Much to the appall of lawmakers and the public alike, a legal loophole exists in Nebraska that makes it possible for convicted rapists to seek visitation rights and custody of their children conceived via rape. However, Omaha Senator Sara Howard is supporting a change to the law that would prevent rapists from seeking such parental rights.
The senator became sensitive to the issue after a young woman reached out to her asking for help. The woman said that a Nebraska court required her to give visitation time to the man who sexually assaulted and impregnated her. Now, a court is deliberating whether to grant him overnight stays.
According to the mother, she is horrified and feels like a bad mother because she has to send her child away to spend time with her rapist. Senator Howard read an affidavit written by the woman about her situation. She said that the father of her daughter asked her to get an abortion, and then asked her to put her baby up for adoption. The mother said that her daughter does not like to spend time with her father.
At this time, the only parents protected in Nebraska from needing to let their rapists spend time with their children are teenage parents. Only 35 states, and Washington, D.C., have enacted laws to protect adult mothers from facing such a difficult situation. The law in these states allow adult sexual assault victims to terminate a rapist’s parental rights.
If you were the victim of sexual assault and a court ordered you to let a rapist spend time with your children, legal options may be available to you. By contacting a Nebraska family law attorney you can develop a legal strategy to try and overcome this issue.
Source: Star Tribune, “Victims plead for end to Nebraska rapists’ parental rights,” Julia Shumway, Associated Press, Feb. 24, 2017