Rapists Can Get Custody

A rape victim, who may find her attacker can assert parental rights over their child. (Shutterstock)

Rapists Can Assert Child Custody in 27 States
New York, Minnesota among states that offer no protection to victims By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff

Think Todd Akin’s comments about “legitimate rape” were medieval? Even scarier, and less-discussed, is the fact that many US states allow alleged rapists to apply for parental rights of children conceived by sexual assault, write Dana Liebelson and Sydney Brownstone at Mother Jones. “It sounds unfathomable,” they write, but rapists can “assert their parental rights and use custody proceedings as a weapon against their victims.”

At least 27 states, including Arizona, Minnesota, New York, and Mississippi, offer no protection for mothers of children conceived by rape. Some states, like Maryland and Missouri, were shocked to find no rule in the books and managed to pass laws. Other states have partial laws, like protecting the mother if her rapist is convicted. “Part of the problem is that many rapes go unprosecuted,” write Libelson and Brownstone. “Only 9 out of every 100 rapes are prosecuted and just 5 lead to a felony conviction,” according to one count.

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