Predator Not Entitled to Custody of Victim’s Child

     (CN) – A sexual predator who fathered a child with his victim is not entitled to custody of the child, the Maine Supreme Court ruled.
     Richard Sullivan began sexually abusing Jane Doe when she was 13 or 14 and he was 60. He had sexual contact with her at least once a week until she became an adult.
     Sullivan arranged an abortion for Doe when she was 16. When Doe was 20, she gave birth to a daughter. He stayed with Doe and the child off and on for the next three and a half years.
     That arrangement stopped in 2011, when Doe obtained a protection order against Sullivan. The order was later extended through 2015.
     Later in 2011, Sullivan went to court for a determination of his parental rights and child support.
     The court found that Sullivan had not abused the child, but he is facing five counts of sexual abuse of a minor based on his relationship with Doe.
     The civil court awarded sole custody of the child to Doe and denied Sullivan any contact with the girl, who is now seven years old.
     According to the trial court, Sullivan’s abuse of Doe fell on “the extreme end of the spectrum,” his predatory behavior was untreated, and he posed a threat to his daughter.
     Sullivan appealed, and the Maine Supreme Court affirmed the decision in an opinion written by Justice Donald G. Alexander.
     “Given the evidence, and reasonable inferences drawn therefrom, of Sullivan’s history of sexually abusing a young girl, and of his subsequent failure to acknowledge or seek treatment for his victimization of a minor, the court’s determination that he poses a significant risk to minors is fully supported by the record,” he wrote.
     He also upheld the court’s determinations that Sullivan must not have access to the child’s records and that he owes $38,000 in child support.
     “Although at times Doe and the child lived with Sullivan, Doe testified that they did so sporadically for a few months at a time and that Sullivan did not financially support the child during those periods,” Alexander stated.

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