Woman arrested for having a baby by 13-year-old husband

CONYERS, Ga. - A 21-year-old woman was charged with statutory rape after she gave birth to a child fathered by her then-13-year-old husband.

Summer Jessica Strickland of Conyers was arrested last week. According to Newton County records, she married her boyfriend, now 14, on Aug. 7, five weeks after the baby was born.

The case presents a kind of legal paradox. Although the couple was allowed under Georgia law to marry because they are parents, it was illegal for them to have sex before marriage.

Georgia law describes statutory rape as ''sexual intercourse with any person under the age of 16 and not his or her spouse.'' The maximum sentence is 20 years in prison.

Authorities are basing Strickland's charges on an Oct. 10 sexual encounter that led to her daughter's July 4 birth. District Attorney Richard Read said marriage doesn't make any previous sexual encounters legal.

''Regardless of what their relationship was, the boy is still 13,'' he said. ''We'll try to determine what exactly happened.''

Strickland, who is out of jail on bond and at home with the baby girl, said Tuesday the arrest shocked her family.

''He's my husband,'' she said. ''I just don't understand.''

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