A Phoenix man is being asked to make child-support payments after learning that he had a child with an older woman six years ago when he was just 14.
Nick Olivas was the victim of statutory rape and had a child with a 20-year-old woman when he was a teenager in high school, but he was not told about his daughter until after he finished college and became a medical assistant, according to USA Today.
Two years ago, Olivas said he received mail from state officials calling for him to pay child support. Until that, he did not know he had a daughter.
"It was a shock," he said. "I was living my life and enjoying being young. To find out you have a 6-year-old? It's unexplainable. It freaked me out."
Olivas, now 24 years old, said that he and the woman he had a child with have not been in contact and that he never considered pressing statutory rape charges against her.
Now, Olivas said he has accumulated about $15,000 in charges because of unpaid child support and medical bills from points in time when he didn’t even know he had a daughter.
He added that there is also interest on the money he owes.
Officials say that Olivas’s case is unusual, though similar events have sparked public interest in the past.
In 1993, the Kansas Supreme Court took on a similar case and ruled that an individual still had to pay child support even if he was a victim of statutory rape. In that incident, the Kansas boy was 13 and had had a child with his 17-year-old babysitter.
"The Kansas court determined that the rape was irrelevant and that the child support was not owed to the rapist but rather to the child," said Mel Feit, the director of the National Center for Men.
Other courts have also ruled similarly on the side of the women in the few higher-profile cases, but some people have said they think the courts would change their stances if a woman was the victim of statutory rape.
"The idea that a woman would have to send money to a man who raped her is absolutely off-the-charts ridiculous," Feit said. "It wouldn't be tolerated, and it shouldn't be tolerated."
For now, Olivas said he wants to be in his daughter’s life.
"I lost my mom at a young age. I know what it's like to only have one parent," he said. "I can't leave her out there. She deserves a dad."
Source: USA Today