Follow TV Tropes


Corruption of a Minor

Go To

"You call it 'brainwashing'. I call it 'making it a game'."
Big Daddy, Kick-Ass

In many countries, there is a crime with a name similar to Corruption of a Minor, which is basically an adult teaching a kid things they "shouldn't" know; generally things that could increase the kid's risk of becoming a criminal. Things like bringing the kid along while committing a crime such as shoplifting, for instance, or outright having the kid help in the commission of a crime. The purpose of these laws is to try to prevent future criminals by stopping those who would try to Corrupt the Cutie in this way.

Contrast Corruption by a Minor. See also Harmful to Minors.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Hidoku Shinaide: In Volume 6, it's revealed that Maya's apprehension of Naoya comes from the fact that he's actually known the older guy since he was a young teen. When his parents were getting divorced and he was getting rebellious, Naoya was there and taught Maya "fun and dangerous stuff". From what's shown in the manga, that looks like underaged drinking, smoking, and getting his ear pierced.
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
    • Evangeline occasionally being The Vamp around ten year old Negi. Such as the time she told him to lick her feet. This resulted in a Megaton Punch from Asuna.
    • Later she starts doing Kiss of the Vampire feedings on him as payment for her training. It's presented the way you're thinking, and she gets away with it.
    • Then there was the time that Haruna brought Negi to a manga convention, prompting Chisame to have a major Freak Out when he started to read a Yaoi manga.
    • In general, lots of girls in the class pull stuff like this on him, especially Marshmallow Hell. His ability to be Not Distracted by the Sexy is incredible. Though not so surprising when you realize that he's only ten. He wouldn't be able to be Distracted by the Sexy even discounting the fact that he treats his students like family.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, Gold invokes a softer version of this trope; he gets the Togepi egg, and gambles and cheats around it, so when it hatches, it naturally follows such behaviors and becomes mischievous.
  • Yayoi from Koe de Oshigoto! does this to her own sister, giving her The Talk and a lecture on eroge so she could become a good eroge seiyuu. To be fair, Yayoi didn't really push her into the profession and Kanna volunteered.
  • Ali Al-Saachez from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 influenced Krugis children (including The Hero) to kill their parents to prove their devotion to god. The truth is he just wanted to turn them into his Child Soldiers.
  • Monster: Johan Liebert does this, to little surprise.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: One of Hayate's skills is spotting forged art — because when he was four, his father used him in an art-selling scam, and taught him to not accidentally give the real stuff to the people they were swindling.
  • The villain All For One from My Hero Academia actively went out of his way to target young Tenko Shimura/Tomura Shigaraki to get back at All Might because of Tenko's relationship to All Might's teacher, and raised him after Tenko, mostly accidentally, killed his own family when his Quirk awakened with the explicit intention of making him as much of a violent sociopath as possible.
  • In Kite, Akai and Kanie are in the business of turning orphaned young children into ruthless assassins-for-hire.
  • Genma in Ranma ˝ taught Ranma things like theft and took him along while stealing stuff. Happosai used the young sickly Miss Hinako to help in his panty thefts.
  • Hody Jones and his New Fishman Pirates in One Piece grew up idolizing Fishman villain Arlong and living in a slum full of Fishmen and merfolk that despised humans. This ultimately led to the New Fishman Pirates having an almost religious fanaticism when it came to exterminating humans and those who sought peaceful co-existence.

    Comic Books 
  • Big-Daddy of Kick-Ass molds his daughter, 11-year old Hit-Girl, into a murderous Badass Normal Laser-Guided Tyke-Bomb through Training from Hell. She comes out with a love of butterfly knives, an affinity with swords and expert marksmanship with handguns.
  • Similarly, assassin David Cain attempted to turn his daughter into the perfect killer; not even teaching her how to talk (so that the language centers of her brain would focus on body language and make her that much more perceptive and deadly in combat). However, she rebelled after her first murder and fled (because reading the body language of a dying man was so horrific), ultimately becoming Batgirl.
  • Similarly yet again is Laura Kinney aka X-23, an Opposite-Sex Clone of Wolverine created by the Facility, a civilian offshoot of the Weapon X program, to be the perfect assassin and killing machine. Her "test run" was at age nine. She didn't escape their control until about four years later, and it's implied she amassed a body count in the hundreds during that time. The end result is one of the most dangerous and lethal killers in the Marvel Universe (Captain America personally took on the task of bringing her to justice) with severe emotional issues.
  • A major theme in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac:
    • The title homicidal maniac has a beloved six-year-old neighbor, and he desperately wants to avert this when interacting with him. Of course, being who he is, he's not good at it, but somehow the kid seems to stay pretty okay.
      Johnny: It must be nice to be able to save the cohesion of your pretty mind. The best some of us can hope for is to better manage the damage.
    • In the Spin-Off Squee, the aforementioned child — Todd Casil — has a conversation with Satan and The Antichrist where Satan attempts to convert Todd to the Legions of Hell. Todd politely declines.
  • Rorschach (2020) features this as the backstory of Laura "The Kid" Cummings: raised by her gun-collecting, Conspiracy Theorist father in a small rural town, she was taught by his local militia group how to shoot guns and develop the will to one day free America from "the squids" that were telepathically controlling everyone. Disturbingly, her first murder was her own father, and it was by his own request — having begun questioning the nature of his own morality relative to his conspiracy theory, he assumed he had become brainwashed by the squids and allowed Laura to murder him, setting it up like it was an accident. She happily obliged.

