Report: Louisiana Woman Asserts Judge Granted Her Alleged Rapist Custody of Daughter 

A Louisiana woman claims her alleged rapist was given full custody of their teen daughter and asserts she was ordered to fork over child support to the man, according to a shocking report.

The child’s mother, 32-year-old Crysta Abelseth (pictured), asserted Judge Jeffrey Cashe’s custody decision came down this year after her alleged rapist, John Barnes, stated that she provided her daughter with a cellphone, WBRZ reported.

The case’s roots extend back to 2005 in Hammond, LA, when a then-30-year-old Barnes and a then-16-year-old Abelseth allegedly met for the first time during a night out, the station noted. She asserted that the 30-year-old offered to take her to her residence.

“Instead of bringing me home, he brought me to his house. Once inside, he raped me on his living room couch,” Abelseth told WBRZ. 

Abelseth said the alleged intercourse was not consensual and, regardless of whether it was, Barnes, who, if the purported timeline is accurate and Louisiana law is being correctly cited, would seem to be guilty of at least statutory rape.

The Baton Rouge-based Ambeau Law Firm points out:

It does not matter if the minor was the one to initiate the sexual activity or if he/she otherwise “provided consent;” the state of Louisiana contends that no one under the age of 17 is capable of providing consent and, therefore, committing sexual acts with a minor is a crime.

Abelseth allegedly became pregnant due to the alleged encounter and subsequently had a daughter. Both Barnes, who Fox News reports is now 46, and Abelseth told WBRZ that he is the father of the child, and the familial tie has been further corroborated by a DNA test, which found that there is a 99.97 percent probability he is her biological parent. However, for the first few years of the girl’s life, Barnes was unaware of her existence, and by the time she was five, he was working to gain full custody, Abelseth asserted. At some point, he was granted 50 percent custody, she told WBRZ, though the report does not specify when that was.

As Abelseth said she was unaware of the statute of limitations, it was not until 2015 that she filed a report with the Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office accusing Barnes of rape. The case remains open though the report has not led to an arrest of the 46-year-old or charges being brought against him, according to WBRZ. She contends that an investigation into her claims never materialized.

Per the outlet:

Abelseth said for years she’s tried to go about this the right way through the courts. But having her daughter taken away weeks ago over allegations she gave her a cell phone left her with a lack of confidence that she’ll ever get a fair shake with justice impossible to find for the past 16 years.

“He’s well connected,” Abelseth said. “He’s threatened me multiple times, saying he has connections in the justice system, so I better be careful and he can take her away anytime he wants to. I didn’t believe him until it happened.”

Detailed circumstances around the custody battle, the allegations regarding the cellphone, and Cashe’s decision remain unclear, though Abelseth maintains she did not provide her daughter with a cellphone. Cashe has not gotten back to the outlet or Fox News, though an employee in his office said legal canons restrict him from discussing the case.

Scott Perrilloux, district attorney for the 21st Judicial District, spoke with the outlet Tuesday, stating his office would look into the case. Additionally, Rafael Goyenche of the Louisiana nonprofit Metropolitan Crime Commission said he was working on having another law enforcement entity review the rape allegations.

A hearing is set in the custody case for next month.

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