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Parental rights of rapists

Doodle_295_Rapist_Parental_Rights_Review_Board
Accusations of the crime can destroy a man's life, career or future, but in cases where rape is proven there still exists some horrible dichotomy in U.S. laws when it comes to parental rights. I'm not a criminal defense lawyer, and have never handled a rape case in my legal career, though I've worked in the family courts on child custody, support and visitation cases. All I can say about the family court system in the U.S. is that it's a complete clusterfuck. There are no other words. Here you see the most vile aspects of human behavior - jealousy, greed and hate, with an innocent child being batted around as a ball and strategic object in the process. It's depressing to say the least, and I could never do this work full time because it's too emotionally draining. Last night, I read an interesting article that discussed the parental rights of rapists. Should they have custody and visitation rights? It was then that I learned about the status of U.S. laws on this issue, which vary by State.

To put the issue in context, you can read about Jaime Melendez, who raped and impregnated a 14 year old girl in Massachusetts. He pled guilty, was sentenced to lengthy probation, and was ordered to pay child support. Then he created an evil plan in his mind to avoid the payments. He demanded visitation rights to the child born as a result of the rape, and offered to drop his demand if he no longer had to pay child support. This manipulative behavior is totally legal under the laws of the subject States.

Or you can take the example of a North Carolina woman who became pregnant as the result of rape and placed the baby up for adoption. To complete the adoption process, she was required to get permission from the father, her accused rapist. At the time, he was in jail awaiting trial for rape. He told the mother he would agree to the adoption if she didn't testify against him at the trial. So, she was left with a desperate choice - protect society from a sexual predator, or protect the adoption. The law provided no answer in this case.

Take a look at the Chart, which summarizes the current laws.

rapist

Currently, 31 States allow accused rapists to sue for rights to the child. However, after a trial and conviction, it becomes easier for a Judge to terminate, or limit, parental rights. Of course, a large number of women who become pregnant after a rape abort the child, but for some victims this isn't an option due to religious or moral grounds. In such situations, some rape victims are forced to consult their assailants on matters like school choices and healthcare. Accordingly, a woman's decision to keep the child can bring years of manipulation, harassment and intimidation from the rapist, not to mention the emotional and psychological impact of constantly dealing with the man who perpetrated the attack.

Rape - it is a very complicated issue, in both a legal and moral sense. It's almost always a "he said" vs. "she said" battle, where the truth is nearly impossible to ascertain, with the exception of cases where the assault was brutal and there is evidence of violent physical harm to genital or other sexual areas of the body.

I know nothing about the status of rape laws in Russia, or the rights of a male rapist who becomes a father as a result of the ciminal act in the country. What do you think? Should rapists have any parental rights?

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( 87 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
peacetraveler22
Feb. 4th, 2016 05:28 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is fair to the mother. Some humans don't deserve to be parents, in my view. When you behave in such a vile and dangerous manner, you have no right to raise a child.
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pivovaroffs
Feb. 4th, 2016 01:47 pm (UTC)
I think it should be linked with the right of women to get alymony from fathers.
Either fathers can reject his children and payments for them - or women should not be able to block fathers from children upbringing.
piterburg
Feb. 4th, 2016 07:10 pm (UTC)
It is certainly fair to biological fathers - but is it fair to their children? Why a child should be punished by not having better living conditions just because his father rejected him? And why should society at large should be responsible for the upkeep of a child rejected by the father when the mother/child end up on public assistance? At least this is the theory behind the present laws that held biological parents (mostly fathers) financially responsible no matter what.

