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Do rape victims owe child support to children born of rape?

It is certainly not a story heard before: a man is claiming that his high school girlfriend raped him and is now making him pay child support for the child born out of that sexual encounter. While there doesn't seem to be any sort of precedent in Georgia, this Florida case could potentially change child support across the country.

A Florida court has denied the young man's initial motion to dismiss his ex-girlfriend's child support claim. The court noted the few cases of men who fought claims for child support when they had consensual sex with older women while they were minors. All three fathers lost because while they were considered rape victims under state law, the sex had been consensual. Courts refused to allow the men to skirt any child support obligations because they were technically raped.

But, that is not what this young Floridian is arguing. It seems that he has brought one of only two suits to dismiss child support obligations because he had been forcibly raped by a woman. The young man claims that he and his ex-girlfriend had decided to refrain from sex after a doctor told the couple that the girlfriend was particularly fertile after she had miscarried. When his girlfriend climbed on top of him, pinned him down, and locked him in a car, he says the sex was not voluntary.

The young woman soon found out she was pregnant and she and the young man tried to make things work. The couple approached his parents and told them what happened. The woman even went so far as to admit to his parents that she had forced herself on him. Despite the effort, the couple soon broke up.

The woman does admit that she was the one that started the sexual encounter and that the man had stopped her part way through. She denies his claims, however, that he tried to push her off of him. She steadfastly asserts that she did not rape her ex-boyfriend and that his accusations could ruin her life.

This unusual case could have dramatic implications in Georgia. It is possible that men could start asserting a "rape defense" in an effort to get out of paying child support.

Source: St. Petersburg Times, "He says he said no to sex, now says no to child support," Leonora LaPeter Anton, 31 July 2011

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William C. Gentry, Attorney at Law

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