Fact Check

Father of the Bribe

Did a sheriff attempt to extort sexual favors from an underage girl, only to discover that she's his own daughter?

Published Apr 4, 1997

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Sheriff who discovers underage couple engaged in sex offers to let them off the hook in exchange for sexual favors from the girl, then finds out she's his daughter.

A neat little morality tale about the (sexual) pharisaism of the older generation. So great is the young couple's fear of parental condemnation that they will do anything to prevent the girl's father from finding out about their consensual relations, yet that same father not only hypocritically engages in sexual activity outside the bounds of his marriage but also abuses his official position to extort sexual favors from unwilling partners. The punishment for his professional corruption and sexual transgressions is the defilement of his daughter:

Example:   [Collected by Brunvand, 1980]

During summer vacation an upperclassman meets a beautiful teenager in a coastal, summer resort community. Before the summer ends they attend a beach party and she decides to spend the night with the fellow in his tent on a secluded area of the public beach. The cops discover the illegally pitched tent, and one of them enters to investigate. He proceeds to arrest the couple for trespassing and further charge the student for his statutory rape of an underage girl. The couple are frightened and bribe the cops in exchange for sexual favors offered by the girl. The first policeman withdraws from the tent and relays the offer to the second one, who accepts and prepares to enter the tent. As he pulls the young lady to him, he discovers that she is his daughter.

An earlier legend told of a young couple who suddenly found themselves in need of emergency assistance while "in the act" (e.g., they became trapped in the back seat of a car at a drive-in), and the law enforcement officer sent to render aid turned out to be the girl's father. This older form, a warning against adolescent sexual activity ("Don't do it; you'll get caught somehow!"), may have picked up the additional theme of moral hypocrisy over the years and evolved into the modern form.

Also told in:

    The Big Book of Urban Legends.
    New York: Paradox Press, 1994.   ISBN 1-56389-165-4   (p. 131).


    Brunvand, Jan Harold.   The Choking Doberman.     New York: W. W. Norton, 1984.   ISBN 0-393-30321-7   (pp. 145-146).

    Brunvand, Jan Harold.   Too Good To Be True.     New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.   ISBN 0-393-04734-2   (pp. 121-122).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.