The World Is Going To Hell................

John A. Quayle blueoval at SGI.NET
Sat Apr 12 10:32:34 MDT 2003

Woman Accused of Having Sex With 14-Year-Old

EAST HARTFORD -- A 32-year-old mother of three has been charged with sexual
assault because of a relationship she had with a 14-year-old boy she met
while leading a church youth group.

         Tricia D., now five months pregnant with a child she said was
fathered by the boy, was charged in court Monday with second-degree sexual
assault and risk of injury to a minor. "I did not assault him," she said
Monday after she returned to her East Hartford home after a weekend in
jail. "He's my very good friend. He told me he wants to marry me next year."

         The boy will turn 16 later this year, old enough to marry with his
parents' consent. But his parents were the ones who alerted authorities
about the relationship late last year. It started when the family began
going to her home to attend the East Hartford Mission, a community church
she said she started. According to investigators, the 14-year-old boy was
in a youth group led by Tricia D. that included overnight trips.

         Her version of the boy's involvement in the group was that he was
her assistant, someone she considered a colleague. "He wasn't my student,"
she insisted. Court documents detailed a November sexual encounter in her
home. She said she was distraught over the death of her brother in Jamaica,
and the boy, by then 15, had come over to visit.     "He was comforting
me," she said. "It wasn't unnatural for him to reach out to me like that."

         But the relationship began before then, shortly before his 15th
birthday, according to police. Tricia D. took him to Florida with her and
told East Hartford police she had sex with him there. His parents in
Bloomfield didn't know he'd gone with her until he was reported missing
from high school, which he began attending a month before. His parents
called Bloomfield police, and an investigation was begun.

         East Hartford police arrested her Friday after a months-long
investigation. The DeHart case echoes the 1997 case of Mary Kay LeTourneau,
a Washington state teacher who became pregnant after sex with a 13-year-old
student. LeTourneau was convicted of raping the boy. Tricia D. said the
young father-to-be is distraught over her arrest, but she's been forbidden
by a Manchester Superior Court judge from having contact with him.

         "I'm going to obey that," she said. Still, she said she hopes they
can be together again. I think he's mature enough to marry me," she said.
And if he wanted to, she said she would do it. "Even though he's a
teenager, he's always looking out for me....Anyone could fall for that
person. He's very strong." She said she was "in a naive stage" when they
had sex, and she didn't know that it was illegal. "Since I learned of the
law, we have not been doing that," she said.

         Tricia D. said she prides herself on community involvement.
Although she's worked at an insurance company in the past and has sold
homemade crafts, she doesn't have a job right now. She said her estranged
husband - whom she's in the process of divorcing - is supporting their
three children, aged 8, 7 and 4. Second-degree sexual assault is a Class C
felony. A conviction carries a sentence of at least a year under state law.

         But she doesn't think she's broken the law. It was not a crime,
she explained, but a romance. "It's more like Romeo and Juliet," she said,
"two people who can't be together because of how society views them. I
really believe in my innocence."


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