Thursday, January 26, 2012

Monster or Unjustly Prosecuted?

Out of West Virginia comes another example of problematic coverage of an incest prosecution.

In the middle of a long list of Grand Jury indictments, we get…

Jessica Lee McCullough, 443 Bond St., Cumberland, malicious wounding.
Rob Darrell Miller, 10 Buddy Lane, Carpendale, four counts of incest.
James Adam Cage, 28 Buddy Lane, Carpendale, burglary.

Sigh. Malicious wounding is a little vague, but you know someone got hurt. Burglary means someone stole something.

But “incest?” Does West Virginia have aggravated incest as a charge?

With just “incest” and no other details, we have no idea if the defendant is being accused of raping a child to whom he is legally or biologically related, or has an ongoing, loving relationship with another adult. There’s a huge difference (and there are other possibilities.) If he’s being prosecuted for consensual sex, then I’d like to know so that I can call attention to how laws need to be changed.

You think that if he’d forced himself on another adult, he would be charged with rape or assault, or if he he had done something with a minor, he’s be charged with statutory rape, rape, molestation, or something along those lines.

Such is the problem with “incest” charges without clarification. There's a world of difference between predatory assault and loving consanguinamory, even though most states still have laws against consanguinamory.
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