In the same week that Silvia Johnson’s 30 year sentence for giving drugs and alcohol to teenage boys and having sex with them makes news, we now have the story of a 37 year old “cool mom” and her involvement with a 15-year-old. However, Lisa Lynette Clark does Silvia Johnson one better. She married her teenage boyfriend.
As a magistrate judge, Johnny Tallant’s most frequent duty is officiating weddings. His return address decal features a set of wedding bells.
But Tallant, who has kept a photograph of every ceremony he has performed, will never forget the wedding that occurred Nov. 8 in his driveway in northern Forsyth County.
That was the day Tallant married Lisa Lynnette Clark, 37, identified on her marriage license as Lisa C. Howard, and a 15-year-old Gainesville boy.
“I knew he was young,” Tallant said, “but I had no idea she was 37. I thought she might have been in her 20s.”
He also said Monday that it was obvious the woman was pregnant.
Since Wednesday, Clark has been held at the Hall County Detention Center on charges of child molestation. She is accused of having sex with the 15-year-old boy who now is her husband. Bond has been set at $10,000.
It literally boggles the mind. If I’m reading this article correctly, apparently it was illegal for them to have sex but not illegal for them to marry? And they actually found a judge willing to marry them? And he didn’t happen to notice that he was marrying a grown woman to a teenage boy? Again, adult/child sex is one of the places where I draw the line.
There are just so many levels of wrong here that I hardly know where to begin to address them. I’d put Clark and Johnson pretty much in the same category as Pamela Smart or Mary Kay Letourneau, and I’m sure I’d say the same thing if she were a man messing around with a 15-year-old girl or boy.
Of course, not everyone else thinks the same way. And there maybe some questions to discuss.
On the other hand, this does bring up a discussion about the age of consent. Do we really think that 16-year-olds should be able to drive but shouldn’t be able to make decisions about sexual behavior? And, if we say 16 is okay, why not 14?
…Are partners with drastically different ages always mismatched where “power, authority, maturity” are concerned?
I’m not sure the driving analogy quite fits, as sex and driving are two different things. We don’t let kids drive legally at 12 or 13 either, for a whole plethora of reasons, but mainly because the overwhelming majority of 12-or-13-year-olds aren’t ready for the responsibility that comes with getting behind the wheel. I think the same thing can probably be said when it comes to sex.
That said, I have less of a problem with teens having consensual sex with each other, because at least there’s a better chance that they might be on equal footing on a number of levels. That might be the case in some adult/child pairings, but I doubt it’s true of most of those pairings. And having seen some of the damage that results when children are taken advantage of sexually by adults, I think there’s a case to be made for society having an interest in protecting the overwhelming majority of children from that danger. And I’d rather do that then toss out all laws concerning adult/child sex.
I said earlier that when I happened to engage in a discussion on the whole question of adult/child sex (I’m no longer using the term “intergenerational”) — with someone who doesn’t see a need for laws against, say, a 37-year-old having sex with a 15-year-old — I think I come of sounding pretty conservative. And just feels weird to me, because I don’t think my position is so much conservative as it’s just common sense, and maybe a bit colored by the reality that I’m a parent.
I just can’t see a scenarios in which adult/child sex is OK. Maybe somebody else can? Am I missing something here?