Robert Nickson Jr., the 28-year-old Delaware County man who made national headlines in September by announcing on Facebook that he was engaged to a 14-year-old girl, has been misportrayed in the news media, his lawyer said yesterday.
Nickson, of Lower Chichester, was not the "aggressor" in the forbidden romance, defense attorney Enrique Latoison said.
"This wasn't a predator-type situation," Latoison said.
Nickson, who has pleaded guilty to statutory sexual assault and corruption of a minor, was arrested in September after he took the teenage girl to a mall and bought her an engagement ring, police said.
Detectives got word of the wedding plans through Delaware County Children and Youth Services, which was tipped off by Facebook postings listing the couple as "in love" and "engaged."
Latoison, however, said his client, who was quietly sentenced Nov. 30 to six months in prison followed by probation, had not pursued the girl.
"You naturally assume a 27-year-old is trying to exploit a young girl. Once all the facts came out, it was not that situation," he said, referring to Nickson's age when he was arrested.
"She was the aggressor, let's put it that way. He was not."
Latoison, who described Nickson as "having the maturity of an 18-year-old," said the girl is still trying to contact his client.
"She hung out with older people and was around those people," Latoison said.
Police say Nickson met the girl, who has not been identified because of her age, through a mutual friend about a month before his arrest. The juvenile told investigators that she had sex with him on at least four occasions at the Lower Chichester apartment that he shares with his father, according to the criminal complaint.
Latoison admitted that his client broke the law because of the victim's age, but said he's not a child predator. Prosecutors dropped charges of aggravated indecent assault and related offenses.
"He was just stupid," Latoison said, "and made a very immature decision."