SoCal woman ordered to pay alimony to her rapist
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- There was no happy ending for this marriage between Shawn and Crystal Harris, a couple from the San Diego area. It ended in divorce after he was convicted of sexually assaulting her and sentenced to six years in prison. One attack was caught on tape.
Crystal Harris said, "He also choked me, beat me and threatened to kill me, all while our pre-school age boys were awake upstairs."
The successful financial analyst recounted that horrible night four years ago to lawmakers, hoping they'll change the law. A family court judge ordered Crystal to pay her ex-husband $1000 a month in alimony upon his release, plus $47,000 in attorney fees.
Harris added, "It mattered not that being ordered to pay my husband's spousal support every month amounted to making a rape victim write a check to her own rapist every month."
There's already a state law that prohibits spousal support when the significant other is convicted of attempted murder... Assembly woman Toni Atkin's bill would add sexually violent felonies to that, something the Association of Certified Family Law Specialists opposes.
Jill Barr said, "We should not be adding crimes to this section. We seem to be going down a slippery slope and one wonders where we will draw the line ultimately."
Barbara Bentley championed the 1995 California law banning alimony and retirement pay after her husband tried to kill her... she can't believe how 17 years later, courts haven't learned from her case. "Unfortunately, we have to fight for every little scrap of progression in the laws."
state, nannette miranda
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