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The victim is now 21 years old, her daughter is 7 (Fox25 Boston)

‘Weapon of rape’

Rapist allowed to continue fight for parental rights, court rules

December 7, 2016

Jamie Melendez, a Boston man who pleaded guilty in 2011 to raping and impregnating a 14-year-old girl is allowed to continue pursuing his legal battle to share parental rights with his victim, a court has ruled. The rape victim is now 22 years old, her daughter is 7, and the victim’s lawyer had tried to stop Melendez from asserting any parental rights through the state appeals court, but that request has been denied. The victim conceived the child after being repeatedly raped by Melendez while she was in eighth grade. Melendez was 20 at the time, the boyfriend of the victim’s older sister. After the victim gave birth at the age of 14, DNA evidence led to Melendez’s guilty plea in 2011. Earlier this year, Wendy Murpy, the victim’s attorney told the court, “Sperm is a weapon of rape and is not transformed into the privilege of fatherhood, simply because the victim was ovulating,” during oral arguments.

“We were shocked,” said Wendy Murphy, the victim’s attorney, of the ruling. She vowed to seek further review from the supreme judicial court. Part of the reason the justices denied the request is the fact that Melendez had been ordered to pay $110 a week in child support after pleading guilty to rape, and stripping him of parental rights would “unfairly disadvantage the child by depriving her of the right to receive financial support from both parents,” the justices wrote. While Melendez’s petition for visitation rights with his biological daughter has been denied by a judge, the new ruling means that he can technically continue his fight for visitation until she turns 18 years old. Melendez was sentenced to 16 years of probation. The victim has reportedly said she wants the courts to acknowledge that Melendez, she and her daughter are in no way a family. Murphy worries the ruling could set a dangerous precedent in which more rapists who impregnate their victims end up in family court instead of criminal court.

Read the full story at Fox25 and Mass Live.


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