Do Rapists Have Parental Rights? Interesting Facts

Again, in an effort to inform the public about all things about or related to paternity issues. IDTO wanted to share an interesting story line that most people may not be aware of which is taking place here in the United States. What we are talking about here is, rapists having parental rights of a child after committing a sexual crime against a woman.

Apparently, there are several states such as New York, Alabama, Ohio to name a few who currently allow rapists to sue for parental rights of a child they fathered. One person who has been on the front lines on this issue is Shauna Prewitt who is currently attempting to try to have this law changed in all states. Ms. Prewitt is a former rape victim herself who gave birth to a child and is currently an attorney who had to go through a legal custody battle with man who had raped her. Fortunately, the judge in Ms. Prewitt’s case saw fit not to allow the father parental rights due to the sensitive nature of the case.

Rape Statistics According to The Rape Survivor Custody Act

“According to several studies, it is estimated 5 that there are between 25,000 and 32,000 rape-related pregnancies annually in the United States.  A substantial number of women choose to raise their child conceived through rape and, as a result, may face custody battles with their rapists.

According to one study, 32.3 percent of 11 women who were raped and became pregnant as a result of the rape kept their child.

Another study found that, of the 73 percent 14 of women who became pregnant as a result of a rape and carried their pregnancies to term, 64 percent 16 raised their children.

Rape is one of the most under-prosecuted serious crimes, with estimates of criminal conviction occurring in less than 5 percent of rapes. The clear and convincing evidence standard 21 is the most common standard for termination of parental rights among the 50 States, territories, and 23 the District of Columbia.

The Supreme Court established that the clear and convincing evidence standard satisfies due process for allegations to terminate or restrict parental rights in Santosky v. Kramer (455 U.S. 745 3 (1982).

Currently only 6 States have statutes allowing rape survivors to petition for the termination of parental rights of the rapist based on clear and convincing evidence that the child was conceived through rape.

A rapist pursuing parental or custody rights forces the survivor to have continued interaction with the rapist, which can have traumatic psychological effects on the survivor, making it more difficult for her to recover. These traumatic effects on the mother can severely negatively impact her ability to raise a healthy child. Rapists may use the threat of pursuing custody or parental rights to coerce survivors into not prosecuting rape, or otherwise harass, intimidate, or manipulate them.”


Chart from the Huffington Post

















How About Passing a New Legislation?

Earlier this year, a new legislation called The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act was passed by the House of Representatives after years of great persistence. This act offer incentives to states that currently allow rapists to have the ability to parental custody and/or parental to rights of a child they fathered. According to the new bill the accused rapist must be convicted of the crime and the crime must be clear and concise in order for this law to truly be enforced. If you are interested in reading more about this topic please click here.