The parents of a 15-year-old girl can not stop their daughter from continuing her sexual relationship with her 47-year-old uncle, a German court has ruled.
The girl, identified only as Josephine, ran away with her uncle in 2015 when she was 14, the Mirror reported. They were found in the South of France, and she told police she ran away voluntarily and had fallen in love with her uncle, who is related to her by marriage only.
When Josephine returned home, her parents forbade her from seeing her uncle. She left home and stopped attending school. Her parents then admitted her into a psychiatric hospital for five months.
Josephine’s parents sought a court order to stop the relationship, claiming that it was endangering her welfare. But the teen challenged the court order and won. The court ruled that because the age of sexual consent in Germany is 14, her own wishes have to be taken into consideration.
The judges said that Josephine risked “serious damage in her social-emotional and mental development” if she were to cease her relationship with her uncle. They did, however, emphasize that their decision was not an endorsement or approval of the relationship.
“The court does not offer any opinion on the non-judicial question of whether a 47-year-old married man should return the love of a 14-year-old [who is] fired by adolescent affection and enthusiasm,” they wrote.“The relationship may be socially undesirable and unacceptable, but it is not covered by criminal law, and not categorically forbidden.”
The age of consent is different in various European countries. In the U.K., Spain and Benelux countries, the age of consent is 16, The Telegraph reported. Italy, Austria and Portugal are the only other countries where the age of consent is 14.
German law can protect against the abuse of a minor when the partner is much older, but the minor has to file a complaint with police.
“Basically, the law assumes that a 15-year-old is mature enough to decide about his or her sex life,” attorney Robert Ufer told Spiegel magazine, says the Mirror.