HAVE we become so jaded that whenever we see a foreigner with a Filipina, regardless of age, we automatically assume the worst?

Granted 68-year-old David Ray Carpenter was allegedly in bed with Pixie (not her real name) when authorities barged into his house in Barangay Odlot, Bogo City, but, hey, her mother was sitting next to them. It wasn’t exactly a case of Carpenter getting caught in flagrante.

So okay, Pixie is 17. But then that would explain her mother’s presence. She’s chaperoning her daughter as well as working for Carpenter as a housemaid.

And even though Pixie and Carpenter have been living together since April last year, there was no mention of any consummation. In fact, his motive for allowing the girl to live with him may have nothing to do with carnal desires.

“She’s a good girl,” he said of Pixie. “You don’t find a girl like that every day. I’m old. I need something to take care of me and she was really good at that. She made sure I take my medicines. She massaged my legs when they cramped.”

There you go. Nothing sexual about that, unless you have a foot fetish.

But he professed that he loves her and that he plans to marry her in North Carolina next month. But of course he’s marrying her. It’s cheaper than hiring a caregiver. And with the mother accompanying them to the States, he’s getting two for the price of one. That he actually has feelings for Pixie is an added bonus.

And yet, and it’s a big YET, the pain from the cramps Carpenter suffers in his legs must have driven the American to throw caution to the wind because he made one big boo-boo when he decided to have a relationship with Pixie.

She’s a minor and no amount of love can change that.

Section 10 of Republic Act (RA) 7610, or the Special Protection of Children against Abuse, has no ifs or buts. It states that it is illegal for any person to be in the company of a minor or someone at least 10 years his or her junior in a public or private place, hotel, motel, beer joint, discotheque, cabaret, pension house, sauna or massage parlor, beach or other tourist resort.

Carpenter should have known better.

As for Pixie’s parents, they, too, were taken into custody for allegedly violating RA 9208, or the Anti-Trafficking in Person’s Act of 2003, because they allegedly turned over Pixie to Carpenter in exchange for I don’t know what.

I found it ironic that the mother used to be the president of Odlot Elementary School’s parents-teachers community association and participated in the anti-trafficking seminar of the Children’s Legal Bureau last January.

She denied any wrongdoing.

In fact, she said she can show passports and other documents to support Carpenter’s claim that he plans to marry her daughter. In her eyes, there was nothing wrong with her daughter living with Carpenter. Nada.

Vice Gov. Agnes Magpale, chairperson of the Provincial Women’s Commission, admitted that some locals can’t resist the temptation of moolah. That’s why the commission will focus on values formation in the hopes that this will stop Cebuano minors from cavorting with foreign opportunists, Magpale said.

Good luck with that, I say.

But again, we are working on the assumption that Pixie’s parents are after Carpenter’s money and citizenship. Granted our assumption is correct, what’s wrong with wanting a better life for themselves? Apparently, Pixie is in on it since Carpenter had told authorities that she was the one who wanted to stay with him.

She was not coerced.

So what right does the State have in denying the Pixies and their parents the chance for happiness?

Oh yeah, Pixie’s 17. As for Carpenter, he should have stuck with the mother.