Woman, 37, Who Wed Teen Says She's Been Punished Enough

ByABC News via logo
December 14, 2005, 8:16 AM

Dec. 14, 2005 — -- The Georgia woman who married her son's teenage friend and is pregnant with his child says she is tired of the criticism and wants people to know she is neither a pedophile nor a molester.

"I've had enough," said Lisa Lynette Clark, who married her 15-year-old boyfriend in November. "The slander, the ridicule. I'm not the person they're portraying me to be."

Clark, 37, is facing child molestation and statutory rape charges stemming from her relationship with the boy, whom she met through her teenage son. The two married using a loophole in Georgia law that waives parental consent and age requirements for a teenager to marry if the bride is pregnant. Clark will be eight months' pregnant with the couple's child when she is arraigned on Dec. 21.

Clark contends that the boy lied to her about his age when they first met -- saying he was 17 when he was actually 14 -- and that he was the one who pursued the relationship, not Clark.

"We stopped being physically intimate once I found out how old he was, but it was too late," Clark said. "One month later I found out I was pregnant."

Critics have accused Clark of marrying the boy to avoid child molestation charges, but Clark says the couple started to talk about marriage once she learned of the pregnancy. She said she wanted her husband to have legal custody in case she went to jail.

"I have a wonderful circle of family and friends and a support group that will guide him in every step of the way in raising a child," Clark said.

It is still unclear, however, what will happen to Clark's baby. Clark could be in jail by the time she gives birth in February, and her husband is currently in juvenile detention for legal problems unrelated to their relationship. The boy's grandmother and legal guardian, Judy Hayles, said she did not have the financial means to raise a baby. She is adamantly opposed to the relationship.

In an interview with "Good Morning America" last month, Hayles said her grandson did not have a job and was irresponsible. She said he would remain married to Clark when she was "laid out and candle-lit," adding that she would not recognize Clark as the boy's wife because she didn't need a family "with a pedophile in it."

Clark denied being a pedophile, which she considers to be someone attracted to prepubescent children. She said she and her husband were not planning to divorce.

"We do have a lot in common," said Clark, who described her husband as "obsessed with women from the '80s. He knows a lot about my time period. He's into the older music, the older movies."

Clark said that she had already been punished enough for her relationship and that additional jail time would be unfair.

"I don't think that the punishment of 20 years fits the crime of falling in love with someone who misrepresented themselves," Clark said.

Clark was arrested on Nov. 9, the day after her wedding. She was released after nine days in jail on $10,000 bail. Part of the condition of her release is she have no contact with her husband. She has also been separated from her children, who are 17, 15 and 13.

"I think I've been punished quite a bit as is," Clark said. "This is the first time I've been without my children. I'm very close to my children and that's the hardest part."

Clark said that if one of her children married someone 22 years their senior, she would have no problem with it because they have "my 100-percent unconditional love."