DEAR ABBY: I am one of your many male readers. Regarding "Betrayed in the Midwest" (Dec. 27), whose fiance, "Reid," impregnated her younger sister, "Lindy," there are at least two major issues that the writer should consider about this man.

No. 1: He's an adult who had sex with a minor. In all states that I know of, this is a crime, reportable to Child Protective Services and to the law, and it's punishable. It amounts to statutory rape. Reid is the guilty party here. Lindy is a victim and should not feel punished in any way.

No. 2: Reid had unprotected sex with Lindy, which means he disregarded the health and safety of not only the girl, but also his fiance and himself. With whom else is he sexually active? Who knows what risks he has exposed all of them to?

Your advice to "Betrayed" was right on. She needs to distance herself and her sister from him as far as possible, as soon as possible. I hope that she'll continue to care for her sister, who obviously needs good parenting and role modeling. I hope she also realizes that the child of this situation is innocent and needs care as well. -- CONCERNED HEALTH CARE PROVIDER, PHOENIX

DEAR CONCERNED: Many readers were up in arms after reading that letter. They wrote and e-mailed to say that Reid belongs in jail as a pedophile. However, the age of consent is not the same in every state, and in the state where "Betrayed" lives, it is 16. (Lindy is 17.) Therefore, although Reid is a manipulative jerk with no conscience, he is not a "child molester." Read on:

DEAR ABBY: From the sound of it, Lindy is probably just a lonely, orphaned child looking for some attention. Reid is a user, and neither woman needs him in her life. You failed to point out that a man who has been "carried financially" by someone is not "well off," nor does age equal maturity. Lindy is probably on her own if she chooses to raise a baby with him. If she cares about her sister, "Betrayed" should dump Reid and have a frank discussion with the girl about alternatives to raising the baby herself. -- ELIZABETH IN UPPER DARBY, PA.

DEAR ABBY: I am a high school teacher. The majority of my pregnant teen girls have boyfriends who are much older. This is the result of absent or divorced parents, or parents who must work several jobs to make ends meet. It is also the result of low expectations of female children and the media-led sexualization of young girls at an early age. Sometimes it makes me want to scream! -- CRANKY ADULT IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR ABBY: I strongly agree with your advice about kicking the deadbeat fiance out and, if she can handle it, allowing Lindy to live with her until she is 18 and graduates from high school. However, I would advise "Betrayed" to go one step further.

If Lindy chooses to keep her child, start immediately to get legal papers on paternity and financial support activated on the "father." He had admitted it, at least to the two women. She does not have to wait until the child is born to go to court.

Too many women wait until the child arrives, often existing on welfare, then try to fight the red tape to track down the man responsible. It doesn't have to wait. This suggestion is for Lindy and any other woman in her predicament. Sadly, there are far too many these days. I don't even want to start on "what's the world coming to ..." -- KICK-'IM-WHERE-IT-HURTS IN IDAHO

DEAR KICK 'IM: And often where they feel it the most is in the wallet.

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