Woman forced to pay her own rapist – and he has custody of their daughter, 16

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A mum must give up custody of her daughter to her rapist dad and pay him child support in a shock court hearing.

Crysta Abelseth, 30, became pregnant 16 years ago when John Barnes, now 46, offered her a lift home but instead launched a sickening sex attack on his own sofa in Louisiana, US.

The teenage mother kept the child and told pals her father was a boyfriend at the time, which ran under the radar until Barnes discovered the then-five-year-old in 2010.

Barnes who owns a digital branding site which works with law enforcement agencies, has been fighting to obtain custody rights ever since.

Crysta reported the rape in 2015 but has still had her custody rights revoked having single-handedly raised her daughter to the age of 16.

Barnes alleged Crysta bought their daughter a mobile phone, which appears to have helped his case with Judge Jeffrey Cashe, who has also forced her to pay child support to her alleged rapist.

Police have not charged Barnes with rape, seven years since Crysta filed the report, despite the fact that even if their sex was consensual, the state's age of consent (17) still makes it statutory rape.

Crysta told WBRZ: "Everyone assumed it [the pregnancy] was from a boyfriend, and I let them believe that.

"When my daughter was five years old, he found out about her, and once he found out about her, he pursued custody and wanted to take her away from me.

"They granted him 50/50 custody despite the fact that [the child] was caused by rape."

Save Lives advocate Stacie Triche, who has helped Abelseth navigate the legal system as she tries to regain custody of her child, said: "She's been forced to pay her perpetrator…

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"Forced to pay her rapist child support and legal fees and give up custody of the child that's a product of the rape. It makes no sense.'

Now with no custody whatsoever, Crysta is fighting to get her daughter back and claims that her report of rape has not been thoroughly investigated by Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office.

She alleged: "It was never assigned to a detective, and nothing was ever investigated."

Barnes is the owner of Gumbeaux Digital, whose clients include Ponchatoula Police, where the company is located.

Crysta added that she didn't think it was possible to report rape the after 24 hours of the assault.

She told WBRZ: "I thought if I didn't do it the next day, there was nothing I could do about it.

"I went to a trauma counsellor, and he said, 'No, you have 30 years after you turn 18.' He's well connected.

"He's threatened me multiple times, saying he has connections in the justice system, so I better be careful and he can take her away anytime he wants to. I didn't believe him until it happened."

If you or somebody you know has been affected by this story, contact Victim Support for free, confidential advice on 08 08 16 89 111 or visit their website, www.victimsupport.org.uk.

  • Police
  • Crime
  • Teenagers
  • Courts
  • Parenting

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