QUESTION: Dear Legal Wiz,
I had to send money to my cousin in Jamaica last week. My other cousin got arrested for, and, charged with carnal abuse. The second one has a girlfriend who is 15 years old, who he gives lunch money and assists with school work. She got pregnant and a woman who lives near to the girl and knew told the police, because she says she didnt want to get into trouble. The mother of this 15-year-old girl says she didnt know my cousin was having an affair with her daughter. She is charged too, but I dont know why. The first cousin who is also male says he and the other cousin used to roll together and he always knew about the affair, so he is wondering if he could get into trouble too. The mother of the child wants both my cousins to give her and her daughter money. They have to rely on me for money and I dont have a big job. Can they be forced to give the mother and her daughter money? Can my other cousin get into trouble?
RESPONSE: Dear Shawn Smith,
Your situation is not unusual, but a lesson to quite a number of Jamaicans who love to indulge in such relationships. The Child Care and Protection Act of Jamaica places a duty of care on ALL adults to report these cases to the police. This means that once any adult knows that someone is having sexual relations with a minor, they must report it to the police or they can be held responsible. Such person can be charged even before pregnancy results. The mother of the minor was charged with aiding and abetting carnal abuse, and so can your cousin. The second cousin who got the 15-year-old minor pregnant is charged with carnal abuse.
As far as financial support is concerned, there is no law that dictates that a mother of a pregnant minor is entitled to anything for the pregnancy of her child. The mother of the minor cannot force any burden on your cousin or his family to support her. However, evidently your cousin now has an obligation to support his child. As the father I am sure he will support the teenage mother even during pregnancy. Relating issues will be worked out at the Family Court. It is recommended that you secure an attorney to assist and properly guide both your cousins.
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