Friday, June 23, 2006

Parent’s choice: Protect our teenage daughter or display her on Good Morning America

Guess what they chose.
Teen: I'll Marry Man I Met on

GILFORD, Mich. (AP) -- A teenager who flew to the Middle East to be with a man she met on said Friday she intends to marry him.

"I love him very much," 17-year-old Katherine Lester said of Abdullah Jimzawi, 20, who works in his father's business delivering goods to West Bank convenience stores.

Lester appeared on ABC-TV's "Good Morning America" with her father and stepmother. Jimzawi also spoke with ABC during a taped portion of the segment, describing how the pair "can't live without each other."

After hearing what Jimzawi said, Lester began weeping.

"It's true," she said. "I love you. That's all I can say."

The two first encountered each other about seven months ago on the social networking web site but have never met face to face.

Lester, who turned 17 on Wednesday, was en route to Israel earlier this month when she was intercepted in Jordan by U.S. authorities who seized her passport and put her on a flight back to the United States.

Jimzawi has told The Associated Press that the two planned to marry and that Lester planned to convert to Islam. Lester, a Christian, declined to say Friday whether she intended to convert.

The two have resumed communication online since she returned home.

"Our initial reaction was to isolate her, to lock her up and just keep her safe here in America," said her father, Terry Lester. "But that's unrealistic because you can see the love they have for each other." [Ed. – Realitywise - it would seem the proverbial apple didn’t fall far from the tree]

Authorities filed a runaway juvenile petition against Lester earlier this week, and a judge ordered her to give up her passport and undergo counseling. If the judge finds that Lester was a runaway, she could be placed under court supervision until she turns 18.


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