An appeals court in Oregon has ruled that a man convicted of statutory rape does not have to pay the money required to remove a tattoo of his name from the victim's neck.
Jaime Alonso, 28, was convicted of third-degree rape after carrying on a sexual relationship with a girl who was under the age of 16, reports KATU. Alonso was 22 or 23 at the time. In 2014, he was ordered to pay $3,000 to cover the cost of removing the victim's tattoo.
On March 22 the Oregon Court of Appeals overturned the 2014 ruling and concluded that Alonso should not be made to pay for the tattoo removal because the crime and the tattoo were not connected, Oregon Live reports.
The victim -- who became pregnant and gave birth to Alonso's son -- had testified in court that she got the tattoo in 2013 when their son was 6 months old. She said Alonso pressured her to get it as a way of demonstrating her commitment to their relationship. He allegedly threatened to leave her and not help raise the child if she refused.
While the prosecution argued that the victim's tattoo was the result of her having been raped by Alonso, Alonso's defense team stated that "there's not a causal nexus between rape in the third degree and the tattoo." They also said the law did not permit the girl to recover the money through a civil lawsuit.
Judge Kirsten Thompson ruled in favor of the prosecution and Alonso was ordered to pay the $3,000.
"The victim was under an enormous amount of emotional and psychological pressure from the defendant to take on a tattoo, which she testified she did not want to take on, but did, hoping that it might result in something somewhat more favorable for the infant that was born as a result of this inappropriate relationship," Thomson stated at the time.
By the time the appeals court reviewed the case, Alonso had paid the $3,000 in full. He is now entitled to restitution, although it has not been made clear where the money will come from. Oregon Live reports that the victim most likely will not be made to pay Alonso back, in which case the burden would shift to the taxpayer.
The rest of Alonso's case was unaffected by the appeal. He had been sentenced to 20 days in prison and three years of probation, which ended in 2016. He was also made to register as a sex offender and underwent sex offender treatment.