Bill challenges rapist-father custody law

Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Charlie Butts (

man in handcuffsNebraska is working to overturn a child custody law that could put a mother and child in harm's way. 

A Nebraska woman, impregnated during a violent assault, decided to have the baby and raise her on her own.

Karen Bowling of Nebraska Family Alliance says the woman was shocked when the man who victimized her went to court seeking visitation rights.

Bowling tells OneNewsNow that the assailant used the judicial system to plea bargain down, and the courts awarded him rights to see the child in one-on-one visitation.

State Sen. Sara Howard of Omaha is sponsoring a bill that would change current state law to prevent such a ruling in the future.

Howard and other lawmakers are considering the trauma this mother must experience every time her rapist visits the child. Furthermore, he is now seeking overnight custody rights.

Under Howard's bill, the woman and others like her would be protected.

"If you would think through the lense of being the mother of this young girl who's now pushing the age of 5," says Bowling, "what extra trauma would it cause her, knowing [her] daughter is now in harm?"

In a similar case, a Nebraska man convicted of assaulting and impregnating a 13-year-old girl sued to block a couple from adopting the baby after its birth. State lawmakers passed legislation to prevent a rapist's intervention in such a case.


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