However, under present practices, the "child support" too often ends up being just alimony in disguise, a tool for maintaining a custodial parent's lifestyle, with the latter given absolute discretion as how child support is being spent. In many other situations, a person receiving funds on behalf of another (a child), would be legally required to maintain a separate account as a trustee, not to commingle beneficiary's funds with their own, and to be accountable as to how beneficiary's funds are spent. Not in child support situations, the presumption here that a person with physical custody could do no wrong. Which makes so-called "joint legal custody" a travesty when it is not accompanied by joint physical custody.
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seadevil001
Feb. 4th, 2016 02:38 pm (UTC)
Whole situation is absurd. In strict legal sense until rapist is convicted he/she can have input on fetus or child born from out rape act. But after conviction I do not see how person lawfully stripped of all right still can has right to control somebody life.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 5th, 2016 12:21 pm (UTC)
What about abortion? Should a man have a "legal" input on that? For instance, if the pregnant woman want to abort the child, but the father wants to keep it? Complicated. :(
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romanklimenko
Feb. 4th, 2016 02:56 pm (UTC)
Coincidentally I'm listening now one historic novel telling the story of a young riverman from distant mid-Ural country side. After his father mysteriously disappeared helping to hide stolen government money everybody in a village blames him as a thief. The life scenes of an end o 18th century pictured very graphically. Cost of life close to zero. Rape is not considered а serious crime. They would be puzzled if heard the words 'women's rights'. Again, it's just another writer's point of view. But most likely very close to reality of that time
peacetraveler22
Feb. 5th, 2016 12:22 pm (UTC)
It seems that even now "rape" is not taken very seriously in Russia.
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qi_tronic
Feb. 4th, 2016 04:04 pm (UTC)
"
I know nothing about the status of rape laws in Russia, or the rights of a male rapist who becomes a father as a result of the ciminal act in the country. What do you think? Should rapists have any parental rights?
"

I know nothing either.

"
with the exception of cases where the assault was brutal and there is evidence of violent physical harm to genital or other sexual areas of the body.
"
And this is the only case that I understand as rape.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 4th, 2016 04:18 pm (UTC)
Apparently this issue is only interesting to me, not readers. :) You don't think a husband can rape his wife?
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Can't help commenting on this... - mb_b - Feb. 4th, 2016 05:50 pm (UTC) - Expand
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3as7
Feb. 4th, 2016 04:50 pm (UTC)
It's amusing that Ted Cruz wants to defund Planned Parenthood and abortion. I wonder what complications for the society it could bring.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 4th, 2016 04:52 pm (UTC)
Don't even get me started...! He is such a nut job.
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poppy_coloured
Feb. 4th, 2016 05:30 pm (UTC)
Don't be surprised with the idea of the obvious "right to have sex" :) I guess the idea of rape in the couple or in the marriage is extremely unusual in Russia.

As for the topic of the article, i think that victims in such cases should be treated alike people in witness protection program. I don't mean they should change their place of living or hide their identity, but have some privileges.

By the way, do you know how the U.S. legislation works in cases when a man anonymously donated his sperm, then a woman had a child with it and then this man wants to see the child or to get some parental rights?
peacetraveler22
Feb. 5th, 2016 12:09 pm (UTC)
It's surprising to me that marital rape is considered such a radical thing in Russia, or even an impossibility. :(( About sperm donors, I'm not sure. However, I know that in most cases the donors must sign very solid legal contracts, giving away any parental rights and, in most cases, agreeing to never contact or have communications with the child born from the sperm donation. I think in all of these sperm banks, the donor is merely identified by a "number", not a name. Thus, their identity should be shielded to the greatest extent possible to avoid disclosure. However, with the Internet, it seems there is really no full privacy and the identity of almost anyone (even a random "number") can be ascertained from a sophisticated web investigator.
moskitow
Feb. 5th, 2016 12:48 am (UTC)
I understand that everybody needs his/her rights to be protected......so sometimes maybe you need to exercise your "right to keep and bear arms".....Speaking as a mother. It's just making me sick to hear about things like this.
Sometimes, I really feel like Scarlett O'Hara is my favorite literature character.
As for Russian laws.....don't want even start....you've heard first hand what some men think about wife's responsibilities.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 5th, 2016 12:01 pm (UTC)
Some of these views are really scary. It makes me think I could really never be married if the majority of men think this way, but I don't think it is the case (esp. not in the USA). Although in certain parts of the country, like the Bible Belt, or highly conservative/religious areas, the views about a wife's "duties" probably do not differ much.
den_dark
Feb. 5th, 2016 09:23 am (UTC)
Really, rape - it is a very complicated issue.

