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Arizona statutory rape victim forced to pay child support
Nick Olivas became a father at 14, a fact he wouldn’t learn for eight years.
While in high school, Olivas had sex with a 20-year-old woman. As he sees it now, she took advantage of a lonely kid going through a rough patch at home.
State law says a child younger than 15 cannot consent with an adult under any circumstance, making Olivas a rape victim. But Olivas didn’t press charges and says he didn’t realize at the time that it was even something to consider.
The two went their separate ways. Olivas graduated from high school, went to college and became a medical assistant.
Then two years ago, the state served him with papers demanding child support. That’s how he found out he had a then-6-year-old daughter.
“It was a shock,” he said. “I was living my life and enjoying being young. To find out you have a 6-year-old? It’s unexplainable. It freaked me out.”
He said he panicked, ignored the legal documents and never got the required paternity test. The state eventually tracked him down.
Olivas, a 24-year-old Phoenix resident, said he now owes about $15,000 in back child support and medical bills going back to the child’s birth, plus 10 percent interest. The state seized money from his bank account and is now garnisheeing his wages at $380 a month.
He has become one of the state’s 153,000 active child-support cases, according to the Arizona Department of Economic Security division of Child Support Services.
In May alone, payments were not made in 49 percent of those cases, according to the agency.
Olivas’ fear has turned to frustration.
He wants to be in his daughter’s life and is willing to pay child support going forward. But he doesn’t think it’s right for the state to charge him for fees incurred when he was still a child himself or for the years he didn’t know the girl existed.
“Anything I do as an adult, I should be responsible for,” he said. “But as a teenager? I don’t think so.”
I have already made my opposition to the concept of statutory rape clear. The state of Arizona, and every other state that has such a concept, must make a choice: Either discard the concept, or never charge the underage fathers that result from such acts as being financially responsible for the babies that are later born. Actually, I think they should do both.
On the one hand, I do not think there was a “rape”, since Olivas clearly consented to having sex with the older woman. But because what they did was illegal, OF COURSE she kept the relationship and the paternity of the baby secret…..until the boy had grown up and had started a lucrative career that she could take advantage of! Indeed,I have to wonder…..why hasn’t the woman been arrested and charged with rape? If a 20 year old man had gotten a 14 year old girl pregnant, wouldn’t the expected actions of the state against the man be obvious?
In the case of a boy so young he could not even hold down a full time job at the time the baby was born, the issue is obvious; he should be released from paying any child support, no matter how many years have passed and the state should NOT charge him for back child support! If an older woman is stupid enough to have a child by an underaged boy, she alone should care physically and financially for that child, period. Or if she cannot due to lack of child support payments, she should not have custody of the baby. Even if Nick Olivas was not a rape victim of the mother of his child, he currently IS a victim of a state that has trapped itself in a contradiction resulting from “pro-family” values not based on practical reality, which should forever be the ONLY basis for laws and procedures of any government!