For getting a 13-year-old girl pregnant when he was 18, a Payson man will serve 1.5 years in prison.
Codie Lee Harrison, 21, told the court he thought the girl was 15 at the time and apologized for his actions.
Harrison asked the court for probation so he could support his fiancee and 9-month-old daughter — who are not the child or mother involved in the current case.
The child he fathered with the underage girl is now living in New York State after the girl’s brother adopted the child, according to a presentencing report.
Police learned of the illegal sexual relationship between Harrison and the girl on Aug. 23, 2012. The underage girl’s father reported to police that Harrison had fathered a child with his daughter, who had lived in Star Valley with her mother.
Harrison and the girl carried on an 11-month sexual relationship. During that time, the girl and her mother told Harrison the girl was actually 15. The girl told officers her mother gave her condoms so she wouldn’t get pregnant, according to a police report.
When police talked with the girl’s mother, however, she denied knowing Harrison and her daughter had slept together. She said she only discovered it when her daughter became pregnant around April 2011.
She did say she told Harrison her daughter was 15.
Harrison admitted to officers he had slept with the girl, believing she was 15.
Under Arizona law, sexual abuse is a class 5 felony unless the victim is under 15 years old in which it is a class 3 felony, which usually carries a harsher sentence. Harrison pleaded guilty to child abuse, a class 4 felony.
“Ignorant to the law, he recognizes now the victim could not consent to a sexual relationship,” a probation officer wrote.
Harrison told probation that he only learned of the girl’s real age weeks before she gave birth to their son, at which time she ended their relationship. He has since become engaged to another woman, who he has a child with.
Judge Peter Cahill with Gila County Superior Court sentenced Harrison to 1.5 years in prison, with credit for 136 days served.
“I would just like to say that I am truly sorry,” Harrison wrote the court. “I also understand what I did is wrong. It was a mistake and one I regret.”