January 16, 2013 — Nebraska Sen. Bill Avery on Monday introduced a bill (LB 182) that would allow attorneys to request that a convicted rapist lose his parental rights if a child was conceived during the assault, the AP/Omaha World-Herald reports.
Under the bill, county attorneys could file a petition to terminate a man's parental rights after he is convicted of a first-degree sexual assault. The man would be able to retain parental rights only if the woman agreed to let him do so and a judge determined that it would be in the best interest of the child.
If a male defendant in a sexual assault case sought custody before criminal proceedings were complete, judges would be required to temporarily put the request on hold and allow the custody suit to proceed if the man was found not guilty.
The measure also would permit judges to order the man to pay child support if it is deemed to be in the best interest of the child.
Avery said he introduced the bill as a pre-emptive measure after hearing about an Illinois case involving a man who sought custody of a woman's child while she was pursuing rape charges against him. The case "was so egregious, and such an insult to the mother and child, that it seemed this kind of pre-emptive legislation wouldn't be a bad idea," Avery said.
Avery's bill is awaiting review by the Legislature's Judiciary Committee (AP/Omaha World-Herald, 1/14).
Debra Ness, publisher & president, National Partnership
Andrea Friedman, associate editor & director of reproductive health programs, National Partnership
Marya Torrez, associate editor & senior reproductive health policy counsel, National Partnership
Melissa Safford, associate editor & policy advocate for reproductive health, National Partnership
Perry Sacks, assistant editor & health program associate, National Partnership
Cindy Romero, assistant editor & communications assistant, National Partnership
Justyn Ware, editor
Amanda Wolfe, editor-in-chief
Heather Drost, Hanna Jaquith, Marcelle Maginnis, Ashley Marchand and Michelle Stuckey, staff writers
Tucker Ball, director of new media, National Partnership