If you've ever had one of those nightmares where you're suddenly back in high school, and you're an adult, and you have to take a math exam but realize you haven't used math in 20 years and have no idea what the hell math is (okay, so maybe that's just me), you might find this next story a bit hard to fathom. But a 31-year-old woman apparently wanted to go back to high school. She wanted it so badly that she lied to everyone and pretended to be an orphaned 15-year-old.
Charity Johnson, 31, was arrested on fraud charges after her true identity, that of an adult woman, not a 15-year-old teen, was discovered. Charity spent almost an entire year enrolled as a sophomore at a Christian school in Texas. She also lived with a woman, Tamica Lincoln, who felt sorry for her and thought she was an orphaned child who needed help. She told KLTV:
I sympathized with her and invited her into my home. I took her in as a child, did her hair, got her clothes and shoes.
Officials are unclear why the woman posed as a teen, but there is some speculation that she did it to find a place to live. At any rate, it appears she excelled in high school, and made a lot of friends. Both teachers and students were "crying" when they found out what happened.
While she definitely took advantage of people's trust -- especially her guardian -- it doesn't sound like she did any real damage. She was making friends, getting an education. Of course, con men (and women) must be punished, but she didn't steal from anyone. It sounds like she needs help more than anything.
Johnson isn't the first adult to pretend to be a student and get away with it -- it's not that uncommon. One of the most infamous cases is that of James Hogue, a man in his early 30s, who famously enrolled as a freshman in Princeton. In an interview, he explained that he had a deep desire to be someone other than who he was.
Johnson may feel something similar. But she shouldn't be treated with kid gloves either. If she is anything like Hogue, she will keep doing this, and could even graduate to worse crimes, like he did.
Do you think she should go to jail?
Image via KTLV