A rape victim who was impregnated as a result of a rape that took place when she was 14 is fighting in court to keep her convicted rapist from being awarded visitation rights to the daughter she gave birth to nine months after the assault.
The victim was in 8th grade when an individual named Jamie Melendez had sexual intercourse with her several times in 2009. At the time of these sexual assaults, Melendez was 19 and met the victim through a friend of her older sister’s. The victim testified that Melendez visited her at her home several times when he knew she was alone, and testified that Melendez pressured her into intercourse with him on four separate occasions. Violence did not appear to be present in any of these rapes – they were statutory rapes, which take place even if the victim consented, any time an alleged victim is under a certain age (16 in Massachusetts.) The victim became pregnant following one of the attacks and gave birth to a girl in 2010. Melendez had been arrested in 2009 and initially denied paternity, but DNA evidence proved him to be the father. Eventually Melendez pled guilty to charges of statutory rape in 2011 – however, he avoided jail as the trial judge ordered a lengthy probation sentence instead – 16 years- reasoning that allowing Melendez to work and hold down a job would enable him to pay the victim child support. After Melendez’s 2011 sentencing, the case was transferred to the Massachusetts Probate and Family court – which the victim now argues should never have been done. As a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney, I think she’s probably right. Continue reading