Rapists should be punished to the full extent of the law. So why should one be granted privileges such as child custody?
That’s what people are wondering as they scratch their heads in disbelief over a ruling by a Michigan judge that would give a rapist joint custody of the child he conceived while committing the crime.
The man, now 27, committed the rape in 2008 when he was 19 and the victim was just 12. She gave birth to a boy, now 8 years old. The man threatened to kill the woman if she told anyone about what happened.
Instead of being charged with rape, he was convicted of third-degree sexual conduct and served 6 ½ months in jail. Two years later, he committed another sex crime, this time against a 15-year-old girl. He served four years in prison as punishment and is now a registered sex offender.
Why did the judge grant shared legal custody and parenting time to a convicted sex offender? It all came down to a paperwork issue. The child’s mother applied for welfare benefits. In order to qualify, she had to file a paternity complaint, which she did in July. During this process, she was ordered to disclose the father’s name and address.
The state, however, used this information to establish paternity and child support. The woman was not allowed to state her concerns about this matter. As such, a 73A District Court judge ruled that the man be allowed child custody. This decision was made, though, without knowing that the man was a rapist. His decision went against Michigan law, which prevents courts from awarding child custody to a biological parent that “committed acts of nonconsensual sexual penetration.”
Once the judge found out the details, though, he placed a stay on the court order. So while the man cannot be granted child custody, he can be forced to support the child. He was ordered to pay $346 a month in child support as well as help cover the child’s medical costs. A hearing will be held soon.
A judge will consider several factors when determining if child custody is in the child’s best interest. Two of those apply in this case: parenting ability and safety. This man, while he is the “father” of the boy and possibly more mature now that he is 29 years old, likely has no parenting ability or even a desire to be a parent. He was convicted of two sex offenses in under two years. Both victims were underage girls, and it is likely that his behavior is due to a mental health issue.
There is also a concern over safety. The man’s sexual crimes were against underage girls, but that does not mean that his deviant behavior does not extend to underage boys as well. He could very well attempt to sexually assault the boy. Placing him in the man’s custody is intentionally putting him in harm’s way, and should not be legally allowed.
Illinois family court judges make decisions that focus on the best interests of the children. Children should not be placed in the custody of a criminal. If you believe the court is making a decision that will negatively affect your child, you need to stand up for your rights.
As a parent, you need to protect your child. If the other parent is a danger to the child, Arami Law Office is here to help you modify child custody. Contact Arami Law Office at (312) 212-1399 for more information.
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