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Unusual child custody matter sparks outrage

An unusual custody case has led to shock and outrage across the nation. The child custody matter did not take place in Colorado, and involves a convicted rapist and his former victim. The details of the case were so disturbing that a judge who ruled on the matter cut his vacation short to return and suspend his order until further hearings could take place.

The matter originated when a young mother sought financial assistance through her state's Department of Health and Human Services. The agency requires all parents who seek financial assistance to document their child's paternity and seek support from the absent parent. In this case, the biological father of the child in question is a man who raped the mother when she was only 12 years old.

The mother filed the paperwork required by the state, which prompted a DNA test and a hearing in which the rapist was determined to be the child's father. He was also ordered to pay monthly child support, although it is unclear whether that amount is to be paid to the state or directly to the mother. While the mother was granted sole physical custody of the child, the father was given joint legal custody.

The judge in this case claims to have had no knowledge of the history between the parties at the time of the hearing. The resulting order has been suspended, and an additional hearing is scheduled in the case. This child custody matter has led many to insist that the current policies and procedures be examined to avoid similar circumstances in the future. Few parents in Colorado or elsewhere would argue that a rape victim should never be forced to participate in a child custody case with her assailant.

Source: mlive.com, "Judge in child custody case unaware father was rapist", Michael Kransz, Oct. 12, 2017

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