The villain of The Labyrinth, played by David Bowie, is one of the most charming bad guys in any fantasy film -that despite the fact that he kidnaps a baby in strange attempt to seduce a 15 year old. But while being charismatic is a great thing, it’s not enough to change the fact that Jareth committed some pretty serious crimes. Here’s what the Goblin King could be charged with if he were arrested for his crimes, courtesy of La Jolla criminal defense lawyer Peter M. Liss.
Both the most obvious and most difficult to defend crime Jareth committed would be kidnapping baby Toby. While he defends his actions in the film by claiming that he only did what Sarah wanted, you can’t suddenly abduct a child simply because its sibling asks you to. Under California law, kidnapping charges can only apply when the victim was (1) taken a substantial distance (2) against his or her will (3) through the use of force or fear -or fraud in the case of a child under 14. Transporting the child to another realm would certainly qualify as a substantial distance and since the child was too young to consent and his parents did not consent to Jareth’s actions, that would meet the second requirement. Finally, the Goblin King certainly used force to abduct the child -even if it was only the minimal force required to carry a baby out of its own room. Additionally, because the victim was so young, it would almost certainly be charged as aggravated kidnapping and because he took the baby not just out of the state, but out of our world entirely, it would also become a federal crime. If Jareth wanted any chance of fighting the kidnapping charge, he would need the help of a top Solana Beach federal crimes attorney.
It’s Jareth’s actions when dealing with 15 year-old Sarah that are more legally challenging. The Goblin King claims he stole Sarah’s brother because he is willing to do anything she wants, but he won’t return the boy and instead tells her that if she wants him back, she will have to solve his labyrinth. If Sarah was just one year younger, this could arguably make Jareth guilty of kidnapping as he is using fraud to get her to follow him into his realm despite her not wanting to do so. But California only considers the use of fraud a valid way to kidnap someone 14 or under, so this charge wouldn’t apply.
Instead, it could be possible for prosecutors to charge the Goblin King with soliciting a minor for sex although this would be a difficult case to prove. This law is largely used to convict people who use the internet to set up meetings with minors that they hope to build a sexual relationship with, but given that Jareth ultimately was using the baby as a lure to get Sarah to enter his world, where he hoped to seduce her, it is possible it could be used against him. Unlike most other sex crimes involving children, soliciting a minor for sex does not require that the victim and defendant ever actually touch at all. Instead, it requires the suspect to arrange to meet with a minor “motivated by an unnatural or abnormal sexual interest in children,” for the purpose of “exposing your genitals or rectal area, having the child expose his or her genitals or rectal area, or engaging in lewd or lascivious behavior.”
It’s fairly obvious that Jareth has an unnatural sexual interest in Sarah, which is why he kidnapped her brother and then forced her to solve a nearly impossible labyrinth solely to get the child back. Along the way, the Goblin King gives the girl a magical poisoned peach that shows her visions of the two of them dancing in a beautiful fantasy setting while he serenades her with song -this is not something someone would do unless they were trying to seduce the other party.
That being said, trying to prove that Jareth was acting in order to either see Sarah’s genitals, have her see his genitals or to engage in lewd or lascivious behavior would be a lot harder to prove and with a good Mira Mesa child molestation defense lawyer at his side, he would most likely be acquitted of these charges. Even with lines like, “Just fear me, love me, do as I say… And I will be your slave,” there is no evidence that the Goblin King intended to perform any inappropriate sexual acts with Sarah in the near future. It’s entirely possible that he was hoping to make her his bride at some point and even was willing to wait until she turned 18 or at least the legal age limit for marriage in his kingdom.
With his charismatic personality there to charm the jurors and the judge, it is very unlikely he would be convicted for soliciting sex with a minor, but even with that going for him, he would have a hard time fighting kidnapping charges. That’s why it is always critical that everyone accused of a serious crime like kidnapping or soliciting a minor for sex immediately contact a top Carmel Valley sex crime defense attorney like Peter Liss.
If you have been charged with any crime please call (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024 to schedule a free initial consultation.
Creative Commons Image by Richie S