How do a 28-year-old man and a 21-year-old woman get arrested for having sex, even when the sex is fully consensual and the two of them are not even related?
Under the laws of West Virginia, if the woman called that man “father,” the two of them can’t engage in sexual intercourse. At least, that’s how the law was applied to Kelcey Nicholas, 28 and his 21-year-old stepdaughter, Lataura Jarrett.
Nicholas married Jarrett’s mother when she was 16, but he has not been accused of having sex with the girl while she was a minor. Jarrett (pictured) since moved out of the home in which Nicholas and her mother resided. She has since been married.
But when police came to Nicholas’s house in Mt. Nebo to bust him on another charge, they burst in and found the man engaged in sexual intercourse with Jarrett.
The two share no genetic, “blood” relation, nor did Nicholas ever legally adopt Jarrett. But as one colleague describes him, police Sergeant W.K. Shafer is “a stickler for details.” And one of those details is that the law in West Virginia defines stepdaughters as daughters.
The state’s law says a “daughter” can be not only the biological or legally adopted child of an individual, but also of that person’s spouse. Nicholas, though clearly not the most faithful of husbands, is still married to Jarrett’s mother.
Each member of the illicit couple was charged with seven counts of incest, a felony in West Virginia that carries prison terms from five to 15 years. Jarrett is free on bond, but Nicholas is being held on $70,000 bail.