Crime

Lest You Think Southerners Are Comfortable With Incest

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Here's a weird wrinkle in Georgia's sex offender law that I discovered while researching this week's column: In addition to people who engaged in oral sex ("sodomy") as teenagers, the list of  offenders who are required to register includes people who commit "incest" as teenagers or adults. Section 16-6-22 of the Georgia code defines incest this way (emphasis added):

A person commits the offense of incest when the person engages in sexual intercourse with a person to whom he or she knows he or she is related either by blood or by marriage as follows:

(1) Father and daughter or stepdaughter;

(2) Mother and son or stepson;

(3) Brother and sister of the whole blood or of the half blood;

(4) Grandparent and grandchild;

(5) Aunt and nephew; or

(6) Uncle and niece.

This definition covers not only parents' sexual abuse of their children but consensual sex between relatives. One of the plaintiffs in the federal suit challenging Georgia's sex offender restrictions, for example, was accused of having sex with his sister when he was 13. Such behavior is certainly troubling, but it does not indicate that he's a child molester. In fact, the incest definition extends to sex between grown siblings as well as sex between people who are not even related by blood, such as a woman and her aunt's husband. Yet the minimum punishment is 10 years in prison, followed by registration as a sex offender, with all the restrictions that entails, for at least 10 years more.

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  1. “One of the plaintiffs in the federal suit challenging Georgia’s sex offender restrictions, for example, was accused of having sex with his sister when he was 13.”

    So how old was the sister at the time, that seems to be the more relevant question? Also, what kind of sex are we talking about?

  2. I see father/son, mother/daughter, uncle/nephew couplings are not listed. Who knew Georgia was a haven for gay incest?

  3. I once knew a woman who had a sexual relationship with her brother since puberty. She was devastated when her brother became engaged and (this really sucks) he was killed by drunk driver the night before the wedding. I lost track of her many years ago, but I don’t think she ever got over losing her brother to another woman and the grave. Twas a strange thing indeed.

  4. So, you know what a Georgia girl says after she has sex for the first time?

    Get offa me daddy, yer crushin’ my smokes.

    [scattered laughter and applause]

    Thanks, I’m here all week.

  5. Ah, yes, the hilarious jokes about Southerners and incest.

    Meanwhile, the most prominent person to have been adjudicated to be a participant in incest is . . . Rudy Giuliani of *New York.* See

    http://tinyurl.com/2zmwgb

    So let’s rewrite TWC’s joke, shall we:

    How many male Presidential candidates from New York does it take to screw in a light bulb?

    None, they’re too busy screwin’ their cousins to screw in any light bulbs.

  6. Sounds like less of a wrinkle and more of a design feature.

    Noting in advance that I do not desire incest with any family members – and in any case I have none in Georgia – the reasons never to live in that state are piling up.

  7. Sounds like a good time for a rousing chorus of “I’m My Own Grandpa”.

    BTW: I very much enjoy 18th century English novels. I would say that mother/son incest is alluded to in at least 50% of them. cf: Tom Jones

  8. I hate to keep picking on Giuliani, but . . .

    Sorry, I couldn’t keep straight face while saying that. So let’s just go to another Giuliani joke:

    “Now, there are plenty of things that have always bothered us about “America’s Mayor,” but the whole cousin-marrying thing has always been right at the top of the list. We imagine it went down like this. Rudy and his wife Regina Peruggi were sitting around the living room one evening, talking about their day, when Rudy says, “So I got a call from my cousin Frank Bartolini today-” and Regina says, “You mean my cousin Frank Bartolini.” Rudy: “I don’t think so, he’s my Uncle Johnny’s oldest kid.” Regina: “Johnny Donzetti? My grandma’s brother Johnny Donzetti?” Voila, annulment. We’re sure the rest of America will be *just fine* with that.”

    http://tinyurl.com/37kmso

  9. Soooo its ok for a mother to molest her daughter but not ok for her to molest her son??

  10. Aresen,

    Forget 18th-century English novels, what about Greek mythology?

    “Oedipus, you m_____f_____!”

    Of course, Greece is in *southern* Europe.

