Gusty A.E. Sunseri & Associates, P.C. Attorneys at Law

Underage father claims rape, refutes child support claim - Part II

In our previous post, we described a child support case with some elements that might surprise Pittsburgh residents - specifically, the father's claim that the child was the product of his being raped. The case that could set a new precedent when it comes to fathers who conceive a child against their will and the requirement for them to pay child support.

In this case, the now 23-year-old father contested a claim of child support for the expenses related to his child because he says he did not intend to have intercourse with the mother. In this post, we will describe the case from the point of view of the mother and the court.

The mother of the child was 18 years old when she conceived her son. Since the birth of the little boy, his father has not contributed anything financially towards his welfare. Until recently, the boy's mother has never asked for help.

The issue has now come up because the mother has moved to Michigan and asked for welfare assistance. As a result, Michigan has sent the father a letter requesting that he contribute to the financial support of his son.

Although the father vehemently denies that the sexual act was consensual, the mother says she did not force the boy to have sex with her.

The court in this case actually did not rule on the issue of consent. The father's claim that he did not owe child support was rejected based on the other precedents of underage fathers who had sex with women who then got pregnant.

In all of these cases, under the letter of the law these boys were technically "raped" because they were not of legal age. However, family courts have determined the relationship was consensual. As a result, the boys have been held responsible for child support for the children they have conceived.

This case is particularly interesting because it stands to set a new precedent for fathers who were underage when their child was conceived. Potentially, if this father could prove that he was, in fact, forced to have sex, then maybe he would not be held responsible for child support.

Because this young man feels that he should not have to pay child support for a child that he did not want, he plans to appeal his case. This story is important for all Pennsylvania men who may be placed in a position where they could father a child and be held responsible for child support.

Source: St. Petersburg Times, "He says he said no to sex, now says no to child support," Leonora LaPeter Anton, 31 July 2011

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