A couple face 15 years in prison after being caught by police officers having sex. Nope, they weren't having it while in the middle of committing murder. Nor were they robbing a bank. And they were both legal adults and both consenting. So what's the prob? Well, it appears that since the 28-year-old male, Kelcey Nicholas, was sleeping with a 21-year-old female, Lataura Jarrett, who is actually his stepdaughter -- the sheriff decided to use the incest laws to charge them. Even though, you know, they're not blood-related.
It all started when cops checked in on Nicholas over a previous charge and reportedly walked in on him having sex with Jarrett. (Don't these cops knock?!)
Ordinarily, couples are not prosecuted using incest laws if they are not blood-related and they are both over the age of consent -- but the sheriff in West Virginia was so incensed (incested?) by their actions that he decided to throw the book at them. Nicholas is still married to Jarrett's mother, so he cited a law that said a daughter is the "natural offspring of a person's husband or wife."
They were charged with seven counts of incest.
Jarrett was about 16 when Nicholas married her mother, and she had previously referred to him as her "father." Unclear is how old the mom is since Nicholas is only 28, seven years older than his stepdaughter. Also, while media reports say he is 28, Nicholas' arrest record says he is 30. So, you figure out the math here.
Anyway, how about the charges? Are they fair?
Surely, what Nicholas did wasn't right. He cheated on his wife. He used her daughter to do it. You have to wonder about the daughter too, having sex with her mom's husband.
I can see this law being necessary in the case of underage children -- predators should have every law available thrown at them, and incest should be one of them even though the child may not be biologically related.
There are lots of good reasons to discourage sex between relatives, even ones not related by blood and over the age of consent, because of all of the mind games and brainwashing and traumatizing that can ensue when an older person in a position of power and authority takes advantage of a younger person. It's why teachers still aren't looked on favorably for having affairs with students, even if those students are over 18.
On the other hand, love is a weird thing. It's possible to fall in love with someone you see every day and have known since you were a kid or teen. Early imprinting can be very powerful.
But if you're going to look close to home for your lover, you take your chances if it's too close to home. You could end up in jail, your reputation in shreds.
On the other hand, 15 years in jail might be rather excessive in a case like this.
Do you think this couple should go to jail?
Image via Nicholas County, West Virginia Police