By Marc Kovac
Rape victims would be able to ask courts to terminate the parental rights of their attackers, under legislation being considered in the Ohio Senate.
SB 171 focuses on sex crimes that result in pregnancies and would ensure perpetrators are denied visitation and other privileges.
“Today, Ohio is one of 31 states lacking laws barring rapists from claiming child custody and visitation options available to parents,” Sen. Nina Turner, D-Cleveland, sponsor of the bill, told members of the Senate’s Criminal Justice Committee. “In cases where the attacker decides to sue for these privileges, hope for a sympathetic judge is the only defense a survivor has.”
The legislation has its first hearing Tuesday. It was prompted, in part, by Ariel Castro, the Cleveland man who kidnapped and imprisoned three women and repeatedly raped and beat them over a 10-year period.
After his arrest, he requested visitation rights with the 6-year-old girl he fathered with one of the victims. The judge denied that request. Castro later committed suicide.
SB 171 would allow victims to file court claims terminating the parental rights of their attackers and would enable children to be placed for adoption without the latter’s consent.