In Nebraska, Rapists Can Sue Victims For Parental Rights

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Nebraska should close a legal gap that allows convicted rapists to gain custody or visitation rights to children conceived through rape, a lawmaker urged a legislative committee on Friday.

Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha said a young woman contacted her last summer looking for help from the Legislature because courts were requiring her to let her daughter spend time with the girl’s biological father. KA should close a legal gap that allows convicted rapists to gain custody or visitation rights to children conceived through rape, a lawmaker urged a legislative committee on Friday.

Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha said a young woman contacted her last summer looking for help from the Legislature because courts were requiring her to let her daughter spend time with the girl’s biological father. He pleaded guilty to third-degree sexual assault after impregnating the woman.

The state contacted him as the girl’s father when her mother applied for Medicaid benefits, and he succeeded in obtaining unsupervised visitation rights. A court is now considering granting the man overnight stays as well, Howard said.

“She’s forced by the state of Nebraska to co-parent her child with the man who raped her,” she said.

Howard read a letter from the woman, who was unable to drive to Lincoln to testify because of snow. She wrote that the man had urged her to obtain an abortion or give her daughter up for adoption, and the girl now dreads spending time with her biological father.

“I feel like a terrible mother, lying to her child to tell her it will be OK to go stay with my rapist,” she wrote.

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