Kentucky–Background: According to TIME magazine, “For nearly two years, James Rhoades…has been fighting to establish in law what science and fact already have shown beyond any doubt: He is the biological father of the boy dubbed J.A.R…the boy’s mother, J.N.R., whom Rhoades met while taking an online graduate course…was — and still is — married to another man, who was stationed at a Pensacola Air Force base during their affair in 2005. And that’s the problem.
“[A] divided Kentucky Supreme Court told Rhoades that he could not press his paternity claim, no matter what evidence of fatherhood he might have, because J.N.R. was, and remains, a married woman…The decision has left Rhoades devastated. ‘What I wanted was not just to see my son but to participate in his life. He is my son and I love him.'”
In my recent blog post If there were ever a guy in a no-win situation, it’s James Rhoades, I explained that I “have mixed emotions about Rhoades and his case.” Ned Holstein tackles the difficult case in his recent blog post Sanctity of Marriage, or Discrimination Against Dads? Rhoades is pictured with his son above.
In a recent post, fathers’ rights activist David R. Usher called Rhoades “a predatory marital gigolo.” I quoted from Usher’s article and linked to it so my readers can see Usher’s perspective and judge for themselves. However, Usher took his article down and asked me to remove the quotes. My quotes were fair use but, as a favor, I have removed them.
Rhoades’ reply and the readers’ comments are below. As I noted earlier, I remain ambivalent about Rhoades and his case.
James Rhoades’ Rebuttal to Dave Usher
David R. Usher in his post “The James Rhoades Case: Mercenary Gigolo Does Not Make Three” has leveled many stinging accusations against me as a man and as a father. He has called me a mercenary gigolo, marital gigolo, disgusting individual, creep, redundant father, marital invader, mercenary gigolo du-jour, and marital offender. Of course I’ve never met Mr. Usher nor have I ever spoken to him, never-the-less he insists on insulting and belittling me for trying to participate in my son’s life.
Usher asserts with his diatribe that I be considered not as a father but rather as someone who should be on a “marital offenders” registry. He claims that the 2nd husband of my son’s mother is the father of my son and that I should have no rights or should not be identified to my son as his father. He also says I should be held responsible for the financial expenses and mental torture I’ve inflicted on Mr. Ricketts. He concludes his post by saying, “…save fathers’ rights for good men who did nothing wrong.”
I believe Usher has characterized me and my intentions unfairly. I have admitted that engaging in an affair was wrong and take full responsibility, however, that should not bar me nor my son from continuing the father-son relationship we had for the 1st three months of my son’s life. Why should I be stripped of a relationship with my son because he was conceived during an affair? How does that make me a non-father? The facts are undeniable, which prove I’m my son’s father. To say that I should go to jail for having an affair is very different from saying I should be stripped of my fatherhood.
According to Usher’s views there should be no blended families nor should we recognize unmarried fathers who have children. Usher has in one sweeping blow declared I don’t deserve any rights because a married woman had my son. Furthermore, he has concluded I’m a bad man and I should wear a scarlet “A” around my neck. In his diatribe he neglects to consider the implications upon my son or the value and importance of the truth. A truth my son deserves to know and will know, for one day my son will discover the truth and will discover how much I love him.
I’m not asking to be initiated into the men’s movement that Usher promotes–rather, I seek a place in my son’s life.