July 2, 2013
Landgraf measure corrects serious oversight in criminal justice system
DENVER—A serious loophole in Colorado’s criminal justice system closed yesterday, thanks to a bipartisan bill sponsored Rep. Lois Landgraf. Senate Bill 227 went into full effect yesterday. The measure forces convicted rapists to forfeit their parental rights to any children conceived as a result of their crime.
“I was shocked to learn a convicted rapist could sue the woman he attacked for parental custody,” Landgraf, R-Fountain, said. “That shouldn’t happen in Colorado, or anywhere else. This bill corrects a serious oversight within our criminal justice system and puts the law on the side of victims, not violent criminals.”
Landgraf introduced her measure after hearing the story of an Illinois woman who was raped and then sued by her attacker for custody of the child conceived as a result of the attack.
Approximately 25,000 women become pregnant through rape each year and at least 31 other states have passed laws to protect women and children from custody battles with the attacker. Colorado now joins that list of states that have passed laws to protect mothers and their children.
Though Landgraf’s bill shields victims and their children from any contacts with the attacker, it does not relieve the offender of any obligation to pay child support unless waived by the victim.
Senate Bill 227 also creates a task force to study and address parental rights when there are allegations that a sexual assault occurred and a child was conceived from it, but there was no conviction.