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Woman Loses Custody of Daughter to Her Alleged Rapist | She Is Also Ordered to Pay Child Support

Woman Loses Custody of Daughter to Her Alleged Rapist | She Is Also Ordered to Pay Child Support

No action has been taken and the case is open seven years after she filed it.

Trigger Warning: This story mentions sexual assault which may be disturbing to readers

Crysta Abelseth was only 16 years old in 2005, when she met John Barnes, 30, at a bar in the City of Hammond. He offered the teen a ride, but instead of safely taking her home, he took her back to his place and forced himself on her.

“Instead of bringing me home, he brought me to his house,” Abelseth, from Louisiana, told WBRZ. “Once inside, he raped me on his living room couch.”

Abelseth, now 32, said when she became pregnant after the assault, she didn't bother to correct most people who assumed that the baby was her boyfriend's. “ ... And I let them believe that,” Abelseth shared. 

She gave birth to a baby girl and soon began to rebuild her life. However, Barnes pursued custody in 2011 when he found out about the 5-year-old child. Abelseth said Barnes received 50-50 custody at the time.

A DNA test proved that Barnes was the father of the child. At the time of conception, Abelseth was 16 and Barnes was 30. Given that the legal age of consent in the state is 17 years, the sex between them would have been considered illegal assault even if it was consensual, according to a law firm. 



 

 

Four years since, in 2015, Abelseth learned she could still report the crime. “I thought if I didn’t [report Barnes] the next day, there was nothing I could do about it,” she told the local news outlet. “I went to a trauma counselor, and he said, ‘No, you have 30 years after you turn 18.’”

So, the same year, she pressed charges against Barnes at the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office. It has been seven years since her filing and the case is still open, as no action has been taken. “It was never assigned to a detective, and nothing was ever investigated,” Abelseth added. 

What's even more shocking is the fact that in 2022, a judge granted the abuser full custody of his daughter, after he alleged Abelseth gave the teenager a cellphone. Also, court records in connection with the case were inexplicably sealed. The woman was also ordered to pay child support to Barnes. 

“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,” she recalled. “I didn’t believe him until it happened.”

Meanwhile, it was also reported that Barnes’ business, Gumbeaux Digital Branding, lists the Ponchatoula Police Department, which is located in Tangipahoa Parish, as a client. However, the department's name is no longer mentioned, and it also appears as though the website is under construction. 



 

Unfortunately, rape cases going unreported are not uncommon. Three out of four sexual assaults are not reported to the police. According to RAINN, for every 1,000 instances of rape, only 13 are referred to prosecutors. And only seven cases lead to a felony conviction.

References:

https://www.wbrz.com/news/investigative-unit-rape-victim-ordered-to-pay-her-abuser-child-support/

https://www.ericgjohnsonlaw.com/carnal-knowledge-of-a-juvenile/

https://www.rainn.org/statistics/criminal-justice-system

Cover Image Source: YouTube | New York Post
 

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