  11. Of course, on this forum, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention *Star Wars.*

  12. Mad Max, you are killing me. 🙂 Good point though.

    Ah, yes, the hilarious jokes about Southerners and incest.

    Didn’t anyone fill you in? It is perfectly okay to beat up on Southerners. That does not come under Bigotry in the dictionary. I think it’s still okay to beat up Blondes as well.

  13. I used to live in Cincinnati and now live in Massachusetts. All the hillbilly jokes I heard there about Kentuckians I hear up here about Mainers.
    It took me awhile to find what Maine residents are called. I mostly hear them referred to as Mainiacs and they call us Massholes. Ain’t state pride something? Being proud of where your born makes as little sense as being proud to be .

  14. Perhaps I am mistaken here, but it sounds like if your parent marries the parent of your spouse it would become illegal for you to continue a sexual relationship as you are now half-blood siblings by marriage

  15. I know a lady who (legally)adopted a teenage boy and then later married him. I suppose this would be a very bad move in GA.

  16. TWC,

    Blondes don’t beat you with a tire-iron if you insult their families. Southerners have been known to do that.

    I suggest a new strategy: Stick to blonde jokes. 🙂

  17. I didn’t realize that the pointy parentheses (the shift comma and period, I don’t know what they’re called) would not show up in a post along with all they contain. The end of the previous post should read,

    “…as being proud to be (insert color here).”

  18. It is perfectly okay to beat up on Southerners. That does not come under Bigotry in the dictionary. I think it’s still okay to beat up Blondes as well.

    Hey!! You damn Yankee, I resemble that remark.

  19. We don’t have incest laws in Michigan. I hope that never changes. Two consenting adults and all that…

  20. Bulucanagria,
    Yeah the less-than / greater-than signs are used to delineate HTML code so your browser hides them and tries to interpret what is between them.

  21. it sounds like if your parent marries the parent of your spouse it would become illegal for you to continue a sexual relationship as you are now half-blood siblings by marriage

    No, half-blood siblings share one parent.

  22. I think it’s still okay to beat up Blondes as well.

    And lawyers.

  23. I was beaten by a blond with a tire iron once.

  24. Hey!! You damn Yankee, I resemble that remark.

    My nine year old daughter is blond and we have begun to warn her about what she’s up against with blond jokes. Told her a few. She grudgingly laughed at a couple and then made that Marge Simpson noise in her throat.

    Figured we needed to begin now because she is my Renaissance Girl and is not only blond but beautiful, and brilliant as well, which means she’ll be an all the more of a perfect target for teasing as she goes through school.

  25. This blonde woman walks up to an officer and says, “Can you help me? I’ve locked my keys in my car.” So the officer bends a coat hanger and feeds it through the window, moving it back and forth trying to catch the lock when suddenly, the another blonde sitting in the passenger seat says, “A little more to the left officer.”

    A blonde woman and her pregnant sister are out shopping when the sister unexpectedly goes into labor. The blonde frantically calls 911 and says, “Help, my sister has gone into labor! What should I do?!” The 911 operator asks, “Is this her first child?” To which the blonde replies, “Of course not you idiot, this is her sister!”

  26. They just changed the law in Arkansas. Now when you get divorced you are still legally brother and sister.

  27. I’ve lived in Massachusetts and Rhode Island all my life and never heard any hillbilly jokes about Mainers.

  28. I remember coming home from school with Pollack jokes only to find out that they were updated Irish jokes. except this one:

    Didya hear about the 300 Pollacks that drowned?

    Tried to hijack a train to Cuba.

    Oh, and some of those old Pollack jokes are now Blonde jokes. Big Sigh.

  29. A blonde was pulled over by a blonde police officer. The officer walks up to the window and says
    “I need to see your ID.”
    The driver starts looking through her purse and says “What does that look like?”
    The officer sighs, irritated, and replies “It fits in your hand and has a picture of you on it.”
    The driver continues to look through her purse, until she finally grabs her compact mirror.
    “Here – this is me.” she states, giving it to the officer. The officer grabs it, looks at it, and then hands it back to the driver in a huff.
    “If you had told me you were an officer, too, we could have avoided all this!”

