This article was originally published in the July 11, 1977 issue of Time Magazine, which can be viewed online here
Chicago. Johnny, 16, who had a long record of arrests for disorderly conduct, simple battery and aggravated assault, lured a motorist into an alley. He drew a .22-cal. pistol and shot the driver six times, killing him. Johnny was arrested yet again, but he was released because witnesses failed to show up in court. Today he is free.
New Orleans. Steven, 17, was first arrested for burglary when he was eleven and diagnosed as psychotic. But he kept escaping from the state hospital and was seized for 22 different crimes, including theft and attempted murder. Just four days after he was charged with robbery and attempted murder, he was arrested for raping and murdering a young nurse.
Hartford. Touché, 19, who earned his nickname by his dexterity with a switchblade, has been in trouble since he was eleven; he started fires, snatched pocketbooks, stole cars, burglarized homes, slashed and shot people. When a pal was locked up in Connecticut’s Meriden Home for Boys, Touché broke in with a gun and freed him. Touché was placed in a specially built cell in Meriden because he had escaped from the institution 17 times.
Wilmington. Eric, 16, who had escaped conviction for a previous mugging charge, pleaded guilty to knocking down an 86-year-old woman and stealing her purse. Three months later, the woman is still hospitalized and is not expected to walk again. Eric was released into the custody of his father. Since then, he has been charged with three burglaries. Says Detective James Strawbridge: “He’s going to kill somebody some day. and he’s still out there.”
Houston. Lawrence was 15 when he was charged with murdering two brothers in his neighborhood: Kenneth Elliott, 11, and Ronald Elliott, 12. Lawrence tied up Kenneth, castrated him and stabbed him twice in the heart. Then he cut off the boy’s head, which he left about 50 feet from the body. He also admitted killing Ronald, whose body was never found, in similar fashion. Like all other offenders in juvenile facilities in Texas, Lawrence was released from prison when he turned 18.
People have always accused kids of getting away with murder. Now that is all too literally true. Across the U.S., a pattern of crime has emerged that is both perplexing and appalling. Many youngsters appear to be robbing and raping, maiming and murdering as casually as they go to a movie or join a pickup baseball game. A new, remorseless, mutant juvenile seems to have been born, and there is no more terrifying figure in America today.
More than half of all serious crimes* in the U.S. are committed by youths aged ten to 17. Since 1960, juvenile crime has risen twice as fast as that of adults. In San Francisco, kids of 17 and under are arrested for 57% of all felonies against people (homicide, assault, etc.) and 66% of all crimes against property. Last year in Chicago, one-third of all murders were committed by people aged 20 or younger, a 29% jump over 1975. In Detroit, youths commit so much crime that city officials were forced to impose a 10 p.m. curfew last year for anyone 16 or under.
Though offenders come from every ethnic group and environment, most are nonwhite kids whose resentments are honed and hardened in the slums. Usually they are victims themselves, abused or abandoned by parents who tend to have a history of crime, chronic alcoholism or emotional disturbances. About half of the violent juvenile crime is committed by black youths, and a large but indeterminate amount by Hispanics. Especially in ghettos of big cities, the violent youth is the king of the streets.
When he is caught, the courts usually spew him out again. If he is under a certain age, 16 to 18 depending on the state, he is almost always taken to juvenile court, where he is treated as if he were still the child he is supposed to be. Even if he has murdered somebody, he may be put away for only a few months. He is either sent home well before his term expires or he escapes, which, as the kids say, is “no big deal.” Small wonder that hardened juveniles laugh, scratch, yawn, mug and even fall asleep while their crimes are revealed in court.
A New York teen-ager explained in a WCBS radio interview how he started at the age of twelve to rob old women. “I was young, and I knew I wasn’t gonna get no big time. So, you know, what’s to worry? If you’re doin’ wrong, do it while you’re young, because you won’t do that much time.”
Another boy, 15, recalled why he shot a “dude”: “Wasn’t nothin’. I didn’t think about it. If I had to kill him, I just had to kill him. That’s the way I look at it, ’cause I was young. The most I could have got then is 18 months.”
