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Prosecutor Criticized for Comment

August 7, 1998

MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (AP) _ The Macomb County prosecutor was criticized by advocates for sex crime victims and even a ranking staffer for saying a 17-year-old who impregnated his 12-year-old sister had taken part in ``youthful sexual experimentation.″

``When you’re having sexual intercourse with your sister, that is not youthful experimentation,″ Patricia Fresard, head of the prosecutor office’s sex crimes unit, said Thursday. ``There is something terribly wrong there.″

Alicia Rinaldi, a counselor with Turning Point, a Mount Clemens center for sexually abused and battered women, said: ``To classify this as sexual experimentation minimizes what happened. ...

``There was a pregnancy because of it, a conception of a child, and an abortion. This is what could not be classified as children experimenting with their sexuality.″

The case made headlines when the girl was refused an abortion at 27 weeks into her pregnancy because Michigan prohibits abortions after the 24th week in all but life-threatening situations.

Her parents planned to take her out of state for an abortion when they were stopped by the prosecutor’s office, which won a court order that the girl be first given a psychiatric evaluation. She had been brought to the doctor prior to the limit but was not diagnosed as pregnant.

That order was in effect for a week before a judge cleared the way for her parents to take her out of state for a late-term abortion toward the end of July.

Authorities had said they would pursue a felony criminal sexual conduct count against the brother. That charge carries a possible life term. Since he is an immigrant, it also could mean deportation.

But in a story published Wednesday by The Macomb Daily of Mount Clemens, Prosecutor Carl Marlinga suggested he may pursue a lesser sex charge.

``This is looking like a case of youthful sexual experimentation that was wrongful and certainly criminal,″ he said. ``But I believe he (is) no threat to others. He doesn’t even seem like a threat to his sister anymore.″

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