Jamie Lee Spears Pregnancy Raises Questions Over Fairness of Statutory Rape Prosecutions

The tabloid media are filled with reports that the sister of Britney Spears, Jamie Lynn Spears, is pregnant. What is missing from this coverage, however, is the disconnect with statutory rape cases where this pregnancy would be evidence of a criminal — albeit consensual — act. Jamie’s boyfriend, Casey Aldridge, is reportedly 19.

Statutory rape has long been controversial, particularly with the prosecution of teenagers. For additional legal analysis, click here

An analogous case was that of Genarlow Wilson, who was given a ten-year sentence for consensual sex with a 15-year-old girl. An honors student and gifted athlete, Wilson was preparing for college in 2005 when he was charged in Georgia with aggravated child molestation for having consensual oral sex. Though Wilson was only 17, Douglas County District Attorney David McDade and Assistant D.A. Eddie Barker secured a 10-year sentence for an act committed by thousands of teenagers every year.

There are two basic categories of cases. Sex between underage kids and sex between an adult and a child. Both have been prosecuted, though the latter is more common. This obviously turns on state definitions and where this possible offense took place. However, this is not an argument for expanded prosecution between teenagers. To the contrary, the point is that there is a troubling inconsistency in the treatment of these cases.States like Georgia have passed “Romeo and Juliet” laws that exclude teenage lovers — a worthy reform. It is clear that we need to reexamine what were are trying to achieve in these statutory rape laws. When they were first passed, enforcement of morality codes was one of the purposes — even against teenagers. Now, we are primarily interested in the older predator model. Moreover, teens are now having sex at a younger age. The result is that these laws criminalize teen conduct and produce only harmful results — with little effect on a national trend.

For the story, click here

51 thoughts on “Jamie Lee Spears Pregnancy Raises Questions Over Fairness of Statutory Rape Prosecutions”

  1. This incident is a great manifestation of the moral decadence undertaken by, may I say, the Hollywood, showbiz, celebrity (or however you’d want to call it) society.

    That’s the good news.

    Bad news is that the youth of today, in a vast number of countries, adapt this lifestyle and, worse, even glorify the deeds that it dictates.

  2. Jonathan, does being ‘celebrity’ – whatever that means – play a role? Who can prosecute? Only the girl in question or someone else such as an interest group or the State or her parents or even his parents? Thanks.

  3. That would be typical of an American girl…. blame me the skinny white guy that just wants nothing other than a skinny woman to be his wife, that you would think it is MY fault that American girls can’t control what they eat. If genetics is the reason that so many american girls are a fat, then why in the 1970s weren’t there just as many fat girls? I don’t remember seeing so many fat girls when I was young. If there was more skinny girls to date instead of fat girls, maybe American guys would be much happier. Think about it, if you were a fat girl, and lost lots of weight, lots more guys would want to date you then if you were fat, trust me. You can’t date a girl that you are NOT physically attracted to! I guess i’m going to just get ready and move overseas! I can’t stand the United States of Obesity anymore. We are run be evil corporations like Walmart and Fat people. I just want a skinny woman to be my wife. I’m a single, slender 30 year old manager of a video game store that owns my own house. I served in the military for years. I just want to be able to meet a skinny girl from the age of 20 to 27 to be my wife. If I have to move overseas to Indonesia, atleast they have a true democracy overthere. The person with the most votes gets to be president, unlike the US election of 2000. Atleast Indonesia girls can control how much stuff they through down their throats. I’d rather move to Indonesia than to date a fat girl in America!

  4. Oh, PULEASE, tbundro1277

    If you are not meeting the kind of people you want to associate with, maybe it’s you.

