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Victim Sues State After Rapist Files for Visitation Rights

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Support

A woman who was raped when she was 14-years old is suing the State of Massachusetts because she says the state is forcing her to maintain a relationship with the man who raped her.

Two years ago, Jamie Melendez pleaded guilty to the rape of the girl who became pregnant. The baby was born in 2009.  Melendez was sentenced to 16 years of probation, and ordered by a judge to pay child support in the amount of $110 per week. Melendez is to make those payments through the family court.

KerryAccording to the lawsuit, the victim says Melendez had absolutely no interest in the child – until the court mandated he pay child support. Melendez then filed a petition with the family court seeking visitation with the child.

The victim had previously asked the court to force Melendez to pay criminal restitution, not child support, in order to stop him from seeking visitation, but both the state Supreme Judicial Court and the family court denied her request.

Lawyers for the victim argue in the lawsuit that the court order violates the victim’s federal rights, stating, "Through this action, the plaintiff requests that she be liberated from a state court order that not only imposes unlawfully on her liberty for 16 years, but also obligates her with the unwanted and inappropriate responsibility for ensuring Melendez’s compliance with the conditions of his probation; an obligation that should rest exclusively with state officials."

The lawsuit also points out that there has never been a record of any state court issuing an order that forces this kind of legal relationship between the rapist and the victim. The case has prompted the filing of several bills in the Massachusetts legislature which would strip all custody and visitation rights from convicted rapists, even if they pay child support.

There may be many reasons why one parent should not have custody, unsupervised parenting time with a child or any visitation rights, especially a parent who may be a danger. No matter what kind of custody battle you may be involved with, you need an experienced and knowledgeable Lombard family law attorney to fight for you and your children.

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