A Louisiana mother who claims that she became pregnant by her rapist when she was teenager has been denied custody of her now 16-year-old child and also been ordered to pay child support to her alleged attacker, ABC affiliate WBRZ reported.
Crysta Abelseth, who was 16 years old at the time of the alleged 2005 attack, told the local news station that a judge had granted John Barnes, the child’s biological father and the then-30-year-old man who she alleges raped her, full custody of their teenage daughter.
“When my daughter was five years old, he found out about her, and once he found out about her, he pursued custody and wanted to take her away from me,” Ms Abelseth, 32, told WBRZ in an interview. “They granted him 50/50 custody despite the fact that [the child] was caused by rape.”
A DNA test was conducted to prove that Mr Barnes was indeed the father, according to court documents. The results showed a match with 99.97 per cent accuracy.
At the time of conception, Mr Barnes was allegedly 30 years old and Ms Abelseth was 16 years old, which in the state of Louisiana is considered illegal, even if there was consent.
When the pair met in 2005, Mr Barnes had allegedly asked her if he could escort her home from a Tangipahoa, Louisiana restaurant where they’d met. “Instead of bringing me home, he brought me to his house,” Ms Abelseth alleged in an interview with the news station. “Once inside, he raped me on his living room couch.”
Ms Abelseth didn’t press criminal charges against Mr Barnes until seven years ago, because, as she told WBRZ, she didn’t know how to navigate the law and mistakenly thought that if she hadn’t reported it by the next day, then she had no legal recourse.
A trauma counselor, however, informed the woman later that she had 30 years to report the crime after she turned 18. In the report she filed with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, viewed by WBRZ, she provided details of the alleged attack.
According to the news outlet, the investigation into the charges remains open at the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, and Ms Abelseth has said that her case was “never assigned to a detective”.
The Independent has reached out to the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office for comment but did not hear back before publication.
The case took an even more dramatic turn this year when Ms Abelseth was also ordered to pay child support to her alleged attacker, all because she’d reportedly given her teenage daughter a cell phone.
The next hearing in the case for Ms Abelseth to revoke Mr Barnes’ parental rights is scheduled for next month.
The WBRZ Investigative Unit made contact with Mr Barnes over the phone, where he admitted to being the father of Ms Abelseth’s daughter, but referred all questions to his lawyer, who never got back to the news outlet.
The Independent has attempted to reach Mr Barnes for comment, but has been unable to reach him.