In Miami, Edward Robinson, 15, was accused of raping a housewife at knife point, even while police surrounded the home. “What you gonna do to me?” he sneered. “Send me to youth hall? I’ll be out in a few hours.” That taunt landed him in adult court. But his case was an exception. Most juvenile criminals are precluded from effective punishment. Says Andrew Vogt, executive director of Colorado’s District Attorneys’ Association: “In effect, we have created a privileged class in society.”
That privileged class keeps enlisting ever younger members. Partly this is a response to juvenile laws. Older kids employ younger confederates—who tend to get off easily if caught—to push drugs, commit robberies and sometimes murder. In New Haven, two brothers, Ernest Washington, 16, and Erik, 14, along with four other kids, were arrested for robbing and killing a Yale student. Since Erik was underage, he confessed that he had pulled the trigger. He told New Haven Prosecutor Michael Whalen: “The most you’re going to give me is two years.” Erik, in fact, was bound over to adult court. At his trial last month, guess what? Erik denied doing the shooting. It did not help. He was convicted and sentenced to 15 years to life. Says Whalen: “He showed no awareness of conscience or remorse. He grinned like crazy. He probably figures that prison is not a hell of a lot worse than other places he’s been.”
Aside from this sort of calculation, kids seem to be developing a taste for sadism earlier in life. William S. White, presiding judge of the Cook County, Ill., juvenile court, thinks that a lower limit may have been reached: “I don’t expect a six-year-old to be committing homicides.” Don’t be too sure. In Washington, D.C., a six-year-old boy siphoned gasoline out of a car and poured it over a sleeping neighbor. Then he struck a match and watched the man go up in flames.
More girls are getting involved in violent crime. From 1970 to 1975, the arrest rate of girls under 18 for serious offenses climbed 40%, v. 24% for boys. In 1975, 11% of all juveniles arrested for violent crimes were female. Last month Chicago police finally caught a gang of six girls, aged 14 to 17, after they had terrorized elderly people for months. Their latest crime: the brutal beating of a 68-year-old man. “I was amazed,” says Police Lieut. Lawrence Forberg. “They were indignant toward their victims, and none of them shed any tears. This is the first time I’ve encountered young girls this tough.”
The Killing Costs
Youthful criminals prey on the most defenseless victims. The very young, the old, the lame, sick and blind are slugged, slashed and shot. They have retreated with broken limbs and emotional scars behind triple-locked doors. Many never venture out at night; some do not even risk the streets during the day. In confinement, their anguish is not heard. Often poor and not well educated, they do not know where to turn or how to complain.
So what’s new? ponders the director of a juvenile facility in New York. The old folks have been assailed for years. The kids, he insists, have a “value system” of their own that should be respected. They are rebels, by his murky reckoning, against a society that does not give them a chance. One peculiar value is demonstrated by a teen-ager who prowls Manhattan’s Upper East Side in search of eyes to gouge. To date, he has made known attempts on a bus driver, a journalist, an Egyptian tourist, the son of former Manhattan Democratic Party Leader Edward Costikyan and others. He was never locked up because he was underage.
Elizabeth Griffith, 84, a black woman, was beaten in her New York City apartment by two black teenagers. “I didn’t feel the blows because I was so numb from the choking,” she recalled. “The big one hollered, ‘Hit her!’ and the little one would come over and hit me again. And I looked at the little one and said, ‘Shame on you.’ I saw death and I was dead, and I started to call the Lord. I was thinking to myself, ‘What a nightmare, oh, what a nightmare!’ ” A nightmare shared by innumerable others who cannot count on the basic minimum of a supposedly civilized society: personal safety. Says Jim Wilson, a black homicide detective in Harlem: “Anybody should be able to go out on the streets any time he wants.”
Analysts tirelessly—and correctly —say that unemployment, slum housing, inadequate schools and the pathology of the ghetto contribute to the spreading scourge of youth crime. But the reverse is also true: the ripple effects of crime eventually overwhelm a city and destroy its élan. People are frightened away from downtown, reducing business for stores, theaters, restaurants. In their place, thick as weeds, sprout porno houses, massage parlors and gambling havens, where criminals thrive.