    I suggest ‘fat girls’ are not YOUR problem…

  5. I don’t think this should be any hyped up issue! She is 16 years old. In some countries, she would already be married with 3 or 4 kids. I think the real problem is the predatory type rape cases. I think there would be far less predators in this country, if there was way less fat girls in this country. I’m a single, white 30 year old guy. Who am I suppose to date? It seems any girls over 23 years old are either married or FAT!!!! So I guess I have to date someone between 18 and 22 years old. I guess I need to move overseas to Indonesia or the Philippines to date someone that is skinny! I can’t stand how everyone in this country is getting so fat but no one is supppose to say anything. Instead of worrying so much about the war in Iraq, maybe we should start worrying about the battle of the bulge within the US!

  6. Great article. Lets just hope everything turns out for her. As far as statutory rape goes, I beg to differ. At 16 I knew the risks of having sex and I chose not too. You are well aware of every aspect of it and I honestly feel if it is consensual, that should be it. It takes two and if she is willing to put out then it shouldn’t just be him getting in trouble. Teenagers have brains too and they need to learn that you can’t put blame elsewhere, you have to suffer the consequences of your own actions. It takes two to tango!

  7. Call it what it is or what you think it is – a racial and/or social class issue.

    In the South, I would entertain it is at least that. Things have been that way longer than I can remember and not just on issues of sex and all of its possible perversions thereof.

    I often say, “Church is a place for sinners…”

    Go ahead and have the intelligent conversation.

    It’s time.

  8. Wow, I was so caught up thinking what jokes people are going to make now, since Britney Spears is all of a sudden the girl with the morals in her family, i never thought of the rape angle.It’ll be interesting to follow up in the coming days.

  9. Hey Jonathan,

    Excellent work. But is there any reason you don’t explicitly mention the elephant in the room? You know what I’m talking about.

  10. well i believe their relationship is a long and truly good one so why the hype? they were together before he was an adult. just because he turned “of age” doesn’t mean they should break up. it is what it is. they are a happy couple. and were for a while. leave them be.

  11. Maybe I’m missing something…. or perhaps I am just not familiar with the laws in the state where this occurred (presumably California).

    Here in Michigan, the legal age of consent is 16 years old – which is, I believe, how old Jamie-Lynn is. That being the case, as far as I understand the law, she is old enough to consent to sex with anyone of any age (with the exception of a teacher or other similar person in a position of authority – which raises the age of consent to 18)

    So – She’s 16, there is no crime. Period.

    Is this not so?

  12. p.s. if they attended high school together in the past, is this still considered statutory rape? I think YES, my husband thinks NO.

  13. Opps. Thanks for the typo alert. I am not sure I agree on the facts in the Wilson case, however. The point of Wilson is that we cannot rely on prosecutorial discretion and instead should have Romeo and Juliet laws — like the one passed in Georgia after the scandal.

  14. I don’t think it’s that big of deal. Jamie and her boyfriend had been dating since he was in high school with her, and so they probly had sex as minors well before he turned 18. I also don’t think that Genarlow Wilson should have been to jail for having oral sex with a willing minor! Thats just crazy esp considering that he was only 17 at the time.

    Also just a note:

    There’s a typo in the first part of your article you mentioned that “Britney’s boyfriend, Casey Aldridge, is reportedly 19” when it should be JAMIE’S boyfriend.

  15. I, too, feel this is a great article. The fact that hardly anyone else is mentioning “statutory rape” in this case speaks volumes about our society.

    I wonder if the people who felt Genarlow Wilson was treated fairly are asking that Spears’ boyfriend be tried. I could be wrong, but I doubt that they are.

    Let’s put our cards on the table. Race plays a big part in how someone is treated in most states justice system.

  16. Michael:

    Thanks for the note. What is particularly worrisome is that some states never prosecute these cases while others do so with apparent vigor.

  17. Great article. I followed the Genarlow Wilson case closely, and when I heard the news of this mess last night the first thing I thought of was that case and the fact that there is likely NO chance of this young white couple, with Jamie a star, ever going through the hell that Wilson did. I don’t care if you think the laws serve a purpose or not – the fact that Wilson went to jail, and no one even mentions the fact that this was statuory rape in the Spears case, just underscores that the laws must be scrapped because they are and never will be applied equally. Thank you very much for blogging the point.

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