Should a rapist be able to sue for paternal rights?

Was this a pre-existing condition or a secondary result of said rape? In other words, she only crawls into a bottle to deal with the emotional trauma of said rape.

I hear what you’re saying, and understand, but still vote ‘No’. There’s a lot of ways society should bend over backwards for a kid’s welfare, but to bend over backwards for someone who screwed up that badly? No. Sorry. Them’s the breaks. As far as the child having no other options, I would imagine that being a convicted rapist would put one fairly low on the list of potential, other adopters/families. I would HOPE so, anyway.

I voted yes… but only with the conditional that it should be successful only in extraordinarily rare circumstances.

Imagine Ann and Bob both get really drunk. And while Ann doesn’t really like Bob and normally wouldn’t give Bob the time of day. But on this night Ann and Bob have sex. In the morning neither remembers the encounter. Ann realizing she had sex, reports it to the police as rape. Bob becomes a suspect and is convicted on eyewitness testimony, “sure I saw Bob all over Ann,” and DNA evidence.

Now Bob might very well be convicted of rape. Ann might not hold any rancor toward Bob. She might not even consider the encounter to be rape anymore. At that point the DA and the police don’t need her permission to prosecute. In such a case I feel a family court judge should be able to look at the specifics and allow Bob some parental rights. And family court judges should be able to tell the other 99.999% of rapists to sod off.

Add in various other “statutory rape” situations, where say a 17 year old in some states may be a convicted rapist because he got his, entirely willing, 16 year old partner pregnant. After all not all states have close in age exceptions. I think while in general, no rapists shouldn’t be able to gain parental rights. And I would like to see laws that make this really, really, really hard, with a huge barrier to even file. But it shouldn’t be an absolute ban.

Why would you lump an isolated incident of marital rape in with those other examples?

I will never understand why some people think it’s possible to be a bad person but a good parent.

I think at this point that the legal definition of ‘rape’ is too broad to make a blanket statement. Statutory, for example.

I certainly agree that not every person who has committed any act that legally qualifies as some type of rape in a given jurisdiction is a bad person, but the post I was replying to specifically asked if the guy might be a good dad even if he’s a despicable person. I do not believe that is possible.

If the condition prevents her from caring for the child… does it matter how she got that way? Certainly you wouldn’t say it’s okay for her to neglect the child because it’s not her fault she’s an incompetent parent.

I don’t necessarily think it is possible, but I’m leaving it open. Are there war criminals, for example, who loved their children and treated them well?

I voted no and then read through some of the comments. This part of your comment struck me as an exception. So now I’m not so sure.

Here’s the thing, though. If Ann has no animosity toward Bob, she is entitled to give Bob as much visitation as he wants. Same with a statutory rape between two willing partners, or even a “legitimate” violent stranger rape. If the mom wants to allow access, she may, legally. Saying the rapist cannot have parental *rights *just means they cannot be guaranteed visitation and/or custody by law; it’s not at all the same (and please correct me if I’m wrong) as saying the rapist is forbidden from having contact with that child (or any other). In my opinion, that deals with most of the exceptions.

But I’m still on the fence. At first, I was all, “Fuckin’, NO!” But having read through the thread, I can imagine exceedingly rare situations where there’s a wrongful rape conviction (like a mistaken identity, or some other baroque soap-opera plot), but the mom still wants to refuse access. I’d like for the guy to have the ability to at least try to plead his case - not to overturn the conviction, but to demonstrate that in spite of the conviction, he is an upstanding citizen who may in fact be a better parent than the mom. But it seems to me this system would ultimately benefit far more rightly convicted rapists than wrongly convicted ones. It’s tough, because I want the law to be fair to everyone in all cases, and it just can’t.

I don’t think so. It’s like my psycho ex, who although he has no kids (THANK GOD) he really loves kids and in all the years I’ve known him he’s never once acted anything less than very nice in my daughter’s presence, and I have every reason to believe he’s the same way with other kids he spends a lot of time with like his nephews.

