The woman convicted of incest with her 16-year-old biological son was sentenced Wednesday in Napa County Superior Court to more than four years in state prison.
Mistie Rebecca Atkinson, 32, of Lake County, received four years, eight months in state prison under a plea agreement reached in May. Atkinson pleaded no contest to incest, oral copulation, lewd contact with a minor and distribution of lewd material to a minor.
The charges were filed in Napa County Superior Court because most of the offenses were committed in Napa, the Napa County district attorney’s office said in May.
In a hand-written letter to the court, Atkinson pleaded for leniency, saying she never intended to become intimate with her biological son.
“I don’t feel like I should have the charge of incest because there is something called genetic attraction that is a very powerful (phenomenon) that happens to 50 (percent) of people becoming reunited with a long-lost relative,” she wrote in her letter to the judge.
I had not heard of “genetic attraction” prior to this case. What I found sounds incredibly unlikely. According to a website dedicated to the topic:
GSA is a natural response to a broken situation. Humans have been designed to bond with their kin starting at the onset of the relationship and for whatever reasons (divorce, abandonment, adoption) it did not happen. This need to bond, which has been dormant for years, finally has the opportunity at the reunion to form a fierce and profound connection.
When these ‘strangers’ finally meet, their brain does not register a family member, they register a stranger that has a title of ‘brother, sister, mother or father.’ As a result, unexpected appealing desires, an attraction to a kin member that is involuntary and overwhelming with intimacy initiates GSA.
Statistically speaking, GSA that results in a sexual relationship usually is the catalyst for further and permanent separation, not just from that family member, but from an entire family unit. Evidence supports those who prepare and are supported during reunions are able to integrate the reunion experience better.
Again, this seems unlikely to me. For one, there is nothing stopping a person from forming a sexual attraction toward someone they grew up with. There are plenty cases of incestuous relationships that would suggest that the existence of familial bonds is not a barrier to potential sexual interaction.
Secondly, it makes little sense that a person would develop a sexual interest in a long-lost relative specifically because they are a relative. It is more probable that two people who do not know they are related would fall in love and then want to continue that relationship despite discovering the truth.
However, that is not what happened in this case. It would appear the boy knew this woman was his mother and she knew he was her son. According to the boy’s father, the mother engaged in sexual comments with her son, treating him more like a boyfriend than her child:
“She started to have a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship with him, not a mother-and-son relationship. It got to a point where their conversation began talking about harming me and killing off her boyfriend she was (now) living with. She was sending him pictures of her body and basically seducing him. The relationship needs to stop and we told both of them but they continue to get in contact with each other. It’s unhealthy and they need to stay apart,” the man said.
He took out a restraining order against the woman, which his son later ignored.
There is no way this is not an abusive situation. Even if one assumed the boy was a consenting partner, it is clear that Atkinson took advantage of the situation. She should have known how wrong having sex with your own son is, at least while he is still a minor.