Fathers’ rights groups across the U.S. are calling out Arizona court officials for showing what they believe is a miscarriage of justice in the case of Nick Olivas.
Olivas was 14 years old when he conceived a daughter with a then 20-year-old woman. The year was 2006, and yet he wouldn’t learn about the fact until just two years ago. The state of Arizona came knocking, saying the Phoenix native owed child support.
According to court papers, he has a past balance of around $15,000, plus 10 percent. The state has already seized money from his bank account and takes $380 from his paycheck each month.
“The laws are not written to cover every possible scenario," said David Hamu, of the non-profit organization Arizona Fathers' Rights, to Fox News Latino. "The court is provided discretion to act with common sense, justice and equity in cases where the laws should not be applied literally,” he added.
Hamu believes Olivas’ case shows a gender bias in the child support system.
“I can tell you that there are plenty of men in Arizona prisons who have committed similar crimes and they will never see the children that they may have conceived as a result of statutory rape,” Hamu said.
Olivas, who is 24 now, could not be reached for comment.
A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Economic Security told FNL the state is “statutorily required to carry out court orders on child support payments and does not have the discretion to do otherwise."
The only exception, attorney Danette Pahl explained, would be if the parent seeking child support has been found guilty of sexual assault.
But Olivas never pressed charges, since he said intercourse was consensual. However, even if he was not forced to have sex, under state law a child younger than 15 cannot consent to sex under any circumstance. The sexual act automatically becomes rape.
This may not be the end of the story for Olivas, since he still could press charges. According to Pahl, who practices family law in Tucson, there is no statute of limitation on pursuing charges of sexual conduct with a minor under 15 years of age.
Moreover, she said, a conviction of the alleged rapist could impact both the child support case and the mother's rights to the child. If the mother, whose name hasn’t been released, were to be convicted of statutory rape, she would have to register as a sex offender and that may impact custody of the child as well.
"A criminal conviction for a sexual offense against a minor absolutely impacts a parent's ability to have that legal decision making and sometimes, depending on the circumstances, also would impact that parent's ability to have parenting time with the child," said Dahl.