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Case challenges mother's decision making responsibility

A highly controversial and emotionally wrenching custody case has reached one state's Supreme Court, and it has led to debate across the nation, including in Colorado. The matter centers on a father's concerns about his former wife's decision making responsibility after she married a man who is a convicted sex offender. She brought him into the home she shares with her two teenage daughters. When the case went before the high Court, the father was unable to secure custody of the girls.

The father asked the court to grant him custody rights after learning that their new stepfather was a convicted child molester. Even more disturbing is the fact that the child he harmed was his former stepdaughter, who was only 15 years of age at the time the abuse took place. His own daughters are now 15 and 17. This is also not the first time that the girls' mother has placed her children in the path of a child molester; a man she was previously involved with was convicted of molesting another one of her young children (from a different father.)

The case was based on the father's assertion that the girls were at significant risk of harm simply due to the fact that they were living with an individual who had abused another girl of the same general age and under the same living circumstances. However, the court did not find that to be sufficient evidence that the children were at risk. The mother's attorney presented evidence that the stepfather had completed various rehabilitation programs and that the family had taken precautions to ensure that the girls were fully clothed and not walking through the home in towels after their showers.

For many readers in Colorado and across the nation, this case is demonstrative of a lack of legislation to protect children from harm at the hands of sex offenders. There is no law in place in the family's state of residence that prohibits a sex offender from gaining custody of a child, which is why the court refused to order that the children be removed from the home. Even under what many believe to be a compelling attack against the mother's decision making responsibility, the mother was able to retain her right to custody of her daughters.

Source: omaha.com, "Convicted sex offender can remain in home with stepdaughters, Nebraska Supreme Court rules", Joe Duggan, Aug. 22, 2016

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