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Child custody outcome leads to public outrage

Some Texas readers may be aware of a current case in a different state in which a rape victim was forced into a custody case with the man who assaulted her. While the parties were not involved in a traditional child custody standoff, many people are shocked that the court system allowed such a case to move forward. The judge and other officials involved in the matter are scrambling to rectify the situation.

A 21-year-old mother was required to file a paternity and child support action against her child's father after she sought financial assistance from her state Department of Health and Human Services. Such actions are common when one parent seeks financial support, as the state has an interest in securing the financial assistance of the absent parent. However, in this case, there were unsettling details that appear to have been overlooked.

The child at the center of the case was conceived during the rape of the mother when she was just 12 years of age. Her 19-year-old attacker was sentenced to one year in jail and has additional sexual assault convictions on his record. He has had no contact with the woman or child, yet he participated in the paternity and support hearing process.

The mother was granted sole custody of her child. The father was ordered to pay child support but received no custody or visitation rights. However, his paternity rights were established, leaving a possibility of a future custody matter.

When the judge found out about the history in this case, he suspended his order and scheduled a hearing to pursue the matter further. It is unlikely that this father will receive any rights to participate in the life of the child. However, for many readers in Texas and elsewhere, there is a serious flaw in the system when this type of child custody case is allowed to move forward.

Source: mlive.com, "Judge in child custody case unaware father was rapist", Michael Kransz, Oct. 12, 2017

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