- Crysta Abelseth was ordered to relinquish custody of her teenage daughter and pay child support to her accused rapist.
Abelseth pressed criminal charges against the man but the Sheriff’s Department never acted.
The sheriff’s office turned the case over to Scott Perrilloux, the DA for Louisiana’s 21st District.
A sheriff’s department in Louisiana said it “dropped the ball” in a case where a woman was ordered to pay her accused rapist child support.
On top of child support payments, Crysta Abelseth was also ordered to relinquish custody of her teenage daughter by Judge Jeffrey C. Cashe with the Tangipahoa Parish Courthouse.
The story, uncovered by WBRZ, a local television station in Baton Rouge, reported that Abelseth was 16 years old when she met then 30-year-old John Barnes at a bar in Hammond in 2005. In Louisiana, the age of legal consent is 17.
Speaking with WBRZ, Abelseth said Barnes told her he’d drive her home, but instead brought her to his house where she said he raped her on his living room couch.
Abelseth became pregnant but held off on reporting the incident to authorities. According to court records obtained by WBRZ, a DNA test proved that Barnes is the father.
“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,” Abelseth told WBRZ. “They granted him 50-50 custody despite the fact that [the child] was caused by rape.”
According to NBC, Barnes has denied he committed felony rape.
Earlier this year, Judge Cashe decided to give Barnes sole custody after he alleged Abelseth gave their teenager a cellphone, which she denies, according to WBRZ.
Barnes owns a web company in Ponchatoula called Gumbeaux Digital Branding. His website showed Ponchatoula Police as a client but that information was removed after WBRZ reported the story.
Insider attempted to reach Barnes through email and phone calls but he did not immediately respond.
In July 2015, Abelseth pressed criminal charges against Barnes with the Tangipahoa Parish Sheriff’s Office. In her report, Abelseth detailed the rape and said Barnes had been stalking and harassing her. Despite her report, the sheriff’s department never acted.
In a Facebook post on Thursday, the Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office said in reviewing Abelseth’s report, it discovered it was not assigned to the proper department to be investigated.
“Therefore, our department absolutely dropped the ball, and we simply must own our mistake. This is a mistake, however, that simply has never been a problem before or since, and we must make sure to keep it that way.”
The sheriff’s office said it would be turning the case over to Scott Perrilloux, the district attorney for Louisiana’s 21st District.
The Tangipahoa Sheriff’s Office and the district attorney’s office did not respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
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