The pregnancy of 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears brings up a lot of questions, but the one on many minds is whether this could be a case of statutory rape.
Jamie Lynn has told OK! that Casey Aldridge is the father of her baby.
While there are varying reports about Aldridge’s age, most place him at either 18 or 19, making him an adult, while Spears, at 16, is still a minor.
Whether the consensual sex with Spears can be considered a crime depends on which state the baby was conceived in.
If the baby was conceived in California, where Spears filmed “Zoey 101” for Nickelodeon, and where she and Aldridge have often been spotted together, Aldridge could have committed a crime.
California law makes a distinction in the weight of the crime charged, based on the age of the people involved. Because Aldridge is not more than three years older than Spears, getting her pregnant in California could be a misdemeanor under state law.
As for the potential penalty, prosecutors could push for up to a year in jail.
In Louisiana, the state in which Spears said she plans to raise her baby, Aldridge is up for just one penalty, dependant on whether he is 18 or 19.
If he is 18, no crime has been committed.
If he is 19, however, Aldridge could be charged with a felony carnal knowledge of a juvenile. The maximum penalty for the felony could be up to 10 years in prison, with or without hard labor.
In Aldridge’s home state of Mississippi, where he reportedly works as a pipe layer, statutory rape only applies to sex with persons 15 years of age or younger.
However, regarding the states where the conception could be considered a crime, defense attorney Jeffrey Steinberger, told “Access Hollywood” that prosecuting Aldridge is highly unlikely.
Prosecutors look for “necessary intent,” Steinberger explained and because Aldridge and Spears are involved, attorneys are unlikely to go after the teen.
Steinberger also noted that because both parties are under the age of 21, prosecutors are also likely to stay away from the case.