Monday, November 14, 2005


Family values, Georgia division

GAINESVILLE, Georgia - District Attorney Lee Darragh said the Georgia law on child molestation, which says that a person under age 16 legally cannot consent to a sexual act, does not take into consideration whether the minor is married or not.

37-year-old Lynnette Clark will appear in court for a committal hearing on Nov. 30, said Darragh, who said he would not comment further on the case.

Clark was charged with child molestation after being accused of having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy whom she married last week.

A Published report quoted several unidentified members of the boy's family as saying that Lynnette Clark is pregnant with the boy's child and that they were married Tuesday. Judy Hayles, the boy's grandmother, said she received a notice of the marriage from Dawson County because she is the boy's guardian.

Clark was arrested Wednesday and brought to the Hall County Detention Center. The Hall County sheriff's office did not immediately return phone calls Monday seeking further detail.

Hayles said the relationship had been going on for nearly two years. She said her grandson and Clark's teenage son had been close friends and that the grandson spent many weekends at Clark's home.

Now Hayles said she is working to end the marriage.

``This marriage is going to be terminated,'' she said.

Dawson County Probate Court Judge Jennifer Burt said in a statement that she reviewed the marriage application and applied the appropriate provisions under state law before issuing the license but she had no additional comment on the matter because it is being investigated.

Georgia law provides an exemption to age requirements for marriage if the couple have a child or the female can show she is pregnant. In Georgia, one must be 18 to marry without parental consent or 16 to marry with parental consent.

Gainesville, about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, is the seat of Hall County. Dawson is an adjoining county.

[Photo: WTSP, Tampa]


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