Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Jaime Lynn Spears And Statutory Rape Laws

Since I didn't know that Britney Spears had a younger sister and didn't know that Jaime Lynn Spears stars in the Nickolodeon show "Zoey 101" the official acknowledgement that Jaime Lynn is pregnant seemed like so much idle gossip.

However, I've been seeing reports that Jaime Lynn Spears, reported as aged 16, is below the age of consent and that the reported father of her unborn child, Casey Aldridge, is an adult which raises questions about whether he is guilty of statutory rape. Since laws differ from state to state and Jaime Lynn shoots her series in California but also lives in Louisiana, any prosecutor would need to prove that the sex happened in their state.

It's certainly possible that these 2 decided to go somewhere that they would be legal and it's possible that Aldridge broke the law if their age differences are large enough.

For some people this situation would be a justification for changing the law so Aldridge couldn't possibly be a criminal no matter when or where they had sex since they would be classified by these people as in a Romeo and Juliet relationship (minus the suicides I hope), but I believe that is a serious mistake.

If there are truly cases where the sex is fully and freely consensual as part of an ongoing non-exploitative relationship, then that's an issue for sentencing. Too often "relationship" gets used to describe something that in no way was a real relationship. It also gets used to deny the possibility of coercion or force within a dating relationship.

Whatever happens, fame and notoriety shouldn't influence any criminal investigation.

Update (12/20): Because Aldridge is 18 and almost exactly 2 years older than Spears it looks like at most in California and Louisiana he would be guilty of a misdemeanor if there are no allegations of sexual misconduct or coercion. In Mississippi, Aldridge's home state, age 16 is the age of consent.

This means that any lack of statutory rape charges against Aldridge tells us nothing about problems in the enforcement of statutory rape laws. Some of the comparisons I've seen aren't comparable at all because of issues such as the use of alcohol in gaining the so-called consent from a girl too young to give legal consent.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 4:02 PM   1 comments links to this post

1 Comments:

At December 19, 2007 9:52 PM, Blogger Rachel's Tavern said...

My husband and I had this conversation last night. I wish there was a list somewhere where they revealed the age of consent for each state.

What is also interesting about the story is that many outlets (gossip sites so take it for what it's worth)are saying that the boyfriend lived with her in the household with her parents. If that's true, I'm curious how this affects these laws.

For example, I had a 12 year old classmate who got pregnant, and the dad was between 18-20 (don't remember exactly). Anyways, her grandmother who was her legal guardian gave her consent for her granddaughter to marry the guy. She got married at 13. That's what I cant figure out--how does parental consent play into this?

 

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