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Woman weds 15-year-old boy

Bride in jail, union still legal with loophole in Georgia law
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A 37-year-old woman married a 15-year-old boy in Gainesville, Georgia last week in the driveway of judge who performed the ceremony. 

The honeymoon for the bride and groom hasn’t exactly been wedded bliss; Lynnette Clark is now in jail on charges of child molestation.  She is also pregnant with the couple’s child.  The boy is currently in a juvenile detention center. 

The boy‘s grandmother said the two carried out a relationship for the past year.  When she found out about the affair last month, she notified police. 

Though, a loophole in Georgia law makes the union legal.  The age of consent marriage law is 16.  However, if the female is 15 and pregnant, then one can marry even if underage. 

“On the one hand, it‘s unlawful to have any sexual relations or sexual acts with a minor under 16 years old,” said former federal prosecutor Mary Fulginiti.  “But, on the other hand, it‘s okay to marry one without parental consent if that individual is pregnant or they have a child together.”

Fulginiti said the defense faces a hard case proving sexual acts were validated by authorizing a marriage license.

According to psychologist Claire Ciliotta, these lop-sided relationships emotionally damage both young women and young men.

“Often in these cases, these women have experienced not good relationships with older men when they were younger.  So they choose, they select soft, young men that they can control,” said Ciliotta.  “This is not about love at all.” 

Despite the marriage, police said Clark will not be permitted to go anywhere near her teen husband.