Nicola Yates was 20 years old when she went on the website Genes Reunited, looking for her biological father. She tracked down Andrew Butler, then 40 years old, and the father-daughter got to know one another ... a little too well. It seems that although Butler was in a relationship with another woman (clearly unrelated to him, and closer to his age), he and Yates had a "highly charged, emotional reunion" that evolved into a "boyfriend-girlfriend" relationship. CRINGE central!
Two years later, they were arrested and admitted to carrying on an "illicit affair," which landed Butler in jail for four months, and Yates had 18 months of community service. But apparently they learned nothing from either sentence, because they started up the affair again and were arrested last September. Now, they're facing jail time for a SECOND TIME. OMG.
Nicola claims that she's over the whole thing and just wants the court case to be over, like ripping off a Band-Aid:
I want to move on with my life. I got in touch with him in the beginning because I wanted a proper father-daughter relationship. I hadn't seen him since I was very little. I don't really know how or why it happened, why things developed the way they did. I can honestly say I will never see him ever, ever again. I don't want to have anything to do with him ever again.
For some reason (maybe because they repeated their offense almost immediately after fulfilling their sentences?), I don't believe her. BUT -- I really hope that the court doesn't send these two to jail. Because that really won't accomplish anything. Clearly, community service and jail time didn't work the first time around.
Yes, incest and the kind of relationship Nicola and her father have carried on (and off) is wrong and makes our skin crawl. But how is it the government's job to intervene? If Andy had forced himself on her, that would be a whole different story. However, it seems, as screwed up as this is, like it was a mutual, consensual relationship. The two of them don't need to be thrown in jail AGAIN. What they need is some damn good psychotherapy!
And if Nicola's really telling the truth about never wanting to start up with Andrew again, that's even more reason for her to get psychiatric support. How's she going to move on and have a normal relationship with a regular guy after this on her own? It seems to me like that will be a challenge for her emotionally and mentally. I guess the same is true for Andy, but I feel like he's the guiltier party here, as the more mature one and the father for crying out loud! He obviously needs psychiatric help for a plethora of reasons.
With hope, these two get the support they need to cope with what they did and then successfully move on ... for good.
What do you think -- is it the government's place to intervene here? Should they go to jail?
Image via The.Comedian/Flickr