Custody Rights More Clear for Child Born from Victim of Rape in TN

Apr 06, 2021 at 07:30 am by WGNS


Tennessee lawmakers passed legislation protecting victims of aggravated statutory rape and statutory rape by an authority figure in the House last week.

House Bill 326 adds aggravated statutory rape and statutory rape by an authority figure to the list of offenses for which an offender will be prohibited from having custody or inheritance rights with regard to a child born as a result of the offense and for which any visitation will be conditioned on the other parent’s request. Tennessee General Assembly adds protection for rape victims

Present law removes parental rights from a rapist who is convicted of a crime. This legislation removes parental rights from a rapist who is convicted of or pleads guilty or no contest to a lesser offense.

House Bill 326 protects a child from a questionable outcome in a civil custody battle by giving power to the victim of a rape and child of a rape to decide if and when a child will be around the father.

As of Monday, the bill is on its way to Gov. Bill Lee for his signature. Once signed, the change in law will go into effect. 

House Bill 0326 States: 

Child Custody and Support - As introduced, removes custody, visitation, or inheritance rights for a parent who has been convicted of aggravated statutory rape, statutory rape by an authority figure, or lesser included offenses of rape, from which crime the child was conceived. - Amends TCA Title 36, Chapter 6.

Currently: 

Present law prohibits any person who is convicted of aggravated rape, rape, or rape of a child, from which crime a child was conceived from having custody rights or the rights of inheritance with respect to that child. Also, any such person is generally prohibited from having visitation rights with regard to the child unless the other parent waives the protection regarding visitation and requests that the court grant reasonable visitation rights with the child if paternity has been acknowledged.

The Change:

This bill adds aggravated statutory rape and statutory rape by an authority figure to the list of offenses for which the offender will be prohibited from having custody or inheritance rights with regard to a child born as a result of the offense, and for which any visitation will be conditioned on the other parent's waiver and request. Also, this bill makes the prohibition against custody and inheritance rights, and the conditions for granting visitation, applicable to a person who is originally charged with aggravated rape, rape, rape of a child, aggravated statutory rape, or statutory rape by an authority figure, but pleads guilty or no contest to a lesser included offense.

Source: Partner Station WMSR