February 21, 2017

New bills would strip rapists of parental rights

2-21-17 Massachusetts:

BOSTON – If a convicted rapist conceives a child through his crime, should he have parental rights for that child? Local legislators think absolutely not, and have put their opinions into action with two new bills.

Brockton state Rep. Michelle Dubois and Everett state Sen. Sal DiDomenico both filed bills in January to amend current state law, which says a person convicted of rape may be allowed visitation with the child conceived through that rape if a judge determines it is in the best interest of the child.

This law can result in convicted rapists repeatedly seeking visitation in family court, either to exert control over their victims, or to use as leverage to avoid paying child support.

In Massachusetts, one convicted rapist who has tried this is Jamie Melendez, who was convicted of raping a Braintree girl in 2009.

"There should be no part of the criminal justice system where you can rape yourself a family," Dubois said. "The fact that this is a possibility screams out for correction."

Both the bill filed by Dubois and the one filed by DiDomenico are intended to strip parental rights from convicted rapists whose victims have children such as Melendez or Brockton rapist Elbert Richardson.

Wendy Murphy, the attorney who represents Melendez's victim, agrees with Dubois and DiDomenico that the current law is unacceptable, but vehemently disagrees with the language of their bills. ..Continued.. by Anna Burgess

No comments: