When Nick Olivas was 14, he had sex with a 20-year-old woman. He didn’t know that according to Arizona law, sex with a child under the age of 15 is considered statutory rape. What he also didn’t know until almost ten years later was that the woman became pregnant and had his child.
At age 24, while working as a medical assistant in Phoenix, Olivas was served with papers demanding child support for a daughter he didn’t know he had. Yes, a victim of statutory rape is being held financially responsible for a child he fathered during the crime.
Olivas is trying to do the right thing — he is offering to start paying child support as of the date he was notified about the child, while he was an adult. He also wants to be a part of the child’s life. What he doesn’t want to do is pay the $15,000 in back child support incurred while he was still a child and before he knew the child existed. This seems more than reasonable, right? Well, the courts don’t agree.
USA Today cites two previous cases, one involving a 13-year-old who impregnated his 17-year-old babysitter, and another with a 15-year-old whose 34-year-old neighbor became pregnant with his child. In both cases, the boys involved were ordered by state social service agencies involved to pay child support. The only way children are exempt is if the parent seeking support has been found guilty of sex with a minor or sexual assault. In addition, Arizona law states specifically that children who have children can be forced to pay child support (say that three times fast before you punch a wall) once they become adults, and that they don’t, in fact, have to have known about the child for child support to be required.
This. Is. Crazy Talk. And these laws were developed in Crazy Court. Presided over by the honorable Judge That Don’t Make No Kind Of Sense.
I understand that the child that was conceived had nothing to do with this and needs to be cared for. But should a person who was raped as a child need to held responsible? And should they be asked to pay for the birth of a child they didn’t know about who was conceived during that rape? That can’t be okay. That isn’t okay.
Father’s Rights Groups (which are typically pretty gross) are all over this one. In this case, however, I agree with them. I mean, how can you read statements like this, made by a Kansas court in 1993 ruling of Hermesmann v. Seyer, and not feel disgusted?
If voluntary intercourse results in parenthood, then for purposes of child support, the parenthood is voluntary. This is true even if a fifteen-year old boy’s parenthood resulted from a sexual assault upon him within the meaning of the criminal law. (149 Wis.2d at 360.)
We cannot hold children financially responsible for children they conceive while being raped. Why is this something that even needs to be said?