A Spanish father and daughter who have had a child born of incest are challenging authorities for their right to raise the baby. They claim their relationship is legal in Spain and that social services has taken their baby under false pretenses.
Residents of the Spanish island of Majorca, the 36-year-old father and his 18-year-old daughter say their sexual relationship is consensual, The Telegraph reports. The couple are identified only by the names Cris and Sara.
“We may be father and daughter, but [Sara] has never seen me as a parent because I am much more like a friend than a father figure,” Cris told local newspaper Cronica Balear in Spanish. He added that their “relationship started like they all do — with flirting, getting along and then trust … everything was going well until people found out about it.”
Hours after Sara gave birth to Cris’ child in November, Majorcan social services arrived to take the baby away. Officials have cited concerns over the child’s well-being due to allegations of physical abuse from Cris’ ex-wife, who is also Sara’s biological mother.
Cris says the allegations are false and that social services took the baby because of his incestuous relationship with Sara.
“They tell you that this relationship is not good for the baby,” Cris said. "They told us it is immoral and that what we have done is wrong, although on paper they put something else because legally they cannot say they are taking the girl away because it is an immoral relationship."
“My ex-wife is jealous and cannot understand the relationship,” he added. “So she is trying to destroy it.”
Incest is legal in Spain as long as both parties are able to give adult consent. While Sara became pregnant with her father’s child at the age of 17, the age of consent in Spain is 16, notes The Telegraph.
Sara alleges social services offered her the options of giving up her child for adoption or raising the baby as a single parent.
“My relationship may be unusual, but it would be worse for a child to be given up for adoption or grow up in a center,” Sara said. “People say [the relationship] is wrong. Well, I respect their opinion, but I do not care.”
This case is similar to a custody battle in 2012, when German biological siblings Patrick Stuebing and Susan Karolewski took their case to the European Court of Human Rights, BBC reports.
Raised apart and meeting in their 20’s, the brother and sister had four children together, three of them taken by social services.
Stuebing was sentenced to three years in prison for incest, while Karolewski was deemed too mentally unstable to be held accountable. The couple lost their custody case in 2012.