Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Honestly, I'm a little squeamish about the subject, but...

A 22 year old man from Nebraska named Matthew Koso is being charged with statutory rape after he impregnated and then married a 13 year old girl last year. What makes the case newsworthy is that normally marriage is de facto protection from statutory rape charges, even if it's marriage after the conception or birth of a child. The New York Times profile of the case is surprisingly sympathetic to him, if I read it correctly.

I was going to post about all the interesting features of the case, but was struck by the fact that in a number of instances, I can't decide whether a given feature of the situation is exculpatory or damning (in terms of prosecution, mind you..at an ethical level the situation seems clearer). What makes this aspect of the law intellectually interesting is the presence of a fairly strong intuition that the law needs to exist without the well-developed rationale necessary to make a case like this clear.

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