    Fan Works 
  • One of the central themes of A Loud Among Demons is how being trapped in Hell is negatively affecting Lincoln. As the story goes on, his idealism is broken piece by piece and he grows increasingly desensitized to the violence and general depravity that he is surrounded by. For Lincoln, he fears that this is a sign that he's losing his humanity, which could hinder his chances of returning home.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Wicker Man (1973), the deeply Catholic Sgt Howie accuses the pagan schoolteacher of "corruption of the young" when she teaches her class about the dominants of phallic symbolism in the Celtic religion.
  • In Little Sweetheart, this is given a unique twist. The corruption of a minor is done by a psychopath who is actually slightly younger than her, but has the mind of an adult and the manipulation skills of a chessmaster.
  • In The Professional (aka Leon), an assassin befriends a 12-year-old girl, who demands that he teach her how to kill. In the American theatrical release, he gives her some lessons, but she never participates in an actual murder. In the overseas version, she helps kill at least a dozen people, making her instant rehabilitation at the end a little dubious.
  • In Little Miss Sunshine, the parents sneak the dead body of the grandfather out of a hospital because they didn't have time to be burdened with paperwork just then. Both their children, a teenager and a 7-year-old, are involved in the operation. Furthermore, in one of the alternate endings in the DVD version, the family is seen stealing a trophy from the pageant that Olive had lost.
    • Olive's grandpa taught her the burlesque dance routine.
  • In Changeling, Sanford Clark is forced by his Serial Killer uncle to help kidnap other young boys, and later on to dispose of the bodies.
  • In An American Crime, Gertrude encourages her children as well as other children in the neighborhood to abuse Sylvia. Because an adult gave them "permission" to burn her with cigarettes and so on, they get into it pretty quick.
  • Hanna, from the movie of the same name, has been trained by her father to avenge her mother since her birth. It helps that she's a bioweapon.
  • In The Hunt (2012), Klara's brother unwittingly helped to set the stage for a wrongful Pćdo Hunt by showing his sister a photo of a "giant stiff rod" which disturbed her enough to use it against Lucas after he rejected her Precocious Crush.
  • Kick-Ass: Damon McCready's old police partner is not happy that Damon has dragged his daughter into his revenge plot against the D'Amico crime family that killed his wife (and Mindy's mother). Damon flippantly says that all he did was "make it into a game."
    Marcus: You owe that girl a childhood.
    Damon: You know who does? FRANK D'AMICO!
  • RoboCop 2: The Detroit druglord Caine allows a young boy, Hob, to join his gang. While Hob appreciates the "badass" things this allows him to do (like shooting at RoboCop), he is less appreciative when Caine forces him to watch a Dirty Cop being vivisected in front of him.