BUT, he also slashed my tires which really upset and affected my daughter, stole from me which is also stealing from my daughter, wasted countless hours of my time which I could have spent doing something more beneficial to my daughter, etc. No matter how sweet and patient and fun he acts with kids, he would still be a terrible parent, because the being a bad person part will always bleed through somehow.

I don’t think it’s at all impossible for it to be in a child’s best interest to have a connection with a rapist father.

In addition to the scenarios outlined by Manda JO, there’s also such a thing as reform. A lot of people who have done very bad things have turned their lives around in a positive way, and there’s nothing magical about rape which makes it impossible for perpetrators of such crimes to do likewise.

Nonetheless, it would still be very traumatic for the mother/victim to have to deal with the guy, and I say her interests outweigh the child’s.

These things are not connected. Abortions are a separate moral issue.

“You see, Susie, when a man and a woman love each other very, very, much, or, alternatvely when a man holds a broken beer bottle to a woman’s neck in the alley alongside the Quik-E-Mart, . . .”

I can think of plenty of (rare, unlikely, but totally possible) situations.

For example, Mark and Suzie are high school lovers. One night at a party after a fight, Mark makes some terrible decisions and forces himself on Suzie. In the aftermath, Suzie tells her father what happened and he encourages Suzie to defend the family honor by pressing charges. Mark does his jail time, and Suzie, feeling terrible about how intense and out of hand the whole situation is, develops a friendship with Mark, eventually become one of his closest confidents. She also bears his child.

When Mark is released, they live together as a family, and Mark steps up to the plate to be a good husband to Susie and good father to his sons. Unfortunately, people change and young marriages face some real issues. Suzie starts falling into the wrong crowd and develops a drug habit. She eventually gets together with her dealer, who tries to drive a wedge between her and Mark in order to have better access to her (and maybe her children.) He encourages her to cut off ties with Mark and to keep him away from the children.

Mark, not wanting his children to be in the hands of a drug dealer, sues for custody.

Far-fetched? Maybe, but weirder stuff has happened.

There shouldn’t be blanket ban but there should also be protections for the mother if a rapist father does decide to sue for parental rights. Otherwise he could just use it as another stick to beat her with. In fact, I’d be surprised if that doesn’t happen already.

Yeah, it probably would, but not all, especially if the mother died or became incapable of looking after the child.

I’m not sure if the above scenario (ETA: now two posts up) is possible. I have a hard time believing that someone who isn’t a bad person ever *wants *to rape someone, so it wouldn’t be just a matter of making bad decisions and not controlling your impulses, which of course are mistakes that decent people can make.

Maybe I’m wrong. I can’t get inside the mind of a rapist, but it just seems like there must be something fundamentally wrong with someone who has a desire to rape. You can come back from making a terrible mistake but you can’t come back from being a fundamentally bad person.

Saying she has no animosity towards him doesn’t necessarily mean she likes him, or that she wants him to have contact with the kid. It’s hardly unheard of for someone to try and squeeze their ex out of the picture when it comes to child contact, and it seems even more likely to happen if it was someone she wouldn’t normally have slept with. Should that be entirely her choice?

Yes, it’s getting very hypothetical, but I can definitely see there being a case for judging parental rights seperately from judging whether or not someone has been raped- especially when there’s judgement call situations involved like both parties being intoxicated to some degree, or for statutary rape in some cases. It shouldn’t be the default, but neither should it be totally out of the question.

Me too, except I actually did vote Other because I’m too stupid to operate radio buttons. :frowning:

Yeah, I agree. That’s why I went on to say:

But, as I said, I suspect such a process would - or at least, has the potential to - benefit more “bad guys” than “good guys”. The problem, as I see it, is that we want to be able to assess parental fitness without regard for the rape conviction, but only in certain cases - which means we first have to consider every rape conviction. Even if we allow for “statutory-but-otherwise-consensual” rapes, how do we deal with the rest? How do we distinguish a woman who was truly traumatized from one who just wants to punish the guy? What if she’s both? And how do we distinguish a guy who legitimately changed and wants to be a good father from one who just wants to punish the woman for getting him convicted of rape? And what if he’s both? How do we prevent it from becoming Rape Trial, Part II?