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Proposed Bill Addresses Parental Rights In Cases Of Rape

A bill that addresses parent-child relationships in instances of rape passed unanimously through the House Judiciary Committee Monday.

There is no law in Indiana that prevents the perpetrator of rape from seeking custody of the child that was a product of the rape. The new bill would allow victims of rape to terminate the relationship between their child and the perpetrator by filing a petition.

The law would require "clear and convincing evidence" that the accused rapist committed an act of rape and that it was rape that produced the child. The choice to terminate the rapist's right to custody also has to be in the best interest of the child.

"This law will allow for a much better situation for everyone involved in these kinds of crimes so that the law can’t account for custody when we have children born from these violent awful situations," says Rep. Christina Hale, D-Indianapolis.

There is currently no law preventing rapists from seeking custody of a child born out of rape.

A time limit established in the bill prohibits filing a petition that lasts between 180 days and two years, depending upon the age of the parent filing the petition.

"It's probably not long enough, but it's certainly better than what we have now, and we do want to have some deadline because we need to encourage people to report these kinds of crimes when they happen," Hale says.

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