Crime is decimating communities like Harlem. Says William Lundon, a homicide detective: “It’s as if there were a cancer out there, with the doctor operating every day.” To ward off robberies, Harlem merchants—almost all of them blacks—often stay open 24 hours a day. But the longer they are around, the more chance there is that they will be assaulted. One all-night grocer, a genial man in his 60s who was shot in the stomach by robbers, lives permanently in the Alamo. Thieves managed to break through solid steel sheets over his windows; 20 cases of beer were lugged out through the skylight. “I couldn’t have whipped my people into doing that,” says the grocer in disbelief. Increasingly, Harlem businessmen are giving up in despair, contributing to the steady spiral of decline. In Queens, N.Y., a dozen plants employing some 1,000 people threatened for a while to relocate unless action was taken against the youth gangs that continually robbed them. The kids were so sure of not being punished that they even announced to the executives when they would strike next.
Schools are blamed, often justly, for not equipping children with the most elementary skills. But the schools in many cities have turned into criminal dens where the distraught teacher spends most of the time trying to keep order. The FBI reports that last year some 70,000 teachers were assaulted in U.S. schools and the cost of vandalism reached $600 million. Every school day an estimated 200,000 New York City kids are truant. At least some are fleeing the danger in the classroom. At a state legislative hearing this month, Felix Davila, 16, testified that he stayed away from school because gangs terrorized teachers and shoved girls into bathrooms where they were sexually molested or forced to take drugs. Miguel Sanchez, 16, told the committee that a gang called the Savage Nomads runs his school. “All they do is rape people, mug people. I got out.”
The Elusive Causes
It takes a diligent search through history to discover another society that has been as vulnerable to its youthful predators. During the early days of the Industrial Revolution in England, gangs of rapacious children roamed the streets, filling passers-by with dread. But the youngsters’ crimes had a clear purpose: destitute, they would kill for food.
Obviously, a relationship still exists between poverty and crime. But the connection is rather tenuous. The great majority of poor kids do not commit crimes. The persistent offenders may come from a ghetto, but they often have more money than the people they rob. Some earn enough from selling drugs and mugging to buy all they want and then some. Explains a juvenile thief: “You know, they don’t wanta be wearin’ the same old sneakers every day. They wanta change like, you know, they wanta pair of black sneakers.” After buying sneakers, gobs of junk food, flashy clothes, a car and, of course, guns, what else does a growing boy need? Nothing, maybe, except kicks. Mugging is like “playing a game,” says a youth who attends a school for problem kids in Manhattan. “Kids do it for the fun of it.”
One kid, 14, and another, 17, pistol-whipped a woman carrying two bags of groceries to her home in Miami. As she lapsed into a fatal coma on the sidewalk, they continued to kick her, then walked off leaving the groceries. In Washington, two teen-age boys went to the home of a 100-year-old minister and asked for some water. When he let them in, one kid tried to garrote him and then the other slit his throat; somehow he survived. During a robbery in the same city, in which three men were killed and one was seriously wounded, a 15-year-old armed with a machete flailed away, as prosecutors described it, in “wanton, aimless destruction.”
How can such sadistic acts—expressions of what moral philosophers would call sheer evil—be explained satisfactorily by poverty and deprivation? What is it in our society that produces such mindless rage? Was the 19th century French criminologist Jean Lacassagne right when he observed that “societies have the criminals they deserve”? Or has the whole connection between crime and society been exaggerated?
Some of the usual explanations seem pretty limp. Yes, America is a materialistic society where everyone is encouraged to accumulate as much as possible. Francis Maloney, commissioner of the department of children and youth in New Haven, notes that “merchants are upset about shoplifting. Well, all the goods are there on the rack to be taken. If you’re trying to entice me with the tourist trap, the kid who hasn’t money is going to take advantage too. We contribute to the offenses that are committed.”
Yes, television glorifies violence and, yes, America is “permissive.” In Madison, Wis.. Dane County Judge Archie Simonson released a rapist, 15, into the custody of his family. Madison, the judge explained, is a sexually permissive community where women wear see-through blouses. The kid was only reacting “normally,” said the judge, though the 16-year-old victim was wearing an unprovocative sweater. But surely these and similar arguments, which go to any length to hold society and not the individual accountable, are glib and shallow.
