LOS ANGELES – Jamie Lynn Spears may not be the only one who is expecting. Casey Aldridge, the boyfriend Jamie Lynn says got her pregnant, could also be "expecting" — a visit from people wearing badges.
The Internet is abuzz with the question: Since Jamie Lynn is 16 years old, does that make her a victim of statutory rape?
If Casey is indeed the dad-to-be, and the blessed event took place in Jamie Lynn's home state of Louisiana, then the act could be classified as a "Felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile," defined as "sexual intercourse with consent between someone age 19 or older and someone between age 12 and 17."
However, some reports say Casey is 19, some reports say he is 18.
If Casey were tried and found guilty, he could face a maximum possible term of 10 years imprisonment, possibly with hard labor.
According to Louisiana Revised Statutes 14-80 and 14-42, an individual can legally consent to sexual intercourse when he/she is 17 years of age. And in cases (such as Spears') where the victim is 15 or 16, the defendant (Aldridge) must be no more than two years older for the sexual intercourse to be legal.
The law, like everything else, is different in California. But Casey could still be in trouble if the couple did the deed in the Golden State, where Spears resides while filming her Nickelodeon show "Zoey 101."
"It states clearly in the Californian Penal Code that any person who engages in an act of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor (under 18) who is not more than three years older or three years younger than the perpetrator, is guilty of a misdemeanor and faces up to one year in a county jail," said criminal defense attorney Jim Hammer.
“But if Aldridge is actually more than three years older, he could be up for a felony, which carries a maximum three years in prison.”
According to the code, "unlawful sexual intercourse" is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person who is not the spouse of the perpetrator, if the person is a minor.
“Police can openly investigate the case, but the biggest challenge would be to determine [in] what state the act actually took place,” Hammer said.
However, criminal defense lawyer Christopher Darden says charges are unlikely.
“The father of the child may have committed a criminal offense or misdemeanor by having unlawful sex with a minor,” said Darden. “But unless the complaint is filed from the minor’s parent, it is unlikely that this will be taken further.”
The New York Post cited Aldridge's age as 18, and Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Travis of Tangipahoa Parish, La., where the Spears family lives, told the paper that Jamie Lynn and her boyfriend didn't break any state laws if they conceived in Louisiana.
"From my preliminary investigation, she is 16 and he is 18," he said. "If, in fact, it happened in the state of Louisiana, that does not violate any criminal statutes."
He said the age of consent is 17, but that officials don't prosecute if the two are no more than 24 months apart in age.
"Sixteen and 18 is OK, 15 and 19 is not," he said.
A rep for Jamie Lynn declined to comment on the pregnancy reports, which appeared in OK! Magazine on Wednesday.
"What is in OK! is their story," said the spokeswoman. "We cannot comment on its accuracy."
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