Woman Charged With Statutory Rape of Husband
Had Sex With 13-Year-Old Before Marrying Him
By Amy Worden apbnews.com
Aug. 23, 2000
CONYERS, Ga. (APBnews.com) -- A 21-year-old woman is charged with
statutory rape after giving birth to a child she conceived with a 13-year-old
-- who she has now legally married, authorities said.
Summer Jessica Strickland could face a maximum sentence of 20 years
for having sex with Tony Goss, who is now 14 years old. The couple
married earlier this month, only weeks after she gave birth to their baby.
The charges are based on an Oct. 10 sexual encounter in which their child
was conceived, said Rockland County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Ransom.
Law enforcement officials were notified by the Department of Family and
Children's Services following the birth of Strickland's child in July, Ransom
Strickland was arrested Aug. 17 and was released later that day on $5,000
bond, authorities said.
'There is no case'
Prosecutors argue that just because the two are now married does not
make their earlier sexual encounter legal. In Georgia, having sex with
anyone under the age of 16 who is not a spouse is considered statutory
Authorities said there is no age limit on marriage with the consent of the
"There is no case," said Strickland's attorney, Sal Serio, who declined to
elaborate, saying there were "privacy issues" involved.
Authorities said the only thing unusual about this case is that it involves a
woman and a teenage boy. "It's common when the tables are turned and
it's an older male," said Ransom.
Outdated, conflicting laws?
Legal scholars say the case raises compelling issues about sex and
"You have two [conflicting] policies here protecting underage minors from
having underage sex and a policy of keeping families together," said Linda
Elrod, a law professor at Washburn University in Nebraska who specializes
in family law. "I'm not sure a sex act should put someone in jail so that
they can't raise the child they created."
Elrod said there was a related case in Kansas that considered whether a
16-year-old boy should have to pay child support for a child he fathered
when he was 12. "You have public policy against people too young to form
She said she would not be surprised if the case raises challenges to what
may be considered outdated statutory rape laws.
"In many states you have a mature minor provision that allows minors to
have abortions without their parents' consent," said Elrod, adding that
sexual acts should be given the same legal consideration.
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This Page was created on 13th January, 2001