Crysta Abelseth told WBRZ that she met John Barnes at a bar in Louisiana in 2005 when she was 16, and he was 30. She claims Barnes offered to take her home but instead took her to his residence and raped her on his living room couch. The sexual assault resulted in pregnancy.
When Abelseth learned about the child in 2011 he decided to pursue custody and won. Earlier this year, Republican Judge Jeffrey Cashe gave him full custody of Abelseth’s 16-year-old daughter, after Barnes complained about the mother giving the teen a cellphone without his permission. Abelseth was also ordered to pay her rapist child support.
A Republican judge in Louisiana ordered a rape victim to pay child support to the man who impregnated her as a minor. Jeffrey Cashe used his authority as a family court judge to grant custody of a child to a rapist. This is the country Republicans want. pic.twitter.com/8RYnlT6Rfy
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) June 19, 2022
Abelseth took her story to the media, sparking both outrage and support. Judge Cashe found himself at the center of fierce backlash over his handling of the case. On Tuesday, he reportedly revered his decision after Abelseth went public with her shocking custody battle with Barnes.
After a DNA test confirmed paternity, Barnes was initially granted 50 percent custody. In 2015, Abelseth pressed charges against him, alleging simple rape. She waited so long to file a report because she didn’t know she had the option. As noted by Complex, no one under 17 can legally consent to sexual intercourse under Louisiana law
“I was young and I didn’t know the law at the time. I didn’t think I had any more time to do it,” she said. “I thought if I didn’t do it right after it happened—like, the next day—then there was nothing I could do about it […] I went to that trauma counselor, and he informed me, ‘No, you have 30 years after you turn 18.’”
While the rape investigation is open, law enforcement has refused to take any action.
Louisiana officials are now being slammed by the public for their handling of the rape case.
She became pregnant at 16 years old after she was raped by a 30-year-old man. Years later, she’s now being ordered to pay him child support.
On Tuesday, Judge Cashe temporarily revoked Barnes’ custody of the teen, who is now in the care of a guardian. There were allegations that he was abusing the daughter before he was granted custody.
“What I want the public to know is in 2015, we dropped the ball,” Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff Daniel Edwards told WBRZ. “It was an accident and not some conspiracy. I feel bad for Crysta that happened. But, I want the public to know this was not a willful continuing failure.”
The judge is expected to make a decision on custody during a July 15 hearing.
It’s unclear if Barnes will be charged with statutory rape for the 2005 incident.