But your laws are really something. I thought maybe in USA laws is very strict and we talk about others children of rapist - that he must be denied right to visit them and e.t.c.
On that regard I don't think rapist must always be punished for his crime and time with his children (not children from rape of course) - must be forbidden to him.

But actually we talk about how he can have rights for his children from rape. Wow. For my pov it is crazy, of course he mustn't have any rights. About laws in Russia - I think woman can say in documents that she "father unknown" and legally she will be single mother.

About Melendez - what the happening with your laws??? He have probation - not real prison-time for rape of 14yo girl. And two woman-teachers who had sex with 16-17yo boys with theirs agreement - they had real prison-time?!
peacetraveler22
Feb. 5th, 2016 12:06 pm (UTC)
In the U.S., the juvenile justice system is entirely different than adult criminal proceedings. The juvenile system is meant to "rehabilitate," not punish. In other words, to correct the behavior so the juvenile does not engage in a continued pattern of crime moving forward into adulthood. Conversely, criminal proceedings for adults are really meant to be punitive in nature. And those who are engaged in statutory rape of children will sometimes get draconian type sentencing. Of course, it is difficult to say when someone changes from a "child" to "adult" for sexual consent purposes, because it is solely a case of maturity and this varies by each individual. However, there must be laws on the books to protect against obvious cases of child rape - for instance, between a 40 year old man and 10 year old girl. In a lot of States, the sentences are much lesser if say the boy is 19 and the girl was 15 (but still young enough to fall under statutory rape laws). Yes, it's complicated. As I said in the post. :)
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theodorexxx
Feb. 5th, 2016 06:20 pm (UTC)
omfg i hope you was kidding, but you didn't
That all those Republican shit who want to ban abortion completely
peacetraveler22
Feb. 5th, 2016 06:31 pm (UTC)
Yeah, and would they be willing to adopt a rapist's baby when it can no longer be aborted? Doubtful. Or, take care of all the neglected kids. The answer is no. Yet, they all want to ban abortion.
creaze
Feb. 7th, 2016 10:37 am (UTC)
Almost offtopic.

Hey, Shannon, i was wondering to ask you since you're a lawyer.

I came across a woman who told she'd been a member of the jury once, so she told me how it goes in America. The serious laws against a member neglecting his jury job, and the paranoid selection process — that makes sense. But what i don't understand is, who does the verdict always have to be unanimous? Why doesen't a simple majority do?

Thanx. Just curious.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 9th, 2016 12:53 pm (UTC)
For criminal cases, the jury must be unanimous and the burden is very, very high for a prosecutor to prove guilt. Guilt must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, so if they can put even a small amount of evidence which suggests that the defendant may not have committed the crime, then he or she should be acquitted. Of course, in real life juries sometimes fuck up and the system doesn't always work properly. The reason why it must be unanimous is to ensure innocent people are not placed in jail, or wrongfully convicted. For civil cases, the verdict doesn't have to be unanimous, and there is a lesser burden of proof for the prosecutors. The reason is that civil cases usually involve lesser prison terms, or merely financial penalties.
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Re: oh - peacetraveler22 - Feb. 9th, 2016 01:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
anna_sollanna
Feb. 10th, 2016 12:48 pm (UTC)
I think in this case you shouldn't confuse parental rights and parental duties. Such rapists should have only duties but not rights. To pay alimony is a duty of a parent, to see the child is a right. That's simple.
Of course, there might be complicated situations like a father was erroneously accused of raping the mother, in this case he should have rights to decide whether he would require from the mother to return him all the alimony he had paid or not. As for visiting the child in this case - the father should have rights to request it, but the final decision should be made by judge according interests of the child.
peacetraveler22
Feb. 11th, 2016 11:52 am (UTC)
It is an interesting question, as to whether the father should still be obligated to make support payments even after his parental rights are terminated. In the U.S., this is not the case. It seems odd to still demand financial obligations from a parent, yet strip all of their rights to the child. Of course, no child should suffer due to a deadbeat or loser parent. Yet I think the state/government picks up the slack with subsidies and other welfare type benefits for the child/family.
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