One would think that former U.S. diplomat Gons G. Nachman, 42, might have a few matters other than marriage on his mind as he faces sentencing for sex with teenage girls in the Congo and Brazil. However, Nachman asked United States District Judge Bruce Lee in Alexandria, Virginia to marry him to his fiance at his sentencing hearing. Lee declined. Nachman then made a “when in Rome” defense for his sex with young girls in foreign lands.
I have been before Judge Lee and have a great deal of respect for him. He showed great restraint in responding to Nachman’s request to marry his 21-year-old Brazilian fiancee. Lee noted that “There is a time and a place for everything. The Court finds that sentencing is neither the time nor the place.”
Nachman also surprised people with an argument that seemed to defend the right of middle age men to take teenage lovers in foreign countries. He has admitted that he had sex with 14- to 17-year-old girls while serving as a consular officer in Brazil and Congo. He insisted that the court should not adopt American perceptions of such relations. “In the Congo, women develop quickly, both physically and emotionally, due to the substantial responsibility society places on them from early childhood. . . . In Kinshasa, the vast majority of teenagers are sexually active with men that are substantially older. … Their main concern is marrying young girls to men with financial stability, a concern dating thousands of years and cutting across cultural lines.”
Charging someone for sex in another country is a relative recent trend due to changes in federal law. It was previously the domain of the host country to bring charges — an approach that would have made Nachman’s argument more relevant.
He is now looking at a requested 20-year sentence from the government.
For the full story, click here.