  30. It says nothing about adoption?

  31. Southerners are comfortable with incest, ya’ll.
    Come to think of it “comfortable” does do it justice.

  32. From last year’s New York Times:

    http://tinyurl.com/ywzp7z

    May 10, 2006

    Jersey city: “A West New York man accused of impregnating his daughter twice and ordering her to throw the two babies down a third-floor airshaft — killing one — rejected a plea deal on Monday that would have given him a 25-year sentence, and the case will now probably go to trial. In a hearing in State Superior Court, the defendant, Jose Julio Ventura, 44, said he believed that he could have gotten a better deal. Mr. Ventura is accused of aggravated assault, attempted murder and aggravated sexual assault in the death of one baby, injuries to the second and the abuse of his daughter, Lucila Ventura, 18.”

  33. And here’s a story ripped from today’s headlines. A right-wing, reactionary, theocratic, fundamentalist court in California has upheld the state’s incest statute. The story gives an account of the crime:

    http://www.metnews.com/articles/2007/scot112807.htm

    “Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    “California’s ban on incest does not violate the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled yesterday. . . .

    “[Gerry Glenn] Scott was charged under the [incest] statute after his daughter told family members about an encounter that occurred in December of 2004, just days after her eighteenth birthday.

    “Scott’s daughter had accompanied him to his home after they had celebrated her birthday with other family members at her sister’s nearby residence. Raised by another relative, Scott’s daughter had seen her father only occasionally during childhood.

    “Scott’s girlfriend, who also resided at the home, was awake when the two arrived, but went to sleep on a couch in the living room. Scott and his daughter went into Scott’s bedroom to get some socks and, as she planned to spend the night, Scott’s daughter laid down on the bed fully clothed.

    “. . . Scott had intercourse with her for approximately two minutes.

    “After the encounter, Scott’s daughter attempted to leave, but found the residence’s front security door locked. Scott opened the door, telling his daughter not to tell anyone about the encounter . . .” but she did, the snitch.

  34. Why all the jokes? Sullum’s post indicates that he’s cool with incest between blood relatives (as long as they are consenting adults). Why aren’t the rest of you with the program here?

    You notice that the relationships prohibited are ones that either have a genetic relationship and/or between a presumed authority figure. A relationship on a more equal footing, such as stepbrother/stepsister, is OK. The intent seems to be to prevent coercive use of family authority.

  35. Something you should never forget about blondes.

  36. AFAICT from the statute, in a parent-child case (for instance), both have committed incest.

  37. Incest is relative.

    Incest – the game the whole family can play.

    CB
    Atlanta born. Never left.

  38. First cuzzins is OK!!!

  39. “Figured we needed to begin now because she is my Renaissance Girl and is not only blond but beautiful, and brilliant as well, which means she’ll be an all the more of a perfect target for teasing as she goes through school.”

    Actually, she won’t be teased much, if at all. The perfect combination of beauty and brains.

  40. Blondes don’t beat you with a tire-iron if you insult their families. Southerners have been known to do that.

    I suggest a new strategy: Stick to blonde jokes.

    Geez, is somebody a tad sensitive.

    We got the hint Max, you don’t like these jokes.

  41. First cousins are OK in Michigan too!

  42. In the Scott case the court of appeal of the state california argues that there was a public interest in criminalizing consensual incest. The three reasons for its decisions are:

    1. maintaining the family unit
    2. protecting the free consent of weaker parties
    3. guarding against inbreeding

    Yet, at a a closer look not a single one of them is really rational. In Germany the constitutional court is deciding about an incest case at the time being as well. And you can find the convincing arguments of the defendants on

    http://www.unfehlbar.net/index.php/incest-as-a-crime-10-truths/

    This is a blog article that evaluates 10 common wisdoms about incest and incest punishment. It might be of interest in this context.

  43. How many southerners does it take to change a lightbulb?
    Just 1. As long as they can ask their slave to change it.
    How many Southerners does it take to start a new family?
    Two. First cousins/Siblings

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