In one of the most egregious of rape cases ever reported, a Louisiana judge awarded full custody to a woman’s abuser and forced her to pay child support.
According to local station WBRZ, Crysta Abelseth, from Tangipahoa Parish, was raped at the age of 16 by a man almost twice her age. Years later, she’s being punished for being raped.
Abelseth, now 32, told the station that she met John Barnes in the City of Hammond back in 2005. She says he offered to take her home after a night out at a local restaurant with friends.
“Instead of bringing me home, he brought me to his house,” Abelseth recalled. “Once inside, he raped me on his living room couch.”
Abelseth said she did not know Barnes before that night, but came away from it pregnant.
“Everyone assumed it [the pregnancy] was from a boyfriend, and I let them believe that,” Abelseth recalled.
The teen had a healthy baby girl, and everything was fine until John Barnes learned sometime in 2011 that he might have a daughter.
“When my daughter was five years old, he found out about her, and once he found out about her, he pursued custody and wanted to take her away from me,” Abelseth said. “They granted him 50/50 custody despite the fact that [the child] was caused by rape.”
A DNA test is part of court documents that proves with 99.97% accuracy, John Barnes is the child’s father. Barnes was 30 years old and Abelseth 16 at the time of conception. As noted by WBRZ, The act was illegal at the time, even if it were consensual; Abelseth maintains it never was.
Seven years ago, in July 2015, Abelseth pressed criminal charges against Barnes. A report she filed with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office for simple rape details everything that was done to her. Abelseth said she waited to file the police report because she did not know the law.
“I thought if I didn’t do it the next day, there was nothing I could do about it,” Abelseth said. “I went to a trauma counselor, and he said, ‘No, you have 30 years after you turn 18.'”
From 2015 until now, nothing has happened with the report. The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office says an investigation is still open.
“It was never assigned to a detective, and nothing was ever investigated,” according to Abelseth.
But things took a dramatic turn this year when a judge granted Barnes full custody. Abelseth said she was also ordered to pay Barnes child support.
Watch the report below: