Americans like to think that we live in the land of the free. But after one woman stepped forward to share her story, you might start to question that. After a 24-year-old man had sex with a teenage girl and got her pregnant during a one-night stand, the young woman, then 15, was “forced” to marry him. The reason she was “forced” to marry had to do with a legal loophole that pedophiles are abusing.
Because seventeen states in America have no lower age limit when it comes to marriage, when 15-year-old Keri had a one-night stand with 24-year-old Paul, who got her pregnant, she was forced to marry him so he could avoid prosecution for statutory rape.
Paul demanded that the teenage girl bend to his will and put his ring on her finger so the charges against him would just disappear and “go away.” Because Keri’s father liked Paul and agreed that he didn’t want him to get in trouble for engaging in sexual relations with his underage daughter, Keri’s father “traded” her for a case of beer.
While Paul brought a case of cheap beer over to Keri’s home, he handed it over to her dad and asked him to sign the marriage certificate. It was just enough of a bribe to convince the teenage girl’s father to sign away her freedom.
Paul targeted Keri in the state of South Carolina. Because the state allows men of any age to marry children, he abused the law to get around the fact that he had committed a crime, raping an underage girl.
Leave it to the British to expose this twisted “legal loophole” in American marriage laws. They have produced a documentary called America’s Child Brides, which exposes stories like Keri’s in which young women, all under age, are traded and forced to marry so the sexual predators who targeted them because of their age could get away with their crime.
When police discovered that Paul impregnated Keri when she was just 15, they launched an investigation.
Paul was introduced to Keri through her cousin. They had sex one night, and she fell pregnant after that. Paul used alcohol to influence Keri’s decision to have sex with him. She remembered just what happened when talking to the BBC.
“It was basically my birthday weekend, hanging out and drinking. And then I got pregnant,” she said.
Although South Carolina allows children as young as sixteen to consent to sex, Paul knew he was in hot water and decided to take advantage of the loophole that allows South Carolina children to “marry your rapist.”
Paul was terrified of the statutory rape charge so decided that if he married Keri, the police might stop bothering him. Keri’s father was supportive, so long as he got something in return. Paul knew exactly what that was – a case of beer.
Paul got her dad “drunk” and then had him sign the marriage certificate.
“If my dad had wanted to, he could have pressed charges. Paul talked my dad into signing the marriage license for us.”
Keri is not the only girl experiencing this in America.