Statutory Rape & Child Support

By The Law Offices of Ronald H. Kauffman of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Child Support on Monday, January 12, 2015.

Everyone knows a mother can sue the father of her child for child support. But did you know she can also sue him if she raped the father to get pregnant. It just happened to an Arizona high school student.

Nick became a father at 14, a fact he wouldn’t learn for eight years. While in high school, Nick had sex with a 20-year-old woman. As he sees it now, she took advantage of a lonely kid going through a rough patch at home.

Arizona law says a child younger than 15 cannot consent to sex with an adult under any circumstance, making Nick a rape victim. Nick didn’t press charges and didn’t realize he could.

Now Nick’s a 24-year-old medical assistant, and Arizona seized money from his bank account and garnished his wages. Nick says he owes about $15,000 in back child support and medical bills, along with interest.

Before a custodial parent may seek public assistance through Arizona’s welfare program, they are required to pursue child support to help reimburse the state for assistance payments, which the mother did.

Arizona doesn’t seek child support when the parent seeking the money has been convicted of sexual assault with a minor or sexual assault, the Arizona Republic says. But its policy is to seek child support from those in Nicks’ situation.

Florida law is consistent with Arizona’s and other states which have addressed the issue. The issue of consent is important to the crime of statutory rape, but is largely irrelevant in a civil action to determine paternity and child support.

As the Colorado Supreme Court noted in a similar case:

Certain it is that his assent to the illicit act does not exclude commission of the statutory crime, but it has nothing to do with assent as relating to progeny. His youth is basic to the crime; it is not a factor in the question of whether he is the father.

Nick tells the Arizona Republic he’s willing to pay future child support, but he doesn’t think the state should be able to charge him child support for the years he was a juvenile or when he didn’t know he was a father. And he would like to see his daughter.

The USA Today article is here.