Statutory Rape Victim Forced to Pay Child Support

September 29, 2014 Posted by Halling Meza

nick-olivas

 

Is it fair for the victim of a crime to have his wages garnished to pay for the result of that crime? That is exactly what is happening to Nick Olivas, a 24-year-old Arizona man.

When Olivas was 14 he had sex with a 20-year-old woman. Arizona state law says that a child younger than 15 cannot consent to sex with an adult under any circumstance. This makes Olivas a victim of statutory rape even though he did not press charges, or even consider doing so.

Seven years later he was served with papers demanding child support. Olivas has no idea that the crime he was a victim to had made him a father. Not knowing what to do, he ignored the legal papers. The state has since seized money from his bank account and garnished his wages. He says he owes about $15,000 in back child support and medical bills, along with ten percent interest.

While it is understandable that the state goes after the non-custodial parent for child support when the custodial parent is on welfare, is it fair that they would garnish his wages and seek to hold him financially responsible? According to the Arizona Republic, Arizona does not seek child support when the parent seeking the money has been convicted of sexual assault with a minor or sexual assault. But because Olivas never pressed charges, the mother of his child was never convicted. Does the lack of a conviction make him less of a victim?

This is certainly not the first case of its kind. According to a 2011 article in the Georgia Law Review  “much of the law relating to child support is based on the fact that it is typically in a child’s best interest to receive financial support from mothers as well as fathers” even when there is “wrongful conduct by the mother.”  That was also the rationale for awarding O.J. Simpson custody of the children he had with Nicole Brown Simpson.

Olivas, now a 24-year-old medical assistant, says he would like to have a relationship with his daughter and is willing to pay future child support, but doesn’t think the state should be able to charge him support for the years he was a juvenile or when he didn’t know he was a father.

Sources: ABA Journal, Arizona Republic, USA Today

Photo credit: Charlie Leight, The Arizona Republic

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