Los Angeles, CA–In my recent blog post Court Rules Boy Must Pay Child Support to His Rapist I discussed a new Ohio case where a 15-year-old boy who was statutorily raped is being forced to pay child support to his rapist. There are other, similar cases, such as County of San Luis Obispo v. Nathaniel J and the Michigan case below.
In this case, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that a man who was statutorily raped by a married woman when he was 14 owes child support for their son. According to a February 21, 2004 article in the Detroit Free Press by Dawson Bell:
A man who had sex with a married woman when he was 14 owes child support for their now teenage son, even though under state law, the sex act was likely a crime, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled in a decision released Friday.
The case involves a Macomb County woman and a former Detroit-area man, now 29, and their son. The court ruled that “the purpose of child support is to provide for the needs of the child; it is awarded without regard to the fault of either of the parents.”
The unanimous three-judge panel reversed a ruling by a Macomb County judge, who had found that ordering child support would be unjust.
The case files were suppressed on the circuit and appellate levels, and all of the participants either could not be reached or declined to discuss the case Friday.
The case was precipitated in 2000, according to the panel’s decision, when the mother divorced and a blood test determined that her ex-husband was not the child’s father.
The father, who was 14 at the time his son was conceived, said he had no knowledge of the child until he was notified by the court. He said forcing him to pay child support would reward the perpetrator of the crime against him.
The appeals court rejected that claim and said the payments are not for the mother, but to support the needs of the child, which is justified as an “important public policy.”
Last week, the state Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s ruling that a western Michigan man owes child support to a 21-year-old daughter he has never met and, until four years ago, did not know he had fathered.