Man tripped up by teen age of consent

March 11, 2009 at 5:38 PM

HOLLYWOOD, Fla., March 11 (UPI) -- A 47-year-old man has been arrested in Florida for having a sexual relationship with a teenager, one that began legally in Puerto Rico.

The girl is now 16, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday. But Jose Figueroa allegedly began the relationship two years ago in Puerto Rico, where the age of sexual consent is 14.

Figueroa claims the girl is his wife. Police said that they have seen no evidence of a marriage, although the couple have a 6-month-old son.

"If they have a legal marriage in Puerto Rico, they can do what they want here," Bruce Fleischer, a Miami-area criminal defense lawyer, told the Herald. "Legal marriage takes issue of consent out of the equation. If they're not legally married, then if they do something here, we go by the law of the state of Florida."

The couple had been staying with relatives in Hollywood, Fla. Police said that they got a tip that a girl was being sexually molested there. The age of sexual consent in Florida generally is 18.

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