In 2009, a 14 year old girl was raped in Massachusetts and became pregnant. Her attacker, Jaime Melendez, pled guilty to rape charges and was sentenced to 16 years probation. He was also brought into family court and ordered to pay $110 per week in child support, according to a paper published by the American Bar Association. It was bad enough that the sentence was only 16 years probation. Later, Melendez sued the victim in order to have visitation with the victim’s child since his parental rights were still intact. Melendez felt that if he was going to pay child support, he should be allowed to spend time with the child.
Many states have laws that restrict the rights of a father that produces children as a result of a sexual assault. Of these states, nearly none terminate the rights of the rapist outright without the victim making some sort of effort. Parental Rights termination is something that should be considered carefully, but this is probably an instance where termination of parental rights should be simple and easy to accomplish.
There is a list of things under Florida law that can result in termination of parental rights. Chapter 39 authorizes the termination of parental rights if clear and convincing evidence shows that the child was conceived as a result of a sexual battery. See F.S. 39.806. According to Florida law, “[i]t is presumed that termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child if the child was conceived as a result of the unlawful sexual battery.” A conviction, or a guilty plea being entered, is enough proof to satisfy the statute. Having to share parental rights with a person that violated you, only serves to continue the agony of the victim. At the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC, we have experienced Jacksonville family lawyers that can help you terminate the parental rights of your attacker, and help reclaim your peace of mind.