A Boston man who raped a 14-year-old girl and got her pregnant when he was 20-years-old is now demanding visitation rights for the child he fathered with her.
Fox Boston reports on the legal matter that is quickly setting new precedents in Massachusetts. The family of the child believes that the rapist is only looking for visitation rights since his child support bill has started to roll in.
The teenage victim, who now suffers from anxiety and depression as a result of her attack, is reportedly “terrified” at the thought of the rapist father being granted visitation.
“He threatened me,” the young mother said of her rapist. “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 was attacked when she was only 14-years-old and in the eighth grade. She knew her attacker, a 20 year old boyfriend of a friend’s older sister, from church. The interaction between her and her rapist is believed to be consensual, although glaringly illegal.
When her mother found out about the horrible attack, she instantly contacted authorities. The teenager decided to keep the child - “Being Christian, the way I looked at it, the way I thought of it, this is a baby, an innocent person that didn't do anything wrong. Like, why should I take away that life?"
In 2009, the man was charged with four counts of statutory rape, and pled guilty to the charges last year. His name is being withheld in order to protect the rights of the victim and her family.
The Norfolk prosecutor asked that the man be punished with three to five years in prison; however, Superior Court Judge Thomas McGuire sentenced the rapist to 16 years of probation under the condition that he acknowledges he is the father of the child, and abides by the probate and family court - which has since ordered him to pay child support.
"He hasn't cared up until now. Why should he now? She's three. She doesn't know who he is," said the teenage victim.
Attorney for the victim’s family, Wendy Murphy, said, "Why was this case sent to family court? This isn't a family situation. This is a criminal situation.
"The consequences of sentencing this man to probation for 16 years, which is really until the child becomes an adult, and making him declare paternity and pay child support, includes that this guy gets a legal father-child relationship out of the deal," Murphy said of Judge McGuire’s sentence for the man.
Murphy filed a motion looking for the man’s child support payments to be changed over to restitution, which would still force him to acknowledge being the father, but wouldn’t grant him visitation or other parental rights.
"All this family wants is to cut the cord,” Murphy said. “Get the rapist out of their lives. And if the judge wants to help them financially that's great. But let's call it restitution, not child support," Murphy said.
"This was a young girl. Way, way beneath the age of consent," Murphy said. "If the judge thinks this isn't as serious as a stranger rape, and if this is a judge saying to himself, ‘I wouldn't have done this if it had been a stranger in a dark alley,' then that's a judge that maybe shouldn't be sitting on criminal cases because we got over that distinction I think 30 years ago."
"What kind of legal system commands a toddler into a relationship with the man who raped her mother?" Murphy asked.