Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Man faces 50 years for sex with bride, 14

A 22-year-old man faces up to 50 years in prison after pleading guilty Tuesday to sexual assault charges filed after he impregnated and then married a 14-year-old girl.

Matthew Koso legally married the girl in Kansas after she became pregnant. The girl, 14-year-old Crystal Koso, gave birth August 24 to a girl, Samara.

Sentencing was set for February 7.

The case generated international media attention when Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning filed first-degree sexual assault charges against Koso in July. Koso's trial was scheduled to begin Thursday.

Bruning said that Koso is a friend of the girl's half brother and began a relationship with her when she was 12.

Nebraska requires people to be at least 17 before they can marry. State law also prohibits people 19 or older from having sex with those under the age of 16.

After the girl became pregnant, her mother gave permission for Koso to take her daughter across the state line to Hiawatha, Kansas. There is no minimum age for marriage in Kansas, but state law requires anyone under 18 wanting to marry to have permission of both parents or a guardian. If there's no parent or guardian, permission from a judge is required.

Koso's lawyer, Willis Yoesil, has said that the girl's mother and Koso's parents approved of the marriage. The girl's father has not lived with the family for some time.

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius recently said she was asking legislators to establish a strict ban on marriage involving anyone younger than 16.

The governor said the legislation also should retain the requirement for parental or judicial consent for those age 16 or 17.



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