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20 J.L. & Pol'y 63 (2011-2012)
A Bee Line in the Wrong Direction: Science, Teenagers, and the Sting to the Age of Consent

handle is hein.journals/jlawp20 and id is 67 raw text is: A BEE LINE IN THE WRONG DIRECTION:
Jennifer Ann Drobac*
Most New Yorkers may not know that a 1933 New York
case and its precedential line effectively erase the age of
consent for New York civil cases. In that case, Barton v. Bee
Line, Inc., the New York Supreme Court held that fifteen-year-
old Grace Barton, who allegedly consented to sex with a male
bus driver, could not recover in a civil case for damages brought
by Frank Barton, her guardian ad litem.' The court arrived at
this conclusion even though New York had outlawed sex with a
female under eighteen years old and barred all minors from
bringing direct suits. The jury had found for Grace in the
amount of $3,000 (about $50,500 today).2 However, [t]he court
* Visiting Scholar, UC Berkeley Law-Center for the Study of Law &
Society and Professor of Law, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney
School of Law. I thank Professors Lois Weithorn and R. George Wright,
Martin Drobac, Esq., Dr. Todd Preuss, and Michal McDowell who reviewed
and commented upon early drafts of this Article or draft materials used
herein. I also thank Miriam Murphy, Associate Director, Ruth Lilly Law
Library, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law.
' Barton v. Bee Line, Inc., 265 N.Y.S. 284, 284-86 (App. Div. 1933).
This case is a classic he said, she said case. Grace Barton claimed forcible
rape and the driver claimed that she consented to sex. This Article
acknowledges the continuing problematic nature of credibility determinations
in alleged rape cases and the bias against complaining women who sue for
civil damages. I will address this particular bias more directly in another
article. See Jennifer Ann Drobac, Abandoning Teenage Consent for Legal
Assent: Harmonizing Developmental Sciences and the Law (unpublished
manuscript) (on file with author).
2 Samuel H. Williamson, Seven Ways to Compute the Relative Value of a
U.S. Dollar Amount, 1774 to Present, MEASURING WORTH, http://www.
measuringworth.com/uscompare/ (enter 1933 as the initial year, 3000 as the


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