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There was a meme circulating around of an Amazon review of a chastity belt (Be warned, there's a chastity belt in the image). It essentially is a mother describing her absolute joy that her son is no longer "sinning" at night thanks to a chastity belt.

Whether this is actually real, morally acceptable, socially acceptable or good parenting is another question. But I'm curious on whether this is legal and if religion is a legal justification of such actions.

I feel that if any minor told me that their mother puts a chastity belt on them I'd be morally obligated to call CPS.

To what legal extent can parents prevent children from masturbating and are religious reasons legal justifications for such actions?

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    Just to clarify, are you asking about forbidding masturbation or putting their child in a chastity belt? Because the latter probably constitutes sexual abuse regardless of the reasoning behind use, while I could see the former being legislated either way. – IllusiveBrian Aug 30 '18 at 3:03
  • I'm asking "to what legal extent can parents prevent children from masturbating?" and "if religion is legal justification of such actions." – npengra317 Aug 30 '18 at 4:08
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    OK, if you don't mind please edit your question to make that clear at the end. – IllusiveBrian Aug 30 '18 at 11:38
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    While I agree with you, the laws and interpretations are likely to vary from state to state. My uninformed guess would be that there aren't likely to be laws specifically about chastity belts, so it would be a judgment all by Child Protective Services. – David Thornley Aug 30 '18 at 16:56
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    @DavidThornley I made an educated guess that a chastity belt would be considered a sexual toy, like if a parent was using a dildo on their child. – IllusiveBrian Aug 30 '18 at 21:58
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To what legal extent can parents prevent children from masturbating and are religious reasons legal justifications for such actions?

One of the main restrictions on parental authority is a prohibition on engaging in child abuse or neglect. But, in most cases, this either isn't defined at all, or is defined only in the most general terms (in the same way culpability for an accident depends upon "negligence" which is also only vaguely defined).

So, somebody would have to decide if that conduct constitutes abuse or neglect of a child (realistically, this fact pattern would involve the issue of abuse, rather than neglect), and while religious reasons can justify some conduct that might otherwise be considered abusive because it caused harm for no justifiable reason, ultimately, the interest of the state in preventing the abuse of children outweighs freedom of religion and could give rise to criminal child abuse charges and/or termination of parental rights.

Whether or not a chastity belt would constitute abuse would depend upon the judgment of the relevant CPS official, a prosecuting attorney and a trial judge (possibly subject to appellate judge review), in light of common sense and community standards. There is no hard and fast rule, and the question might be resolved in different ways in different times and in different places.

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    Yes, you may expect two completely divergent answers to that question depending on where in the US it is answered. West Coast, almost certainly moderates to it being more akin to abuse, Through the bible belt "It don't go near far enough." – David C. Rankin Dec 27 '18 at 8:51
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    @DavidC.Rankin Often different judges in the same courthouse would resolve those questions differently in practice despite applying a verbatim the same legal standard. – ohwilleke Dec 27 '18 at 11:35

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