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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Should crime victims be punished?

Posted by Scott Tibbs at 4:00 AM (#)

It's a strange case: A victim of statutory rape is now being punished by the government because he was the victim of a crime. It's a little more complicated than that, but this does raise serious concerns.

Here's the deal. When he was 14 years old, Nick Olivas had sex with a 20 year old woman. Because the age of consent in his state is 15, the woman committed statutory rape. Olivas never knew the woman got pregnant until his daughter was 6 years old, and he was blasted with $15,000 in back support.

The back support is just plain wrong, and would be wrong even if Olivas had been an adult when his child was conceived. He never knew about the child and could not have been expected to pay his obligations for a child he never knew existed. It would be reasonable in that case to expect him to contribute to the child's welfare from that point forward, but not for the six years the child's very existence was hidden from him.

But it is his age when the child was conceived that makes this troubling, and makes the back support all the more unjustified. Technically, Olivas could not even legally consent to sex with the mother of his child. Under the laws of the state of Arizona, he is a rape victim. I cannot imagine this ruling would have been issued if the child was the product of a union between a 14 year old girl and a 20 year old man.

The problem here is that there is an innocent child in the mix who is not responsible for the circumstances of her conception, and who was denied the right to know her father. The state does have an interest in protecting the welfare of children. But does that make this ruling just?

No. This is an overreach by government, and the $15,000 in back support and medical bills is simply obscene. This is not justice. This is greed. It should not be allowed to stand.

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