More serious analysts point to the fact that, historically, rapid economic expansion and ethnically mixed populations have produced crime—hence the waves of violence in the U.S. in the middle and late 19th century. Another factor that historically has been accompanied by crime, points out Sociologist Marvin Wolfgang, is individual freedom. Some experts today argue that juvenile crime is spreading because everyone is pushing what he considers his “rights” to the utmost limits. Standards are lowered and blurred: any behavior, however deviant, finds its instant defenders. The traditional and constraining institutions of family, church and school have lost much of their authority. Says LaMar Empey, a University of Southern California criminologist who specializes in youth: “The 1960s saw the dissipation of the traditional controls of society. There was much more freedom of activity in all spheres, and it was inevitable that there would be more crime. Also, the admission that we had a racist society gave some people an excuse to attack that society without guilt.”
Most important is the breakdown in the family. “The old saws about the family are true,” says Judge Seymour Gelber, who hears 1,000 delinquency cases a year in Dade County, Fla. “We look for quick solutions, but family stability is the long-term answer.” Adds Detective Ellen Carlyle: “The parents don’t seem to care. They turn to the police and say. ‘Here’s my problem. Take care of it.’ But they must start caring for their children in infancy.”
Gelber notes that blacks commit 75% of the violent crime in Dade County, though they constitute only 15% of the population. But Cubans make up a third of the county’s population and account for only 12% of the violent crime. The judge believes the strong Cuban family structure explains this difference. Adds Juan Clark, a sociologist at Miami Dade Community College: “Like the Chinese, the Cubans have close-knit families with more supervision. There are more three-generation families, and, customarily, middle-and upper-middle-class women do not work.” But the stress of exile, as well as modern influences, is beginning to weaken Cuban families: gangs are forming and committing crimes.
For eleven years, Ned O’Gorman, a poet, has run a nursery school in Harlem where no kid is considered too far gone to be accepted. But O’Gorman claims few permanent successes: early parental influence is hard to shake. “The rate of failure,” he says, “the return to the cycle that has been their lot and their families’ lot forever, is enormous.” By the time some youngsters reach O’Gorman at age three or four, their lives have been blighted by what can only euphemistically be called child abuse. Not only is the child cuffed around, but because of neglect, he risks being burned up in his bed, drowning in the bathtub, falling out the window. “In his eyes,” says O’Gorman, “is the fixed stare of the blasted spirit.”
Charles King, the black director of the Phoenix School, which provides therapy and schooling for 30 problem kids on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, thinks that inconsistency of family treatment is more damaging to children than unrelieved harshness. First the parent strikes the kid, then lavishes gifts on him. The bewildered child has no way of telling right from wrong. He remains largely illiterate because no one talks to him. “His language,” says King, “is not made to communicate, to establish relationships. It’s rejection and rejection, it’s the hell with it. The child learns that the only way to be heard is to kick somebody in the teeth. With violence, he suddenly becomes a being.”
The Failed System
The juvenile-justice system, a sieve through which most of these kids come and go with neither punishment nor rehabilitation, has become a big part of the problem. The system evolved over the past several decades on the theory that there is no such thing as a bad boy, or at least none beyond salvage. However horrendous his crime, he is still fit for rehabilitation, given time and patience. If he is underage, he is usually not photographed and rarely fingerprinted. Records of his crimes are kept confidential and then destroyed after he becomes a legal adult. He is thus reborn with a tabula rasa—no evidence whatsoever of his misconduct. James Higgins, a juvenile judge in New Haven, reflects the attitude of many apologists for the system “We treat delinquency,” he says, “as a civil inquiry into the doings of a child. The court does not consider the child a criminal—irresponsible, perhaps, but not a criminal.”
When a cherubic lad of nine was brought into a Washington, D.C., court for crippling an old woman by pushing her down a flight of stairs, the judge told the prosecutor: “I’m sorry, but nothing you can say will convince me that child is guilty.”‘ Complains Robert M. Ross, a former assistant corporation counsel in Washington: “Some judges and prosecutors have told me they thought a third to half of all juvenile cases could be solved simply by sitting the kid down and giving him a stern lecture.” That attitude might have served well in the halcyon days of Huck Finn and Penrod, when pranks were the principal business before the courts. Says Judge Gelber: “The juvenile courts weren’t conceived for the brutal act. They were created with the image of Middle America.”
Aside from the shaky assumptions on which it rests, the juvenile court is notoriously inefficient (see box following page). Judges consider assignment to it not a plum but the pits. “I would rather die than preside in Family Court,” says New York Criminal Court Judge Eve Preminger. “It’s completely unrewarding.” Cases are backed up in the overburdened, understaffed system. Complainants and witnesses, who are nervous to begin with and sometimes threatened by the offenders, become exasperated with waiting and walk out. Case dismissed.
