It Depends on How You Define "Incest"

A Nicholas County (West Virginia) deputy and a state policeman went to arrest 28-year old Kelcey Nicholas for violating his home confinement. They arrived to find Nicholas having sex with 21-year-old Lataura Jarrett. Nicholas is married to Jarrett's mother, so he is her stepfather. Jarrett is married to another man. After consulting with the county attorney, police charged both Nicholas and Jarrett with incest, a felony that carries a 5- to 15-year sentence. West Virginia state law includes "the natural daughter of a person's husband or wife" in its definition of "daughter." 

You can see why the law is written this way: to protect children in the family home from sexual assault by a stepparent. But should it apply to a 21-year-old woman? Jarrett was 16 when her mother married Nicholas, a man only seven years older than her. Jarrett moved out of the family home when she became an adult, but the article does not make clear how old she was then. The two have been charged with seven counts of incest each. If there was sexual contact between the two before Jarrett reached the age of majority, it would only make sense that Nicholas would be charged with more counts. The news article does not say how far back the charges go. -via Arbroath

Should two consenting adults who are related only by marriage be charged with incest?

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In a perfect justice system, this would be decided on a case-by-case basis. But you and I both know that such discretion is what got these two charged in the first place. They happened to be arrested by a police department who adheres to the letter instead of the spirit of the law. WHO makes the call is often more important than the facts of the case.
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I would suggest that since he is only 7 years older than she, and she was 16 at the time he married her mother (he was 23, and what was the mother thinking?) he was never really a father-figure to her. If not, and probably not, a controlling/guiding/authoritative figure in her life, they should not be charged, since he was not a father to her. Had he been 17 years older, and may have been a father-figure to her, that would be different. That would be my view on the legal situation.
Having sex with your wife's daughter, your step-daughter, just isn't right, whatever the age or relationship. Even if no parental/authoritative relationship really exists, he was still probably taking advantage of his step-daughter.
Over all, leave them alone to seek therapy as needed for their own situations.
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I'm having a hard one with this question. Ethically, it's disgusting but I'm not sure the govt. should interfere with 2 consenting adults pigs.

I find the Woody Allen offense a lot more disturbing than this but maybe that's because we know more of the story.
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