How this Louisiana girl misplaced custody of her daughter to a person she claims raped her at 16

Crysta Abelseth alleges that John Barnes attacked her when she was 16 years previous and he was 30, in accordance with native information studies (WBRZ / video screengrab)

She says he raped her. He says he had no thought she was underage and no rape occurred. Sixteen years later, they’re combating for the custody of the daughter conceived within the encounter.

The case is enjoying out in Louisiana, the place sexual relations with an individual underneath 17 represent statutory rape, no matter consent. Tangipahoa Parish authorities are actually investigating claims made by Crysta Abelseth, 32, that she was raped by John Barnes, 46, in December 2005 throughout a one-night liaison when she was 16 and he was 30.

Ms Abelseth, after receiving counseling, went to the police along with her retroactive allegations in 2015. In a press release final week – after she went public with the case and after a choose unsealed some court docket information – Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Workplace admitted it had “dropped the ball ”And solely began actually investigating in April, when Ms. Abelseth adopted up on the matter.

“Upon receiving discover, a staff of investigators had been assigned to and labored diligently to delve deep into the details surrounding the case. As a result of advanced nature of their findings, the case was turned over to the District Legal professional’s Workplace, ”the assertion stated.

However simply months in the past, earlier than authorities launched an in-earnest investigation, Mr Barnes was awarded sole custody of his daughter with Ms Abelseth, who has additionally been ordered to pay little one assist to her alleged rapist.

Mr Barnes, who has not been charged with any crime, denies all guilt; he insisted in a current Fox Information interview that he’s solely targeted on what’s finest for his daughter and holding her “heading in the right direction like several loving dad or mum.”

As for the rape allegations, he stated: “I had no thought she was 16, and I didn’t rape her. That’s completely, unequivocally false. ”

Mr Barnes has not returned a number of requests for remark from The Unbiased.

A court docket date has been set for 15 July.

So how did this flawed and sophisticated scenario unfold? And what occurs now?

The case stems from an evening earlier than Christmas in 2005, when Ms Abelseth was out at a bar with mates in Ponchatoula and bumped into Mr Barnes, whom she’d by no means met earlier than, she says.

He provided to drive her dwelling however as a substitute took her to his home, she says, the place he “proceeded to rape me;” she maintains she didn’t give consent, though it does not matter underneath Louisiana legislation – intercourse between an grownup and a 16-year-old nonetheless constitutes rape.

“It was the subsequent morning, each time somebody walked in – someway I ended up within the lavatory, fully nude – and somebody walked in and turned the sunshine on and began me,” she instructed The Unbiased. “And I don’t understand how I obtained there or something. And I simply bumped into the closest bed room to cover myself. ”

Ms Abelseth, who wrote within the 2015 police report that she’d been “extremely intoxicated” however instructed The Unbiased that she “remembered bits and items … the primary half” of what had occurred.

Mr Barnes, for his half, alleged that Ms Abelseth had used a faux ID to get into the bar the place they met and was “telling everybody she was a university scholar”.

When she grew to become pregnant, she says, she didn’t identify Mr Barnes as the daddy. Her ex-boyfriend is listed on the child’s start certificates.

As time went on, although, a number of folks near her discovered the reality. She’s nonetheless undecided how, however sooner or later Mr Barnes came upon that he had fathered her little one. He contacted her when the woman was 5, she says.

“He wished to fulfill up; he wished me to speak, ”she instructed The Unbiased. “He wished to mainly gauge me, I suppose, and see the place I used to be at. We hadn’t spoken since that evening. ”

Ms Abelseth felt “terrified” and “nervous,” she says.

“I did not know him, and I did not precisely know what his plan was,” she stated.

Although they lived in a small group in Tangipahoa Parish – round an hour northwest of New Orleans – she “didn’t know any particular particulars” of his life.

“I had heard a few rumblings; I did not know [if] that had been true or not. ”

After a paternity check confirmed that Mr Barnes was the daddy in 2011, he and Ms Abelseth agreed to share the custody, though she says the scenario made her nervous.

“Truthfully, it was identical to a bull in a china store,” Ms Abelseth says. “He simply got here in with a wrecking ball, and I needed to ship my poor daughter, who had by no means even identified him or seen him earlier than, alone with” Mr Barnes.

She ultimately started seeing a trauma counselor, she says, and detailed the circumstances surrounding her daughter’s conception. The councilor instructed her that, regardless of the intervening years, she may nonetheless file expenses – so in 2015 she went to the police.

Nothing ever got here of it, as defined by Thursday’s assertion from the sheriff’s workplace.

Within the meantime, following the preliminary custody settlement, numerous parenting disputes ensued between the kid’s organic mom and father, with allegations on either side. They fought about points starting from the kid’s cellphone entry and remedy to parental in a single day visitors within the presence of {the teenager}.

Mr Barnes, a veteran, runs a profitable enterprise known as Gumbeaux Digital Branding, which has listed Ponchatoula police as a consumer. He has been concerned in a custody dispute with one other girl, as nicely, and sought to bar his daughter with Ms Abelseth from being contacted by the person she was initially raised to imagine was a father and known as “daddy”.

Ms Abelseth, who has a masters diploma, ended her relationship with that man, remarried twice and has a 17-month-old at dwelling.

