(CN) – A North Carolina man convicted of attempted statutory rape has visitation rights to the child who was born from that relationship, the state appeals court ruled.
Judge Cressie Thigpen Jr. noted in a footnote on the first page of the decision that the record does not explain how a child was born from an “attempted” statutory rape.
Timothy Scott Bobbitt is serving up to 10 years in prison for the crime, and he will have to register as a sex offender for another 30 years after he is released.
His child with Kellie Lynn Eizenga is 18 months old now, and a paternity test showed that Bobbitt is the father. Eizenga gave the baby the same surname as her boyfriend at the time of birth.
Bobbitt asked for joint custody, a change of the baby’s last name and visitation rights for his parents.
The trial court refused to grant Bobbitt visitation rights because he is a convicted sex offender, but the North Carolina Court of Appeals reversed the decision.
“Absent legislation prohibiting a person whose actions resulted in a conviction of attempted statutory rape and the conception of a minor child from claiming the right to custody or visitation of that minor child, we find no basis upon which to rule Bobbitt is not entitled to claim visitation,” Thigpen wrote for three-judge panel.
The case will go back to the trial court for a resolution of the custody and visitation disputes.