In 2005, a then-16-year-old Crysta Abelseth met John Barnes, who was 30, at a bar.
Trigger warning: This story contains themes of rape that some readers may find distressing
A woman claims she’s been forced to give up her daughter to the man who allegedly raped her when she was 16. A judge has also ordered the Louisiana woman to pay child support. Crysta Abelseth told WBRZ that she was raped at 16 years old by a man nearly twice her age. Abelseth was 16 years old when she met John Barnes, then 30, in 2005 at a bar in the City of Hammond. He offered to give her a ride home. "Instead of bringing me home, he brought me to his house," Abelseth recalled. "Once inside, he raped me on his living room couch."
Woman, 32, is ordered to pay man who RAPED her when she was 16 child support https://t.co/Y7ho3fUccW— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) June 15, 2022
The teen became pregnant and had a daughter, who is now a teenager herself. She is a child of the alleged rape. Abelseth said most people assumed that the child belonged to her boyfriend at the time. “ ... And I let them believe that,” Abelseth told the news station. But in 2011, John Barnes learned 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."
Crysta Abelseth says the man, who impregnated her when she was 16, is “well connected” with the local justice system and has been threatening her. https://t.co/ohnto2LJgF— HuffPost (@HuffPost) June 16, 2022
Court records reportedly show that a DNA test was performed that proved Barnes was the father. Even if the sexual encounter was consensual, the act was illegal at the time as the age of consent in the state is 17. Abelseth maintains the encounter was not consensual. Abelseth filed rape charges against Barnes in 2015. "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.'" The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff's Office says an investigation is still open but Abelseth said nothing has changed. "It was never assigned to a detective, and nothing was ever investigated," according to Abelseth.
Even though a criminal complaint was filed in 2015, Barnes ended up getting custody of his biological daughter. Abelseth reportedly lost custody of her daughter over allegations that she gave her a cellphone. “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,” she recalled. “I didn’t believe him until it happened.” Stacie Triche of the non-profit organisation Save Lives reportedly weighed in on the case. "When I found out she was a rape victim, and this rapist could potentially get full custody, that’s when I stepped in and said something has to be done about this. She’s been forced to pay her perpetrator,” Triche said. “Forced to pay her rapist child support and legal fees and give up custody of the child that’s a product of the rape. It makes no sense.” Abelseth said a hearing is scheduled next month to revoke Barnes' parental rights.
Representational Cover Image Source: Getty Images | boonchai wedmakawand