Man hounded for child support for 20 years, but it’s not his kid

CBS Chicago

He says he's not the father and he's got proof. A South Side man is back in court Thursday morning trying to convince the state to leave him alone. He's been in and out of courts for 21 years.

Even the mother of the child says the baby's not his. CBS2′s Dorothy Tucker takes a look at why the state won't listen.

"This is not my kid," said Sean Harbin — and he has the paternity tests to prove he's not the biological father.

"I've had suicidal thoughts, really, about this ordeal, because it's like every time I try to get on track this comes up," Harbin said.

He got off track in 1991, when he was ordered to pay $70 a week for a child he initially thought he might have fathered. But when he began to have doubts, he stopped paying. Then the state garnished his wages and kept his income tax refund check — taking more than $3,000.

That's when Sean started fighting the custody case and in 2001, he was "excluded from paternity."

"I thought it was over. I just knew it was over," Harbin said.

But it was far from over. The state kept sending Harbin bills and he kept going to court, filing motion after motion, trying to tell the courts he wasn't the father. He represented himself because he couldn't afford an attorney.

"Sean's biggest mistake was not knowing what petition to ask for," said an unidentified caseworker from Division of Child Support Services.

"When the genetic test came back, all he had was the results. He never had the order to end the support or vacate the order," the caseworker said.

In 2006, court papers show that the mother of the child even came to court and admitted that Harbin wasn't the father, so the state forgave some $40,000 in back payments.

But Harbin still needed to file the correct papers to dismiss the case and he said he found little direction from the courts.

"I'm trying to figure out what do I have to say to them, 'what motion?'" Harbin said.

In 2009, the state suspended Harbin's driver's license. He found that out two months ago.

After CBS 2 made some phone calls, representatives from Child Support Services and the Cook County State's Attorney's office said they'll look into the Harbin's case and take appropriate action.