LOS ANGELES (CN) – A California woman will not lose custody of her daughter, despite the fact that she conceived the child with a teenage boy, a state appeals court ruled.
Debra T. was 38 years old and married when she had a sexual relationship with a 14- or 15-year-old boy named Miguel. His exact age at the time is unclear.
Debra had known Miguel since he was a baby and lived two doors down from his mother, her childhood friend Elsa.
After Debra had a child as a result of this relationship, Elsa reported the molestation and police arrested Debra on a charge of unlawful sexual intercourse.
Miguel told police that he had relations with Debra 20 to 30 times, with no coercion, drugs or alcohol involved. Debra, on the other hand, said that they only had intercourse a total of three times, that she was drunk the first time and had resisted on the two other occasions. Debra admitted, however, that she did not report the latter two incidents to the police.
Social Services detained the baby and Debra’s three other children, who were ages 17, 12 and 9 at the time, on the grounds of substantial risk of neglect and sexual abuse by Debra.
The trial court awarded custody of the baby to Miguel, but the Santa Ana-based Fourth District California Court of Appeals overturned the decision, ruling that Debra was not at risk of molesting the baby.
“There was no evidence that Debra was likely to abuse or neglect (the baby),” Justice William Bedsworth wrote for the court. On the contrary, she had an exemplary track record of child-rearing.”
“While her relationship with Miguel certainly reflected poorly on her judgment in one area, nothing suggested that it would cause her to neglect or abuse her baby daughter, especially since there was no evidence at all of any past abuse of her three children, or of any other children,” Bedsworth added.