  • 2666: Subverted with Lalo Cura, a child hired to bodyguard Pedro Rengifo's family. He eventually becomes part of the Santa Teresa police force, but he remains a far more honest and straightforward officer than his mentors.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: Darth Bane takes on Darth Zannah as his apprentice when the latter is about ten (and he didn't need any cookies to do it). Bane didn't need to do too much. Zannah had just killed a pair of Jedi with the Force after they killed her bouncer friend mistaking it for a threat. When he warns her that he has killed people, including children, she simply answers that she's a killer too.
  • In an early mystery novel by Ellery Queen The Tragedy of Y, as by "Barnaby Ross", the entire mystery is the result of a dead man's attempt at writing a murder mystery being found by a demented teenager and carried out literally; for instance, where the mystery outline calls for a "blunt instrument", the teenager uses a mandolin.
  • The Fragility of Bodies: Rivero is part of The Cartel, and works as a coach in soccer clubs in order to recruit kids for the Game of Chicken competition he organizes. His coaching methods always try to bring out the worst in kids, with him encouraging them to beat each other up and shaming them if they hesitate, which is all part of his plan to get them ready for the Game of Chicken.
  • Subverted in To Kill a Mockingbird. When Dill is crying during Tom's trial, he and Scout go outside and talk to Dolphus Raymond, the town's alcoholic. To help Dill stop crying, he offers him a drink out of his paper sack. Scout tries to warn Dill against it, but it turns out that it's just soda, and Raymond only pretends to be an alcoholic so the townsfolk can think that's the reason he lives with a black woman.
  • Fagin in Oliver Twist (almost exclusively referred to as "The Jew") spends his time teaching young boys how to pickpocket and get away with it.
  • In Maximum Ride, Jeb teaches the flock how to do illegal things like hot wire a car. Justified/Subverted in that they needed to know that stuff to survive.
  • Fancy Zing from I Have A Bed Made Of Buttermilk Pancakes commits the unintentional variety with her daughter Cassie. Cassie knows that her mother writes erotic fiction (without reading the examples we get to see), and can spell words like "fuck" and "cunt". She's also extraordinarily perceptive. So when she submits her entry for the school play, she writes a story where two teachers get their students to teach the class while they have sex. She also includes the two aforementioned swear words, without realising that they're unacceptable in school. And she's also seven.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The whole Tom Riddle and Ginny Weasley situation in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets might sort of count as this. Except Riddle is 16 and the wizarding age of majority is 17, so he's a minor corrupting a younger minor. Still, Ginny is only 11 and Riddle may be 16, but he's also 66 depending on how you look at it. It Makes Sense in Context.
    • Draco Malfoy becomes a Death Eater at 16. Voldemort encourages the kid to murder and torture people. He achieves this with some subtle encouragement, like threatening to kill Draco's whole family.
    • Voldemort recruited Death Eaters straight out of school the first time round as a matter of course. He also pursued the Hogwarts post of Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher for this same purpose.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In a third season episode of Veronica Mars, Veronica's client is a young man who was forced to join a militia in Africa at the age of six.
  • American Horror Story: Cult: The fate planned by Kai and Winter for Ozymandias.
  • An episode of I Almost Got Away With It, centered around a couple of thieves, a man and a woman, and her young daughter, who was just a toddler at the time, that drove around the country breaking into empty homes and stealing cars. If the couple needed help unlocking a house, they would jimmy open a back window, put the girl through, and have her unlock the back or side door, which the couple would use to enter and ransack the place. After the couple accidentally killed a family friend that tried to call the police when he found out they were wanted in several states, the authorities stepped up their efforts to track them down and arrested them soon after. The couple were tried and convicted of: breaking and entering, grand theft auto, grand larceny, knowingly transporting stolen items across state lines, murder, and corruption of a minor. As punishment, they were both given lengthy prison sentences, and the woman was told that she had lost legal custody of her daughter and was forbidden from trying to contact her. When her sentence would be over, she couldn't have talked to her, since, according to the show, the girl was adopted by another couple who were advised from letting the girl contact her mother. The woman was so distraught at the fact that she most likely would never see her daughter ever again, that she took her life in jail.



    Web Original 
  • One of the many SCPs contained in the SCP Foundation is SCP-993, an anomalous children show hosted by a being known as Bobble the Clown. In the episodes of the show, Bobble teaches the kids below 10 to do horrible things like cannibalism, stalking, torture, etc., ingraining these concepts into their minds and turning them into sociopaths. Even worse, Bobble is aware that the Foundation tries to keep him contained, and is now trying to teach the kids to release dangerous SCPs and murder the researchers containing him.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: This is the explanation behind Princess Azula's borderline sociopathic behavior. From a very early age, her father molded her into his own personal foot soldier, encouraging and rewarding her cruel behavior, while mistreating Prince Zuko, her more kindhearted big brother, as an example to her.
  • Then there's stuff like both Brock and Molotov teaching Hank and Dean how to kill people in The Venture Bros.. And that isn't even getting into the time Jonas, Sr. made Rusty kill a man with a house key when he was 9.
  • Ignignot and Err teach Meatwad to smoke, drink and peruse pornography in Aqua Teen Hunger Force (in part by hitting him with the Foreigner belt's "Dirty White Boy" setting). Meatwad may or may not actually be underage, but he's certainly childish.

    Real Life 
  • "Corruption of the youth" was the famous charge brought against Socrates that led to his execution. In this case, it may have, in part, meant something more like "making adults look stupid in front of the youth". However, a second interpretation has been that he'd made them turn against Athens, since one of his students had been a leader of the Thirty Tyrants, a puppet regime which the Spartans installed after defeating the Athenians which then inflicted a bloody Reign of Terror which killed thousands in under a year. Socrates refused to help purge people, but this didn't stop his condemnation due to guilt by association.
  • The (late) senior member of the "Beltway Sniper" serial killer duo was convicted of multiple murders, and Corruption of a Minor because his fellow killer was 17 at the time of the murders.
  • Joseph Kony, head of the Lord's Resistance Army, ordered children to be kidnapped to serve as soldiers for him. The documentary Invisible Children shows exactly what they went through.
  • In some places where Honor-Related Abuse is practiced (but criminalized), the family members will often get a son or nephew who is under 18 (i.e. still legally a child) to do the deed(s), because he would either get a lighter sentence or get off scot-free because of his age.