Re: Twenty years? Jesus Christ.
>>"A 14 year old is legally a child."
Agreed. Also agreed if you want to raise it that the law has been broken. However, I prefer not to use the law as my starting point for whether something is harmful or not. (See for example Ecstacy and Heroin being the same class of drugs.
>>She or he hasn't the adult judgement to know the seriousness of what they are doing
Well, often they don't. But sometimes they do. The law rightly errs on the side of caution but there's many a fourteen year old who is more sensible and informed than most sixteen year olds (the age of consent in most of Europe). The suggestion is that these two girls will be psychologically damaged. I think that's unlikely given they were willing participants. Further, your comment assumes that they don't know "the seriousness of what they are doing." But is sex really that serious a thing? It's a risk, but is it serious? The distinction is important because the point being argued is that they will be psychologically harmed by sexting, not that meeting up with a stranger (which we don't know if they ever even intended to do) is dangerous. What makes swapping flirty texts and images inherently "serious". Maybe they were serious - maybe he was leading them on thinking it was a serious romance. But equally possible they knew exactly what it was about which was sexy flirting. We don't know. Outside of the risks of meeting up or stalking - which weren't the case here - what is so serious about sexting that it means they'll suffer psychological harm?
Again, I think it's necessary to point out that I'm not advocating or condoning a man in his thirties flirting with a 14 or 17 year old girl. But I am arguing the notion that it's not traumatising to the younger party when they are a willing participant and there aren't significant accompanying factors that make it traumatising.
>>And no adult is EVER the victim of a child.
I think that's rather too black and white. This isn't paedophilia (pre-pubescents) in which case I would agree with you. It's ephebophilia (attraction to later adolescents). Or as a male friend of mine indelicately put it: "Ephebophilia is what you shouldn't do, paedophilia is what you shouldn't want." A girl of fourteen (and especially one of seventeen) may not be an adult, but they're not a child either, regardless of what the law says. They're, well, an adolescent. Which is to say an adult with bad judgement. It's not always the case that an adult and a teenager have significantly more power concentrated in the adult. And it's equally not the case that the adult is the more ethical. It is entirely possible for a teenager to make an adult their victim. Entrapment is possible. People are fallible and that fallibility (sexual attraction) can be exploited. It can be exploited by adults and it can be exploited by teenagers. I think this last statement of yours therefore, is very misguided. Sexual relations can be very complex things. Therefore statements that an adult can never be a victim of a teenager, are wrong.