I’ve complained often about mothers who hide children from fathers. It happens for a number of reasons – because they think the dad doesn’t have a right to know about his child, because they want to place the child for adoption and they think the dad might “interfere,” because they’re married to another man, etc. Whatever the reason, by restricting the father’s knowledge about the child those mothers control his parental rights. The simple fact that no law anywhere requires mothers to inform fathers of the existence of their children is one of the greatest barriers to fathers’ ability to be connected to and care for their children.
Plentiful as those cases are, I don’t think I’ve ever run into one of the opposite kind – until now. In this case, the mother told the father all about his child (KING5, 8/23/10). Almost from the instant she learned of her pregnancy, Federal Way, Washington resident, Carmen Johnsen dutifully informed her ex-boyfriend that he was the dad.
And, despite the fact that they had split up, like any decent father, he stepped up to the plate and began doing all the things a man with a child on the way should do. While she was pregnant, he started paying Johnsen $700 per month to help defray medical expenses and pay for clothes, toys, furniture and other necessities for his child.
But then, five months and $3,500 later, he happened to see her in the flesh and, lo and behold, she didn’t look pregnant. When he confronted her, she claimed she’d miscarried, a fact she apparently didn’t deem worthy of mentioning to him.
Unconvinced, he went to the police, but Johnsen produced hospital records that showed she had in fact been pregnant. But when police checked further and obtained their own records from the hospital, they determined that Johnsen’s “records” were fakes.
“I’ve been doing this a little over 25 years and I don’t think I have ever seen a fraud case quite like this,” says Cathy Schrock with the Federal Way Police Department.
Backed against the wall, Johnsen played the abuse card, claiming that her ex was in some way abusive even though the two hadn’t set eyes on each other in months. She attempted to get several restraining orders issued, but all were denied.
In the face of almost certain proof that she’s been lying all along, Johnsen has changed her story yet again, claiming her ex had given her the money as a gift. Yeah, right. Let’s see. The two broke up, he started paying her money only after she told him she was pregnant, she fabricated documents to ‘prove’ that she was, as soon as he learned she wasn’t, he stopped paying and now she wants us to believe that he just gave her $3,500 out of the goodness of his heart. Please.
Carmen Johnsen is charged with forgery, perjury and theft. The boyfriend would like her to repay him the money she scammed. My guess is that she will. Somewhere somehow she’ll find that money and repay him. That’ll be called “restitution” and she’ll make it rather than go to jail. That’s my prediction. We’ll see how it shakes out soon enough.
For years now I’ve been arguing for laws that require women to identify the father of any child they carry to term. If there’s more than one possibility, both or all should be informed so that genetic testing can sort out the child’s actual paternity. That’s always seemed one of the simplest ways in which fathers can protect their parental rights. But now I’m forced to add a caveat; when the mother identifies the father, she needs to actually be pregnant. No fake medical records, no blow-up dolls. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that before.
Thanks to John for the heads-up.