NewsPublic Affairs / October 27, 2015

Panel Recommends Legislation To Terminate Parental Rights Of Rapists

A panel of Indiana lawmakers Tuesday approved potential legislation that would allow mothers to terminate the parental rights of their rapist.   - file photo

A panel of Indiana lawmakers Tuesday approved potential legislation that would allow mothers to terminate the parental rights of their rapist.

file photo

INDIANAPOLIS -- A panel of Indiana lawmakers Tuesday approved potential legislation that would allow mothers to terminate the parental rights of their rapist. 

A bill authored last session to terminate a rapist’s parental rights failed to even get a committee hearing.  But the hopes of its advancement this coming session are boosted by a unanimous recommendation from the Criminal Code Study Committee.  The proposed legislation would allow a victim whose child is the result of rape to petition the court to sever the rapist’s parent-child relationship. 

While lawmakers are wholly supportive of the idea, they acknowledge its execution is a little more complicated.  That includes language that could require rapists to pay child support even if their parental rights are terminated – something study committee member Bob Freese, a Hendricks County judge, says is important to include.

“If we don’t do this, it victimizes the child, plain and simple,” Freese said.

Other issues committee members said need to be ironed out include how soon a mother would have to file such a petition after the child’s birth and whether a child’s right to an inheritance would last beyond the termination of parental rights.

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