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Man Arrested After Admitting on TV to Fathering 14-year-old’s Baby

December 5, 1996

DOVER, N.H. (AP) _ A man who went on Sally Jessy Raphael’s show for an episode entitled ``I’m 14 and I Want a Baby″ was charged with statutory rape after his young lover’s mother gave police a video of his televised admission that he fathered their baby.

Twenty-year-old Carl Carlson went on the nationally televised talk show with his 14-year-old girlfriend, their baby, born in July, and the girl’s mother. The show was shown locally Nov. 22.

The girl, now 15, was 14 when the child was conceived. The legal age of consent in New Hampshire is 16.

Carlson was charged Wednesday. He faces one count of felonious sexual assault. The maximum sentence is 3 1/2 to seven years in prison. He was being held today on $1,000 bail.

On the talk show, Raphael asked Carlson if he understood he had violated the law when he had sex with the girl.

``I understand that,″ Carlson said. ``I should have thought about that a little bit more.″

He paused, then said, ``A lot more.″

The girl’s mother said she had called the show and asked to be a guest with her daughter after seeing a promotion for a future show about teen parents.

``I thought it would knock some sense into her,″ the girl’s mother said.

Tiffany Avery, who produced the episode, would not discuss whether the show’s producers warned Carlson he might face legal repercussions.

Lee Fryd, the show’s spokesman, told The New York Times in today’s edition that the mother had said she wanted Carlson to be arrested.

Ms. Fryd said that Carlson’s admission of wrongdoing was ``the kind of epiphany we look for on our show.″

Police began investigating a possible crime after the child’s birth, but suspended the investigation because the girl was uncooperative, according to Sgt. Anthony Colarusso.

``It’s important those adults who have sex with minors be held accountable,″ Colarusso said.

The girl’s mother gave police a tape of the show last week, and viewing it led them to decide them to arrest Carlson.

``The tape was very key,″ Colarusso said. ``In fact, without the tape, we wouldn’t have made an arrest.″

Carlson’s family refused comment Wednesday. His defense lawyer, Jen Sobel, said Carlson would plead not guilty despite his televised admission.

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