A Louisiana woman who conceived a child after she was allegedly raped at 16 by a man twice her age is now paying him child support after he won custody of their daughter. Crysta Abelseth, now 32, was reportedly assaulted by John Barnes in the City of Hammond, Indiana back in 2005.
- Abelseth’s story was pretty horrific. She told WBRZ that Barnes, then aged 30, offered to give her a ride home from a local restaurant after a night out with several friends. However, “Instead of bringing me home, he brought me to his house. Once inside, he raped me on his living room couch,” she alleges.
- She didn’t have contact with Barnes for a long time. Abelseth later gave birth to a healthy baby girl, but five years later, Barnes reappeared in her life after he heard that the child might be his. A DNA test later proved that he was the father, and that’s when all hell broke loose.
- Barnes sued Abelseth for custody. As she recalled: “When my daughter was five years old, he found out about her, and once he found out about her, he pursued custody and wanted to take her away from me. They granted him 50/50 custody despite the fact that [the child] was caused by rape.”
- Abelseth filed rape charges against Barnes in July 2015. However, she says it was “never assigned to a detective” and “nothing was ever investigated.” The Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office did confirm that the case is still open. However, given that court records about the case are mysteriously sealed, not much else is known.
- Barnes has allegedly threatened Abelseth many times. She claims that he’s “well connected” and that he had “threatened me multiple times, saying he has connections in the justice system, so I better be careful and he can take her away anytime he wants to. I didn’t believe him until it happened.”
- Abelseth is now working with an organization called Save Lives. An advocate for the organization, Stacie Triche, has been helping Abeleth as she tries to regain custody of her daughter. “When I found out she was a rape victim, and this rapist could potentially get full custody, that’s when I stepped in and said something has to be done about this,” Triche said. “She’s been forced to pay her perpetrator. Forced to pay her rapist child support and legal fees and give up custody of the child that’s a product of the rape. It makes no sense.”
- An outside review is now taking place into how Barnes was given custody of Abelseth’s child. District Attorney Scott Perrilloux told WBRZ that after hearing of Abelseth’s story, his office is now investigating the case. He previously said his office had not heard anything about the case. “I’ve been doing this a long time,” Rafael Goyeneche with the Metropolitan Crime Commission said. “I’ve never seen anything like this. This is confounding and deeply disturbing.”