Even if the case proceeds, the deck is stacked in favor of the defendant. A juvenile may not be able to read or write, but he can recite his Miranda rights* without pausing for breath. When he is arrested, his main effort—and his lawyer’s—is to get the case thrown out on some legal technicality, and he often succeeds. In a San Francisco police squad room, the cops toss darts at an unusual board. Its rings are labeled: Investigate further, Admonish, Cite, and the bull’s-eye is Complaint withdrawn. Police Lieut. George Rosko sums up the whole juvenile process: “It fosters the kid’s belief that he can beat the system. He goes through the court, comes back to the neighborhood, and he’s a hero.”
Most of the youths are routinely released into their parents’ custody. They are supposed to be on probation, but overworked probation officers can hardly give them much attention. Sometimes parents call the court and cannot even find out the name of the officer assigned to their child. In Providence, young criminals are often given a rent allowance and sent out to make it on their own. One boy, 17, made it all the way to a flophouse alongside winos, junkies and prostitutes. He enjoyed the homelike atmosphere; if forced to move, he told social workers, he would return to prostituting himself at the train station.
When even juvenile authorities decide a youngster is just too dangerous to release, nobody is quite sure what to do with him. Should he be sent to a prison-like facility or a more open work camp or juvenile home? The costs of correctional programs can be astronomical.
New York State spends some $15,000 a year for every kid in an “open” facility; a small, experimental psychiatric program costs $50,000 a year for each youth.
The results have been mixed in states like Arizona, California and Connecticut, where authorities have been farming out the inmates of large juvenile prisons to smaller, barless camps and homes. Recidivism has not declined among the hard-core cases, although some of the halfway houses that deal mostly with nonviolent youngsters in a community setting have been effective.
When several large detention centers in New York were closed on the grounds that rehabilitation works better in smaller places, many youths were sent to a forestry camp outside Ithaca; soon they burned down the camp.
The toughest kids manage to resist the most earnest efforts at rehabilitation. Robert Watts, a youth officer in Boston, describes a typical failure with a 16-year-old boy: “We gave him everything — intensive education, group sessions, counseling, forestry, experimental camp, acting in plays. We thought we had turned the corner with him.” So he was given a twelve-hour pass — only to disappear until he was booked for robbing a bank and stealing two cars.
Juvenile authorities try to find jobs for offenders, but legitimate employment often cannot match what crime pays. One 16-year-old, who spends the day in a school for delinquents in Manhattan and the night pushing drugs in Harlem, has taken in as much as $1,000 in four hours ($600 is turned over to the distributor). He spends it almost as fast as he earns it, but he boasts: “Right now, I got $1,200 in the bank. That ain’t nothin’ to what other people got. They have $10,000 to $20,000.”
Steps Toward Cure
No programs for juveniles are likely to work unless the law is first enforced. It is estimated that 10% of the youngsters who tangle with the law are incorrigible offenders. By now, even many liberals concede that this hard core must be put under some kind of permanent constraint until age, if nothing else, finally mellows them.
Phoenix Director King feels that no violent juvenile should be released until he appreciates the enormity of what he has done. King cites the case of a 16-year-old girl whose crime—murder—was explained to her over and over again. Finally, she made the connection between her mind and her hands—instruments of death. At that point, she broke down sobbing and gradually began to mend. But most of the killers remain remorseless and even bored by talk of their crimes.
If society is to be protected from the violent young, respect for punishment must be restored. Youngsters should know just what to expect if they commit a particular crime. An adult crime —like armed robbery, rape or murder —deserves adult treatment. Yet in many states, a juvenile cannot be tried in adult court for any offense. Says Harlem Detective Wilson: “There are no ifs, ands or buts about it, the laws have to be changed. The idea was to protect kids who had minor skirmishes with the law from getting a record. This kind of treatment was not made for 14-and 15-year-old kids who are killers.”
The evidence suggests that a tougher policy toward violent youths reduces crime. This may seem obvious, but it was long doubted by many social scientists. Since Bronx courts this year started handing out stiffer, five-to ten-year sentences for robbery of elderly people, arrests for the offense have dropped 40%. After stronger juvenile laws were enacted and violent repeaters were finally jailed in New Orleans, teen-age homicides declined from 29 in 1973 to five in 1975. Says District Attorney Harry Connick: “If you take a career criminal off the streets, his peers get the message. They do not want to follow him.”
