WMFD TV

Search Archive WMFD.com News

www.wmfd.com - Tens of thousands of pregnancies each year are a result of rape, and for many of the victims, sharing custody with their attacker is a very real and frightening possibility. }}" />

   
 
 
In 31 States, Rapists Allowed Rights To Victim's Child

Story By: Larry Stine

 

 

 
 
 
  Email Story to Friend
   
  Original Published: 8/1/2013  The Ohio man who pleaded guilty to imprisoning three women in his Cleveland home for about a decade each will receive his sentence Thursday.   One of Ariel Castro's victims, Amanda Berry, gave birth to his daughter while in captivity.   Tens of thousands of pregnancies each year are a result of rape, and for many of the victims, sharing custody with their attacker is a very real and frightening possibility.   Ted Rowlands reports.   When Ariel Castro asked to see the six-year-old girl he fathered by raping Amanda Berry, one of his three captives, a judge ruled no, that it was inappropriate.   The idea that a monster like Castro would have any parental rights is hard to believe, but in 31 states, rapists do, in fact, enjoy the rights of a father.   "I was astonished," says Shauna Prewitt, a rape victim.   Prewitt, who was raped at the age of 21, is now a lawyer, and is helping to enact new federal guidelines that push states to pass laws to strip rapists of their parental rights.   According to a 1996 study by the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, each year there are approximately 32,000 pregnancies resulting from rape.   While the majority of those pregnancies are terminated, as many as a third of those women give birth.   Prewitt says she kept her daughter, in part, because being pregnant helped her get through the pain of being raped.   "Just not feeling so alone, not feeling so dead inside, because I actually had this life growing within me and it was a comfort to me," she says.   But critics say most cases aren't as clear as the Castro case and judges currently have enough power to prevent unfit fathers from seeing their children.   "There are lots of solutions that are short of this and I think a lot of time when things come in this top-down fashion, based on one or two truly tragic stories, we end up making bad law," says attorney Aviva Orenstein.   Prewitt says there are other women out there just like her, who had no idea when they decided to keep their children, that their attackers had parental rights.   "If we knew this possibility loomed on the horizon, that we could spend the rest of out lives tethered to our attackers because of our decision to have our children, would we have made the same choice?" asked Prewitt. "And I think that's hard to answer."
   
  MORE RECENT NEWS
 
Image1 Madison School Board approves increase in lunch prices as well as repairs for high school roof. Full Story
Image1 A 5K in our backyard takes place this weekend to benefit a local family. Full Story
 
Image1 Two local universities formalize a long-standing partnership to prepare students for nursing careers. Full Story
Image1 Mansfield firefighters are spending some time around Central Park with boots in their hands. Full Story
  MORE NEWS
 

Mansfield Firefighters Hold Boot Drive For MDA

Former teacher gets probation for sex charges

Mansfield Schools Open For New Year

Armed Robber Hits Park Avenue East Gas Station

Eastview Elementary Parents Club Reports $10,000 Theft

Mansfield man arrested for robbery and abduction

State Patrol Investigating Fatal Crash Near Bellville

Bucyrus Native Rides Bike From Alaska For Reunion

Mansfield man will be sentenced in shooting case

Richland Co. Dog License Fee Increases Next Year

Kidnapping suspects indicted by Richland County Grand Jury

Avita Health System Opens First Phase In Ontario

Ribbon Cut For Buckeye Village Apartments

Local ALS Patient Thrilled With Ice Bucket Challenge

More News