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Right decision? German court rules 16 year old girl can continue relationship with 48 year old uncle

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Josephine Marie Petritz
Pictured, Josephine Marie Petritz.
Josephine Marie Petritz
Pictured, Josephine Marie Petritz.

Josephine Marie Petritz love affair: A German court rules a 16 year old girl should be allowed to continue seeing her 48 year old uncle. 

A court in Germany has caused fissure after it ruled that a 16 year old teen girl from Schildow, Brandenberg can continue her relationship with her 48 year old uncle.

The decision was reportedly made on March 24 2016, but its announcement was postponed until now, causing some serious discussions on family law in Germany.

The case arrived in the courts after the schoolgirl, Josephine Marie Petritz ran away with her uncle, Gerrit Haager last year.

The couple’s disappearance led to a manhunt in which the pair were eventually found in the south of France, with the girl insisting upon her forced return to Germany that she had no intentions of ceasing seeing her uncle.

The pair it was revealed via Germany’s local magazine began going out when Josephine was aged 14.

In a bid to get their daughter to change her mind, Josephine was sent to a psychiatric clinic for several weeks to no avail.

The teen was only released after managing to arrange legal counsel, who expedited her freedom and filed a legal challenge for the right to a relationship of her own choice.

Josephine Marie Petritz
Pictured, Josephine Marie Petritz and her uncle/lover, Gerrit Haager.

In a decision that surprised many, a regional appeal court of Brandenburg confirmed in the favor of the couple. 

In making its ruling that the couple could continue seeing each other, despite the girl being a minor, the court held that prohibiting the couple’s ‘love’ would be a threat to the child’s well being.

Define love at age 14 or 15, 16 to a man greater than 30 years your abuser senior …

The presiding judge said it was important to ‘get the relationship out of secrecy‘ adding the prohibition of love is a threat to the child’s well-being.

In the ruling, the court noted Josephine who was older than 14 maintained clear views and priorities, which she has also claimed and demanded according to a report via Germany’s Bild

Does a child always know what’s in his or her best interests? Does a child necessarily have the emotional and intellectual maturity to be fully aware of their choices and wants?

The judge also noted the teen had consistently expressed her desire for a relationship with her uncle as ‘goal-oriented and stable’. 

In making its decision, the court said the girl was ‘above average intelligent’ and was a ‘girl who had matured early and quickly reflected a lot on what she wanted’.

The court’s opinion summarized that while ‘the relationship may be undesirable and socially ostracised, it is not forbidden.’

In Germany the age of sexual consent is 14, like in most European countries, as long as a person over the age of 21 does not exploit a 14 or 15-year-old person’s lack of capacity for sexual self-determination.

Discussing the court’s decision, paediatric and adolescent psychotherapist Barbara Breuer-Radbruch advised parents should generally seek contact, talk, and discuss solutions with the child. 

The therapist went on to say that the child’s parents may have inadvertently encouraged her relationship with her uncle, saying: ‘Josephine felt betrayed and persecuted.’

 Josephine Marie Petritz
Pictured, Josephine Marie Petritz.
Josephine Marie Petritz
The car that Josephine Marie Petritz and her uncle had used to escape to France.
 Josephine Marie Petritz
Pictured, Josephine Marie Petritz.