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Teen, 18, charged with statutory rape

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

A local 18-year-old is out of the Henry County Jail on $5,000 bond, after being arrested for allegedly having sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Barry Riley Laughlin, of Locust Grove, is charged with one count of felony statutory rape, and one count of misdemeanor statutory rape. He appeared Tuesday in Henry County Magistrate Court, represented by the Public Defender's Office. Judge Robert Godwin bound the suspect's charges over to Superior Court. Laughlin was released from the jail Tuesday.

The case against the suspect stems from two alleged sexual encounters, which Laughlin reportedly had with the victim, according to a warrant application by Henry County Police Detective Isaiah Harmon.

"Between March 27, 2010 and April 2, 2010, the offender ... and the victim ... had sexual intercourse, and oral sex," Harmon wrote.

Police obtained a warrant for Laughlin's arrest Friday. The warrant states that the misdemeanor charge against Laughlin was levied because the victim was at least 14, but younger than 16, and was four years younger than the suspect at the time of the alleged incidents.

Authorities did not specify how they became aware of the alleged incidents, and did not release additional details on the case Tuesday.

Henry County Police Capt. Jason Bolton said a key element in statutory-rape cases, centers on the age of the victim at the time of a given incident. "Statutory rape is when someone has sex with a person under the age of 16, the age of consent in Georgia," Bolton said.

Laughlin was apprehended Saturday by deputies from the Henry County Sheriff's Office, according to Sheriff's Chief Deputy David McCart.

Public Defender Gary Bowman could not be reached for comment Tuesday.