In Memphis, the cases heard in juvenile court declined from 16,191 in 1975 to 14,174 last year; in this year’s first quarter, they were down another 16%. “We are not afraid to use the word punish,” says Juvenile Judge Kenneth A. Turner, who encourages the press to publish the names and addresses of youthful lawbreakers. Speaking of first offenders, he says, “Every dog is entitled to one bite.” But he also warns them, “If you come back again, you’d better bring your toothbrush because we keep our word.” That word means jail for the second serious offense. Explains Turner: “Rather than simply emphasize the needs of the child, we also figure we have a paramount duty to protect society.”
Atlanta has one of the most rapidly declining juvenile-crime rates in the country—along with some of the strictest judges. Chief Judge Tom Dillon insists that offenders be tried within ten days after they are indicted. “A child’s memory is short,” says Dillon. “The sooner facts are presented after the offense has occurred, the better it is for everyone, most of all for the child.”
With hard-core juveniles isolated, it will be easier to deal with the more manageable majority of delinquents: runaways, truants, vandals, petty thieves. Most do not have to be confined, and they should never be put in the same jails or homes with rapists and murderers. When all types of criminals are mixed in the same place, the lesser offenders come under the influence of the hard core and emerge more dangerous and violent.
Some juvenile courts make the punishment fit the crime precisely. The thief is forced to make restitution; he may go to work for the person whose property he has stolen or destroyed, or he may take some other job until the money is paid back. In Seattle, lesser offenders are put to work in hospitals, state and local agencies and community service projects. When restitution has been made, they are eligible for full-time jobs with social service programs. In Memphis, Judge Turner occasionally orders parents to subsidize their child in some correctional institution. Says he: “That puts more responsibility on parents to keep their kids out of trouble.”
Next to enforcing the law, nothing is more important than mobilizing the support of the community to fight crime. Like guerrillas, criminals have to live off the land; if it is not congenial, they will move elsewhere. In Memphis, some 900 concerned adults have volunteered to help with probation by befriending and advising problem youths. “The role model is a tremendous factor in youth crime,” declares Judge Gelber. “The potential for great change is there. If a pimp can get to a kid, so can Walt Frazier.”
A growing number of black leaders, including Chicago’s Jesse Jackson and New York Mayoral Candidate Percy Sutton, are trying to organize blacks in community crusades against crime. Last week people in Harlem led police to two youths who had used a sawed-off shotgun to kill a taxi driver. Says Lewis Mitrano, assistant district attorney in Philadelphia: “The black community is increasingly supporting the efforts of police because it’s the black community that suffers most from youth crime and violence. This attitude has done more to combat crime than all the federal funds that have gone into social projects, important as they are.”
The social programs that seem to work best are those that aim to reassert the youths’ individual responsibility. “It’s a cop-out to blame their problems on anything but themselves,” declares Michael Major, 30, director of a youth program in Providence called Junction, which has had a better than 50% success record in getting its kids out of crime; the usual success rate is much lower. Among the many roads to self-reliance, Major has chosen scouting. As he puts it, “Any blue-eyed kid from suburbia has support from his parents and money for camping equipment. Inner-city kids don’t, but we help make the experience happen. That stuff about ‘On my honor, I will do my best’ is beautiful —if you can make it a reality for inner-city children.”
The same philosophy guides Youth Development Center No.3, which houses some 50 juveniles in a brownstone complex in Brooklyn. The kids are drilled in their responsibilities by resident counselors. The non-Freudian therapy does not permit them to blame society, family, school or friends-only themselves. They have a free will, they are told, which they should exercise.
The message came across to at least one 13-year-old boy: “I got to face up to reality,” he says. “Some of the brothers in here want to play the part of the fool, saying that being here is everybody’s fault but their own. But where I am is me, nobody else.”
*Murder, rape, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, larceny, motor vehicle theft.
*From the 1966 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that before a suspect can be interrogated, police must inform him of his rights to remain silent and to obtain a lawyer. More recently, the court has ruled that a youth’s confession is invalid unless it is made in the presence of a parent or other ‘friendly adult.”