All through their more and more contentious custody battles, Ms Abelseth’s 2015 assault report filed with Tangipahoa authorities was sitting uninvestigated. No point out was ever made in court docket of her rape allegations in opposition to Mr Barnes till this yr.

In February, Ms Abelseth filed for a short lived restraining order in opposition to Mr Barnes for herself and her daughter. For the primary time in court docket proceedings, she detailed allegations that she had raped her when she was 16.

Mr Barnes countered that Ms Abelseth was instigating investigations into false allegations to hinder his custody efforts.

The court docket determined in his favourite; In his causes for judgment, Choose Cashe famous that Ms Abelseth didn’t make her allegations till Mr Barnes accused her of “selling inappropriate conduct” regarding the daughter’s cellphone use.

“Furthermore, there was direct proof beforehand submitted within the case supporting the necessity for quick safety of the kid contemplating the failure to adjust to the Court docket’s order to permit the daddy to assessment the kid’s cellphone contents. … Subsequently, as a result of allegations set forth in his Petition for Ex Parte custody, the court docket discovered enough proof to point out {that a} minor little one would endure sure hurt, until the Court docket points an ex parte momentary custody order. ”

Ms Abelseth instructed me The Unbiased she “didn’t get an opportunity to defend myself or something” – and was wholly unaware of the order till her daughter known as her whereas within the custody of Mr Barnes.

“We had been having our cellphone name, like we usually do … and he or she’s like,‘ What is that this? Why is he telling me I can not return to your home? ‘

“I did not learn about it,” she stated. “I used to be like, ‘I do not know – after which they’re on the speaker cellphone, and he is like,’ Effectively, the choose signed an order; I’ll ship it to you. ”

She says she “tried to remain calm and simply took some deep breaths, and I known as my lawyer.

“And he or she’s like,‘ What? I did not obtain that or something. ‘ So I despatched it to her. She could not imagine it, both. ”

As per the order, Ms Abelseth is at the moment solely allowed supervised visits.

“I’m not doing nicely,” says the mom, who lately remarried and has a 17-month-old at dwelling. “Mentally, emotionally and financially, simply exhausted on a regular basis to the purpose the place it is affecting my qualify of life – work life, dwelling life, the remainder of my household, only a pressure on every thing.”

She says she is “terrified” for the security of her daughter.

“I do not know what this man is able to,” she stated. “He is simply confirmed … hardships and the opposite issues which have occurred to me. How can I belief somebody like that? ”

She stated she feels vastly let down by the justice system – which she beforehand “had no purpose” to not belief – after its failure to analyze her rape allegations for years and, now, the choice to grant sole custody to her alleged rapist.

Authorities, she stated, “had given me no issues or ailing will, however I haven’t skilled this earlier than. That is the one time I’ve ever needed to cope with, mainly, legislation enforcement in any respect – and it is not a fantastic first expertise. ”

Ms Abelseth continued: “Each time I’ve to let her go and return dwelling with out her, it’s very laborious.

“I do get emotional, identical to anybody else would, and I really feel like I’m a robust particular person, although – and I might be combating it, and I’ll proceed to struggle for her till my final breath.”

Stacie Churrie, who runs nonprofit Save Liv35 Basishas turn into a vocal advocate for Ms. Abelseth in Louisiana.

“We actually must get the phrase on the market about what’s taking place, as a result of this little one has no enterprise being within the custody of this father,” she instructed The Unbiased. “And that assertion is made as a result of that is what Louisiana legislation states.

“Louisiana legislation may be very, very clear that each one of his rights shall be terminated because of carnal information of a juvenile.”

She added: “The legislation says {that a} 16-year-old just isn’t in a position to consent; in fact the correct ought to have been terminated. Instantly. She shouldn’t have been pressured to be drawn by this lie for 10 years. ”

Ms Churrie instructed me The Unbiased that, by her basis, she’d beforehand had “nice offers” native authorities and couldn’t fathom the way in which this explicit case has been performed out.

“It fully baffles me,” she stated. “I imply, there’s nothing arduous about this case in any respect. It is black and white. It is in your face. ”

She stated: “I’m completely satisfied that political corruption is concerned, as a result of … it is unnecessary that this man was not arrested instantly.”

Mr Barnes has hit again at any implication of corruption or utilizing connections, telling Fox Information: “All I’ve been attempting to do is shield my daughter.

“There isn’t a approach in hell I’ve influenced seven very high-level organizations which can be geared towards defending youngsters’s rights and security into sweeping her claims of rape … underneath the rug.”

It was unclear on Monday the place, precisely, the teenage woman on the heart of the case was at the moment; Louisiana’s Division of Youngsters and Household Companies (DCFS) stated it couldn’t touch upon particular person instances.

Within the meantime, as Ms Abelseth legally pursues the issues of her personal alleged rape and her daughter’s custody association, she stated she is treasuring the grabbed moments she’s allowed along with her daughter.

The discuss “what she needs to do in her life, the place she needs to go to varsity … no matter involves thoughts,” Ms Abelseth instructed The Unbiased. “We simply discuss, discuss, discuss to attempt to catch up within the … little little bit of time that we now have.”

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