In Texas, the legal age at which a person can consent to sexual activity is 17. An adult who has sexual contact with someone who is under the age of 17 may be charged with statutory rape. If the person is under the age of 14 at the time of the sexual contact, an aggravated sexual assault charge can be filed.
With these laws, it stands to reason that an adult who has sex with a minor and impregnates her would have no right to custody of the baby. Yet this may not always be the case. In fact, a former soldier is seeking to do just this. The man was 19 when he conceived a child with the then-14-year-old girl in December of 2010 while on leave. He wants parental and visitation rights to his son, something that the girl and her parents do not want to see happen.
The man was charged and tried in a military court for a number of charges related to the incident, including aggravated sexual assault. The decision to try the man in a military court was agreed upon by the girl’s family, however, they probably were not expecting the outcome. The man was acquitted of the sexual assault charges, but was dismissed from the military with a less than honorable discharge for an unrelated drug charge.
The girl’s parents have filed a guardianship and adoption case and are trying to get the man’s parental rights terminated. They would be well advised to seek the help of an attorney who is experienced in child custody cases similar to their own.
Source: The Kansas City Star, “Former Soldier wants custody of child he conceived with 14-year-old Missouri girl,” June 18, 2013