Mother lobbies to change age of consent in Georgia - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Mother lobbies to change age of consent in Georgia

Posted: Updated:
  • NEWSMore>>

  • 5th Street police precinct opens in Phenix City

    5th Street police precinct opens in Phenix City

    Monday, September 15 2014 9:05 PM EDT2014-09-16 01:05:09 GMT
    Phenix City opened the doors to its 5th Street South Police Precinct to the public Monday, Sept. 15. The renovated home-turned-police headquarters will house three police officers, giving them access toMore >>
    Phenix City opened the doors to its 5th Street South Police Precinct to the public Monday, Sept. 15. The renovated home-turned-police headquarters will house three police officers, giving them access to the technology and records from the central office, right there in their coverage areas.More >>
  • When disciplining a child goes too far

    When disciplining a child goes too far

    Monday, September 15 2014 8:57 PM EDT2014-09-16 00:57:18 GMT
    Pending child abuse charges against star Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson has brought spanking back under public scrutiny after photos of his bruised child surfaced. News Leader 9's Brittany
    More >>
    Pending child abuse charges against star Minnesota Viking running back Adrian Peterson has brought spanking back under public scrutiny after photos of his bruised child surfaced. News Leader 9's Brittany Dionne spoke with local experts to find out when spanking becomes abuse. More >>
  • Opelika veteran receives Medal of Honor

    Opelika veteran receives Medal of Honor

    Monday, September 15 2014 8:47 PM EDT2014-09-16 00:47:09 GMT
    On Monday afternoon, a local veteran received an important military honor. President Obama  awarded retired Army Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins in Opelika with the Medal of Honor at the White
    More >>
    On Monday afternoon, a local veteran received an important military honor. President Obama  awarded retired Army Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins in Opelika with the Medal of Honor at the White House.
    More >>
SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) -

When is a teen mature enough to say yes to sex? It's an uncomfortable question for parents.

In Georgia, a 16 year old can have sex with an 18 year old, a 25 year old, or even a 50 year old. As long as the adult isn't a teacher, coach or in a position of official power, it isn't a crime.

"He started picking her up from the school bus stop," said Josette Smith.

In many ways, Smith's 16-year-old daughter is still a little girl. Her bedroom walls are decorated with cartoon strips and the Lord's Prayer.

She has stuffed bunnies on her dresser, a purple plastic crown and baby lotion.

Boys hadn't paid much attention to Smith's daughter, until one man, a 25 year old, nine years her senior, took her home and the two had sex.

"He's a natural born loser," said Smith.

Smith said the man sent her daughter poems and told her he loved her and would marry her in a year.

The girl was hurt and embarrassed when her mother discovered the relationship and the teen found out the man's promises were false.

Smith tried to report it to police. She was shocked when she found out.

"The statute lats it out very clearly," said Savannah Law Professor Elizabeth Migale. "The age of 16 is the age of consent in Georgia."

As it turns out, the age was increased in 1995.

"The age of consent in Georgia used to be 14," said Migale. "In fact, years ago, you could get married at 14."

Migale said nationwide a 16 or 17 year old age of consent is pretty typical. Lawmakers justify the reasoning by saying "we let them drive at 16, we let them start making decisions for themselves."

Smith said that's just not fair. She said the playing field is unequal between a 25 year old and a 16 year old.

"If we get a strong enough lobby, that that age of consent could be raised," said Migale. "But it is something that would have to be decided by the legislature."

Smith is lobbying for a change. She's written her lawmakers, but Georgia's 2014 legislative session is over.

In the meantime, she continues to encourage her daughter.

"I tell her, I said ‘hold your head up. Hold your head up. We're going to get through this. Hold your head up.'"

Even though it is legal for a 16 year old to have sex with an adult in Georgia, under Georgia's child pornography laws, it is illegal for that adult to send an explicit text or photo to anyone under 18 or to leave an explicit voicemail.

Copyright 2014 WTOC. All rights reserved.

Powered by WorldNow

1909 Wynnton Road
Columbus, Ga. 31906

FCC Public File
publicfile@wtvm.com
706-494-5400
EEO Report
Closed Captioning

All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Worldnow and WTVM. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.