Published September 25, 2012
A Massachusetts man is seeking visitation rights to the child he fathered after raping a 14-year-old girl, setting the stage for a legal battle in the Bay State.
The teen mother was raped by the 20-year-old family friend three years ago and says she still suffers from severe anxiety and depression. She says she is terrified at the prospect of having any dealings with her tormentor, reports MyFoxBoston.com.
The victim and her family are fighting back, saying the toddler’s biological father is only showing interest in the family now that the child support bill is coming due FoxNews.com is not identifying any of the subjects to protect the rape victim’s identity.
"She got raped at 14. She decided to keep her baby. And now she has to hand her baby over for a visit with her rapist?" the victim’s mother told the station.
The man, who the victim knew from church and who was the boyfriend of her friend’s older sister, pleaded guilty to statutory rape in Norfolk Superior Court last year. Prosecutor sought a 3-to-5-year sentence, but the judge in the case gave the man 16 years’ probation with the condition he acknowledges that he is the father of the baby and submits to family court orders, reports MyFoxBoston.com.
The family has hired attorney Wendy Murphy, who believes the problem stems from the sentence imposed in the criminal case, reports MyFoxBoston.com. She said making the man submit to a family court order opened the door to the visitation request.
"The consequences of sentencing this man to probation for 16 years, which is really until the child becomes an adult, and making him declare paternity and pay child support, includes that this guy gets a legal father-child relationship out of the deal," Murphy told the station.
Murphy has filed a motion with the court, asking the judge to amend the sentencing and order the man to pay restitution instead of child support. This would force him to support the child but not give him visitation and other parental rights.
"All this family wants is to cut the cord. Get the rapist out of their lives. And if the judge wants to help them financially that's great. But let's call it restitution, not child support," Murphy told MyFoxBoston.com. "What kind of legal system commands a toddler into a relationship with the man who raped her mother?"