A Louisiana judge granted the rapist custody of the child born from the 2005 assault and eventually ordered the payment of child support to his minor victim, a report said.
Krista Abelseth told WBRZ she was raped when a man nearly twice her age promised to take her home from a local restaurant after a night out with friends.
About John Barnes, who was 30 at the time, Abeleseth said, “Instead of bringing me home, he brought me to his house.” “Once inside, he raped me on his living room sofa.”
The station said the teen became pregnant and has a daughter, who is now a teenager herself.
“everyone agreed” [the pregnancy] was from a boyfriend, and I let them believe it,” Abelseth told the outlet.
Barnes reportedly came back in the picture five years later when he learned the baby could be his.
“When my daughter was five, she found out about her, and once she found out about her, she took custody and wanted to take her away from me,” Abelseth said, explaining That a DNA test almost certainly proved that he was the father.
“They gave him 50/50 custody despite the fact that [the child] It was because of rape.”
Abelseth filed rape charges against Barnes in 2015 after she learned it was within Louisiana’s statute of limitations, the station reported.
“I thought that if I didn’t do it the next day, I couldn’t do anything about it,” Abelseth reportedly said. “I went to a trauma counselor, and he said, ‘No, you have 30 years after you turn 18.'”
According to the station, the case was still open with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office, and no charges were filed.
“It was never assigned to a detective, and nothing was ever investigated,” Abelseth said.
The now-32-year-old said she struggled to gain any traction with the justice system and reportedly accused her daughter of giving her a cell phone.
According to the article, the court records regarding the matter were inexplicably sealed.
“He is well connected,” Abelseth told the station of Barnes, who owns Gumbox Digital Branding, a web company in Ponchatoula that works with local police.
“He has threatened me several times, saying he has ties to the justice system, so it’s better I be careful and he can take it whenever he wants. I didn’t believe him until that happened.”
Advocates and lawyers said the sequence of events was disturbing.
Stacey Trich of the non-profit Save Lives reportedly said, “When I found out she was a rape victim, and that this rapist could potentially get full custody, that’s when I stepped in and said about it.” something must be done.”
“He has been forced to pay his offender,” Trich said. “The rapist was forced to pay child support and legal fees and gave up custody of the child who is a product of the rape. It doesn’t make any sense.”
Legal observers noted that even if the charges of coercive rape could not be proven, the age difference between Abelseth and Barnes would be statutory rape. The age of consent in Louisiana is 17 years.
“It appears that not only has the crime occurred, but as a result of the crime, this person should not have custody of the child,” said Sean Cassidy, attorney for the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault. Article.
Barnes declined to comment to the outlet, along with Judge Jeffrey Cashey, who reportedly made the controversial custody decision.