Saturday, June 23, 2007

How could they have "had no choice"?

I was searching the news web sites, looking for something to comment on, and came upon the following article at ABC News about a sixteen-year-old girl who married her high school track coach. The two had apparently begun their inappropriate relationship when she was fourteen, and eventually--despite involving the authorities to try to keep Brenton Wuchae away from Windy Hager--they were allowed to marry when her parents, Betty and Dennis, signed a consent form.

This would be fucked up enough without the statutory rape, Wuchae's previous marriage, and the failure of prosecutors to put Wuchae in prison where he belongs. But Hager's parents signed the consent form that let their teenage daughter wed this sicko saying they "had no choice". Bullshit. There is always a choice, and the Hagers had one: to sign the consent form, or not. If I had a teenage daughter and I found out a teacher had seduced her, I would have made sure the bastard went to jail. And I never would have signed a consent form allowing her to marry him.

Saying one "had no choice" is a poor excuse for bad decision-making. I can't begin to imagine what Betty and Dennis Hager must have gone through when they realized Windy was being seduced by her track coach, but as long as she remained a minor under their care, they had the right to deny Wuchae the ability to marry her--even if it would only have been for the two years until her eighteenth birthday. Yes, she would have resented them in the short term. But she might have spent those two years finding out just how big a scumbag her new husband really is. How long will it be before Windy Hager learns that her "man" is seducing another teenager? One can only guess. But her parents could have let her find that out before she married him, could have delayed it using their parental rights. I've little doubt that even the most liberal court would have sided with them, had Windy tried to get an emancipation from her parents.

But no, Betty and Dennis Hager decided it was easier to make a bad decision for their daughter. And they tried to justify it by denying they had a choice. They did. They could have chosen to say to Windy, "no."

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