Father & Daughter Charged With Incest After Affair -- But Should They Be?

If you're going to start a sexual relationship with a relative, might not want to do it in Utah. They really don't take kindly to that whole incest thing in Utah. A father-daughter pair were arrested on third-degree incest charges after they began a sexual relationship even though the woman was over 21 years old when the romance started. Now they could spend five years in prison.


The woman reportedly had been put up for adoption when she was a child -- unclear at what age exactly -- and only met her biological father for the first time when she was 21 and he was 52. A year later, they began a sexual relationship.

Because both of them knew about their biological connection, they were arrested, even though they are consenting adults. Utah has tightened its incest laws -- even eliminating artificial insemination as a possible defense. So if you happen to meet your sperm donor years later and think he's a hunk, you are totally out of luck.

I don't understand the whole incest attraction, but it's nothing new. Nor is it solely the province of the depraved, uneducated, or mentally ill. One of my favorite authors, Anais Nin, wrote extensively of her affair with her father. Author Kathryn Harrison wrote about the same thing. Neither was arrested.

I can definitely see the law coming down hard on incest when an adult takes advantage of a child -- that's rape. But two consenting adults is much more of a gray area. Obviously, the woman has some kind of daddy issues, but lots of women do. And the guy sounds like a real loser, but lots of men are. Should these two serve time because the object of their dysfunction is their close relative?

There is the increased chance of cognitive disorders in a child when parents are closely related. But what of parents who test positive for some disorder that almost surely will be passed down to their offspring if they procreate? No one arrests them. Besides, people don't have to have kids.

Just putting it out there for debate. I think the whole idea is pretty skeevy myself. But people who kill people with cars usually spend less time in prison.

On the whole, I think it's a good idea to keep incest illegal because in the vast majority of cases, incest is going to be a one-sided manipulative act perpetrated by the adult with more power. Not to mention that it's a big world, surely fathers and daughters can find someone else to date.

Do you think that incest between consenting adults should be harshly punished?


Image via SLR Jester/Flickr

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