There is a question that seems to have an obvious answer: If you are a 14-year old r@pe victim, should you have to share parental rights with your attacker?
A woman in Massachusetts is suing asking that she not be forced to endure “a court-ordered 16-year unwanted relationship with her attacker.”
The woman has been told by the courts that she has to respect her attacker as the father of the child, even though she wants nothing to do with him. The young lady, out of Norwood, Massachusetts, is simply known as HT, to protect her identity.
“The plaintiff, a rape victim in a state criminal matter, became pregnant in 2009 at age 14 as a result of the crime and gave birth to her attacker’s child,” the lawsuit states.
“The defendant in the state criminal proceeding, age 20 at the time of the impregnation, was convicted of rape in 2011 and was sentenced to 16 years probation. Conditions of probation include an order that he initiate proceedings in family court and comply with that court’s orders until the child reaches adulthood. The plaintiff here seeks to enjoin enforcement of so much of the state court’s order as violates her federal rights by binding her to an unwanted 16-year legal relationship with her rapist.”
The young woman just finished high school and finds it to be infuriating that she has to deal with the man who traumatized her. This doesn’t even include the annoyance of legal fees.
“The plaintiff will suffer irreparable harm without relief from this court because she cannot choose not to participate in said family court proceedings without risking serious consequences, including the loss of custody of her child,” the complaint states.
“Even if the family court ruled in the plaintiff’s favor on issues currently in dispute, such as whether the criminal defendant should be granted visitation rights to the plaintiff’s child, the plaintiff will suffer harm from the constant threat of new issues arising in family court until her child reaches adulthood, including, for example, efforts by the criminal defendant to seek to modify child support orders and enforce his parental rights at the trial court level and on appeal.”
The woman was impregnated by 20-year old Jamie Melendez in the fall of 2009. The girl then quit her job and took care of the baby with her mother.
“The plaintiff and her mother repeatedly informed state officials that they wanted no contact with Melendez for any purpose and that they did not want the child born of the crime to have a relationship with Melendez,” the complaint states.
“Melendez pleaded guilty to rape in September, 2011 (Norfolk Criminal Docket No . CR200900499) and was sentenced to probation for 16 years. As a condition of probation, Melendez was ordered to initiate proceedings in family court, declare paternity as to the child born of his crime, (paternity had already been determined in the criminal case, via DNA testing), and comply with the family court’s orders throughout the probationary period. The plaintiff and her mother were adamantly opposed to participation in family court proceedings and repeatedly expressed this sentiment to state officials.”
It was later that the child’s father sought out visitation for the baby. It would seem that being convicted of s*exual assault should be an automatic surrender of your parental rights. But the complexities of pregnancy can make this into a cruel and unusual world.