenced under new laws which mean men and women are treated equally as sex offenders, was ordered to do 240 hours' community service when she appeared in a New Plymouth court on charges of committing two indecent acts with an underage boy. In an exclusive interview with the Sunday Star-Times, Dravitski revealed she was terrified she would be jailed for the two nights of drunken sex last September. She believed she avoided prison because of her mental illnesses, not because she is female, and said gender should be irrelevant in sex crimes.

She said the boy - who cannot be named for legal reasons - was her first sexual partner since a recent break-up with her partner, although police say that is contrary to information they have.

Dravitski, who said she spent six years of her childhood in social welfare care and has clinical depression, borderline personality and obsessive compulsive disorders, met the boy at the house of a close friend.

She felt sorry for him "because he told he'd been bashed up by his stepdad. They were sleeping in a car".

She invited him to stay at her house and that night, with two other teenage boys, they drank beer and cask wine and ate sausages, chips and biscuits. They listened to Dravitski's favourite singer, Mariah Carey, and looked at pictures of her son, now aged two.

At about 11pm the stereo and TV were still blaring but Dravitski, drunk and tired, went to bed. The boy also crashed in her bed.

Dravitski's defence was she believed the boy was 17, but constable Bruce McIntosh, of New Plymouth police, said there was "absolutely no way" he looked that old.

"He was a kid who only turned 13 three days prior. He's a small, skinny kid, just like an average sized 13-year-old child." He said police had statements from witnesses who said Dravitski had said she had "wished he was older".

Dravitski said the night they had sex "I was pretty pissed but he just started making advances on me. I didn't think there was anything wrong with it because he was of age... I had just split up (from my husband) and was hoping to get back with him. I was pretty much at the bottom."

But the next night she and the boy had sex again. At about 10pm they were interrupted by the boy's mother, who had been searching for him since he left his family home two nights earlier.

Dravitski said the mother yelled at her, asking if she knew how old he was and saying he was a runaway. Dravitski replied she thought he was 17 and had been kicked out of home.

Dravitski - dressed in a top and boob tube - and the mother started pushing each other while the boy, still half naked, fled the room. Dravitski eventually pinned the mother down in the wardrobe but by then "I was crying. She gave me a hug and said, 'it's all right'."

The police, called in earlier to find the boy, arrested Dravitski around 11pm. She has not seen the boy since.

"The next day I went into the (psychiatric) ward, and I just basically lost it."

She says her depression has previously driven her to thoughts of suicide.

The hospital staff put Dravitski, into psychiatric care for five weeks. In the past six months she has been hospitalised three times, once in a unit for high-risk patients. Her son, staying with his grandmother, visited every day.

The night before she was sentenced Dravitski packed her bag for jail, kissed her son goodbye and waited to be told how long she'd be imprisoned. Judge Robert Murfitt described the incident as "an exploitative act" but said community work would be more appropriate than jail.

Dravitski said she felt nothing but relief. She is sorry the incident ended up in court but doubts the boy will suffer long-term consequences. "I wasn't his first."

Dravitski also faces a charge of assault on a woman and one of wilful damage after an incident when she went to collect belongings from her ex-husband's house.

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