MASSACHUSETTS – A Massachusetts man who pleaded guilty to raping a 14-year-old in 2009 is now seeking visitation rights for the child he fathered — a sensitive case that could force the victim to maintain contact with her rapist.
That possibility has left the teen mother in an emotional tailspin, according to Fox 25 Boston, and she doesn’t want to interact with the man — a then-20-year-old she had met through the same church.
“She got raped at 14,” the victim’s mother told Fox 25. “She decided to keep her baby. And now she has to hand her baby over for a visit with her rapist?”
“He threatened me,” the girl said of the rape. “He told me that he could make my life upside down, and I wouldn’t have anybody and he would pin it all on me. So I was scared.”
The victim’s rapist, who was not identified by Fox 25, was sentenced by Norfolk Superior Court Judge Thomas McGuire to 16 years probation in 2011.
Prosecutors were seeking three to five years in prison for the man, who pleaded guilty to four counts of statutory rape of a child, Fox 25 said.
But the probation was part of an arrangement in which he had to acknowledge he’s the baby’s father and follow probate and family court rules, according to the station.
That requires him to pay child support — but also gives him the chance to seek visitation.
An attorney for the man wouldn’t comment about visitation requests but said the initial relationship between the victim and his client was consensual.
But an attorney for the victim told the Daily News she filed a motion Aug. 1 asking the Superior Court judge to amend the sentencing conditions: Instead of child support, he would pay “restitution,” which would prevent him from gaining access to the child through family court.
“What was the criminal court judge thinking punishing the man with the privilege of parental rights?” attorney Wendy Murphy asked Wednesday. “That’s way past irony.”
By allowing the rapist access to family court, he would theoretically have a say in the child’s education, where she lives and her religious beliefs, she added.
“This family has been very clear from the beginning that they want nothing to do with this guy,” said Murphy, who teaches classes on sexual violence at New England Law-Boston.
“What legal system requires a toddler to have a relationship with the man who raped her mother?”
A Georgetown Law Study from 2010 found that 16 states have protections for women who’ve been raped, either prohibiting the rapist from visiting the child or allowing the victim to terminate the other parent’s rights.
Massachusetts is not one of those states.